I hope you’re all staying warm. The good part of living in Minnesota in the winter is that, while it may be cold, it’s also sunny. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
I recently realized that I’m writing these notes as if I’m writing to students. That’s because I’m thinking of how to show or explain the letters to students who are new to Hebrew, not to people who are already acquainted with Hebrew. Please take these explanations as a way to help you help students to learn the letters.
Last week, we saw the letter ח that makes a sound we don’t have in English – “ch” as in Chanukah. . A letter that makes the same sound in modern Hebrew is כ.
We learned last month that some Hebrew letters have two forms: one at the beginning or middle of a word and one at the end. We saw this with the letter מ for the beginning/middle and ם at the end of a word.
The letter כ does the same. כ is the regular form and ך is how the letter looks when it’s at the end of the word.
The ending ך is very common because ךָ (chah) and ךְ (ch) are the suffixes that mean “your” in Hebrew. ךָ means “your” for a boy. ךְ means “your” for a girl.
Just to make things more complicated, the letter כ has a different version with a different sound. כּ makes the sound “k”. What’s the difference between the two sounds? One little dot. (One of the hardest things in learning to read Hebrew is figuring out when to pay attention to the dots and when to ignore them.)
Gayle A. Kaplan