IT ISN’T SUPPOSED TO MAKE ANY SENSE, IT’S JUST A COPY-PASTE BIN!!!
Most of the letters pronounce just like the first sound of their name. Of course, since Ayin and Aleph start with “a” and there are no vowel letters in Hebrew, they must be pronounced in some other way. In fact, in modern Hebrew they are not pronounced at all! A special case is when one of these letters appears between a consonant and a following vowel – then it sounds like a very short pause (called glottal stop), like in English “uh-oh” except that here it’s between two vowels, which doesn’t hapen in Hebrew. We’ll indicate such pauses in Latin with an apostrophe. For example, “pit’om” means “suddenly”.
The next challenge is letters Bet, Kaf and Pey. You may guess that they are pronounced as “b”, “k” and “p”. But in fact, they are only pronounced in this way when they have a dot inside that’s called “Dagesh”: בּ, כּ, פּ (note that how commas look weird with RTL Hebrew). That’s the dot that makes Kaf sometimes look like Pey, and when it’s inside Pey it can be just a bit hard to see. Without these dots, these letters pronounced “v”, “kh” (the same pronunciation as Khet) and “f” respectively. Unfortunately, just like with Shin, Sin and vowels, the Dagesh is omitted in regular texts, which means you have to figure out whether it’s assumed to be there or not. These rules can help:
There is always a Dagesh if one of these letters is at the beginning of a word. Consequently, Hebrew words can’t start with “f”, and if they start with “kh” or “v” it means that they’re spelled with Khet or Vav respectively.
There is never a Dagesh at the end of a word. Consequently, these three letters are always pronounced as “v”, ”kh” and ”f” at the end of a word. This means that if a word ends with a “k” sound, it’s spelled with Kuf, not Kaf. This also means that a word can’t end with a “b” or a “p” sound. And finally, it means that there can be no Dagesh in a sofit.
Note that these are Hebrew rules, and as such don’t apply to foreign words, even if they’re actually a part of modern Hebrew. For example, the name “Philippe” breaks both of these rules, with no Dagesh at the beginning and with a Dagesh at the end. The only rule that’s unbreakable is that there can be no Dagesh in a sofit – hence “Philippe” ends with a regular Pey, not sofit, which is impossible in native Hebrew words.
Summary of this chapter:
Hebrew is written right-to-left, which can mess up things in many ways.
There are 23 letters in Hebrew, but two of them (Shin – שׁ and Sin – שׂ) differ only with a small dot that is usually not written.
There are no capital letters, but 5 letters, namely Kaf, Mem, Nun, Pey and Tsadi have different shape at the end of a word (כ – ך, מ – ם, נ – ן, פ – ף, צ – ץ).
All Hebrew letters are consonants, but Aleph (א) and Ayin (ע) lack pronunciation in modern Hebrew, except when one of them follows a consonant and is followed by a vowel – then it’s pronounced as a very short pause called glottal stop.
Three letters (ב, כ and פ) have different pronunciation depending on whether they have a little dot inside called “Dagesh”. Dagesh is omitted in regular texts, though. It helps that there is always a Dagesh at the beginning of a word, and there is never one at the end (except foreign words).