Hebrew script for English היבּרו סקריפּט פָר ינּגליש

After adapting the Arabic script for English in my previous post, it was only natural that I have a go at the only other widely used right-to-left script in the world today: Hebrew.

Adaptation process

Like the Arabic script adaptation, I used the consonant letters for ‘y’ and ‘w’ as vowels. Unlike Arabic, though, Hebrew has a larger set of vowel markers that I could use to represent a wider set of vowels without digraphs. Some consonants were also derived from others using the dagesh diacritic ּ , which indicates a different but closely related sound (e.g. /f/ פ -> /p/ פּ). Also, some features were also taken from other Hebrew orthographies – the use of ע to write /ɛ/ originated from Yiddish.

Letters

Consonants קָנסָנְנטס

/p/ פּ (a), ףּ (b) (port)/b/ בּ (born)/f/ פ (a), ף (b) (free)/v/ ב (van)/m/ מ (a), ם (b) (muse)
/t/ ט (tree)/d/ ד (drive)/θ/ ת (thank)/ð/ דּ (the)/n/ נ (a), ן (b) (new)
/k/ ק (call)/g/ ג (get)/x/ כ (a), ך (b) (loch)/ɣ/ גה/ŋ/ נּ (a), ןּ (b) (sing)
/s/ ס (soon)/z/ ז (zoo)/ʃ/ ש (share)/ʒ/ זּ (azure).
/tʃ/ צ (a), ץ (b) (change)/dʒ/ גּ (joke)...
/ɹ/ ר (run)/l/ ל (laugh)/h/ ה (house)/w/ ו (way)/j/ י (yell)

Note that the letters for /p/, /f/, /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /x/ and /tʃ/ come in 2 forms. The (b) form is only to be used when at the end of a word – the (a) form is used elsewhere.

Hence, /afʊ/ = אפו, but /af/ = אף.

Vowels בַוְלס

There are 3 kinds of vowels in Hebrew script for English: standalone vowels, which stand on their own; diacritic vowels, which need to be written above or below the preceding consonant; and mixed vowels, which has a standalone form and a diacritic form.

Standalone vowels

/ɪ/ י (bid)/iː/ יִ (bead)
/ʊ/ ו (pull)/uː/ וֻ (pool)

Diacritic vowels

To make it easier to see, I’ve put the letter א as a placeholder, since they are hard to see sometimes. To write the vowel after a consonant, simply replace א with the consonant letter: /kæ/ = קֶ.

/ə/~/ɜ/ אְ (sure)/æ/ אֶ (can)
/ɔ/ אָ (pot)/ɔː/ אֳ (call)

Mixed vowels

Use the standalone (a) form to spell words starting with that vowel, and the diacritic (b) form elsewhere.

/a/~/ʌ/ א (a), אַ (b) (sun)/ɛ/ ע (a), אֵ (b) (red)

Diphthongs דיפתָנּס

If there are 2 forms and the consonant precedes the vowel, use the 2nd variant and replace א with the consonant letter: /kaɪ/ = קַי.

/aɪ/ אי (a), אַי (b) (side)/aʊ/ או (a), אַו (b) (now)
/ɔɪ/ אָי (toy)/oʊ/ אָו (dough)
/eɪ/ עי (a), ֵי (b) (say)/ɪə/ יאְ (hear)
/ʊə/, /wə/ וְ (tour)/juː/ יו (news)

Triphthongs טריפתָנּס

/aɪə/ איְ (a), אַיְ (b) (flyer)/aʊə/ אוְ (a), אַוְ (b) (tower)
/jʊə/ יואְ (cure).

Syllable structure

Unlike most writing systems that run from left to right, Hebrew script runs from right to left. Letters follow a straightforward linear structure that is identical to alphabets such as Latin and Greek, except inverted.

E.g.

  • /stɹakt/ = סטרַקט (literally ‘t k ra t s’)
  • /stɹɛŋθs/ = סטרֵנּתס (literally ‘s th ng re t s’)

Sample texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

יוניבְרסְל דיקלֶרֵישְן אָף היומְן רַיטס

אָל היומְן בּיִנּס אר בָּרן פריִ אֶנד יקוְל ין דיגניטי אֶנד רַיטס. דֵּי אר ענדַוד וית ריִזְן אֶנד קָנשְנס אֶנד שוד אֶקט טָווְרדס וַן אְנַדְּר ין אְ ספּיריט אָף בּרַדְּרהוד.

(ארטיקְל 1 אָף דּי יוניבְרסְל דיקלֶרֵישְן אָף היומְן רַיטס)

Excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago

For comparison, you can view the original one here.

אי הֶד אְ סטרֵינגּ דריִם דֶּט נַיט.

ין דֶּט דריִם, אי פַונד מַיסֵלף אְוֵיקְניןּ, לַייןּ אָן סָפט גריִן גרַס, ין אְ פֶנטְסי 8-בּיט וְרלד סְרַונדְד בַּי קָמפּיוטְרס. דְּ לומינְנס אָף בּלינּקיןּ מָודֵמס אֶנד וֳם, ציאְרפול ציפּטיון מיוזיק פילד דּי ער. אָלדָּו עבריתיןּ לוקד בּלָקי אֶנד סקוֵר, יט בּרֳט מי בֶּק טו דָּוז דֵיס. אָף אָל דְּ קָמפּיוטְרס אי סֳ, 1 אָף דֵּם וְס פּלֵייןּ מַי פֵיבְרְט סָןּ! אי גַּמףּ אֶנד ליִףּ ין גָּי אָובְר דְּ סַיט. אי דֵּן סֳ מַי הַוס, אֶנד אי סֵד “הַי” טו מַי בֵּסט מֵיטס, הו וְר וֵיטיןּ אוטסַיד. וי וֳקד טוגֵדְּר, הֶביןּ אְ ציאְרי צֶט אְבַּוט דְּ קָמפּיוטְר גֵים אי וְס וְרקיןּ אָן אְרליאְר.

“סָו וַטס דֶּט קול גֵים גָנַ בּי אְבַּוט, עי?” וַן אָף דֵּם אסקד.
“יף יו לְבד מַריאָו, יול לְב דּיס!” אי סֵד.
“אֳסְם!!! קַנט וֵיט טו סיִ יט!” ינסַיד מי דְּ פַיאְר טו קיִףּ מי גָויןּ בּיקֵים סטרָנּגְר.

וי וֳקד ינטו אְ ביביד סַנסֵט. אי רֵמיניסד דְּ מֵמָריס אָף פַּסט סַמְרס, פּלֵייןּ רֵטרָו בידיאָו גֵימס ין דְּ קול שֵיד, יבְן דָּו דְּ סַן אוטסַיד פּיִקד אֶט 42 דיגריִס אֶנד מֵלטְד עבריתיןּ עלס.

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