Dalet

Dalet
Phonemic representation d, ð
Position in alphabet 4
Numerical value 4
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Dalet (dāleth, also spelled Daleth or Daled) is the fourth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Dālet , Hebrew 'Dālet ד, Aramaic Dālath , Syriac Dālaṯ ܕ, and Arabic Dāl د (in abjadi order; 8th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiced alveolar plosive ([d]).

The letter is based on a glyph of the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, probably called dalt "door" (door in Modern Hebrew is delet), ultimately based on a hieroglyph depicting a door,

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek delta (Δ), Latin D and the equivalent in the Cyrillic Д.

Arabic dāl

The letter is named dāl, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: د ـد ـد د

The letter represents a /d/ sound.

Hebrew

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
SerifSans-serifMonospaced
ד ד ד

Hebrew spelling: דָּלֶת

The letter is dalet in the modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation (see Tav (letter)). Dales is still used by many Ashkenazi Jews and daleth by some Jews of Middle-Eastern background, especially in the diaspora. In some academic circles, it is called daleth, following the Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation. It is also called daled. The ד like the English D represents a voiced alveolar stop. Just as in English, there may be subtle varieties of the sound that are created when it is spoken.

Variations

Dalet can receive a dagesh, being one of the six letters that can receive Dagesh Kal (see Gimel). There are minor variations to this letter's pronunciation, such as

In addition, in modern Hebrew, the combination ד׳ (dalet followed by a geresh) is used when transcribing foreign names to denote /ð/.

Significance

In gematria, dalet symbolizes the number four.

The letter dalet, along with the He (and very rarely Gimel) is used to represent the Names of God in Judaism. The letter He is used commonly, and the dalet is rarer. A good example is the keter (crown) of a tallit, which has the blessing for donning the tallit, and has the name of God usually represented by a dalet. A reason for this is that the He is used as an abbreviation for HaShem "The Name" and the dalet is used as a non-sacred way of referring to God.

Dalet as a prefix in Aramaic (the language of the Talmud) is a preposition meaning "that", or "which", or also "from" or "of"; since many Talmudic terms have found their way into Hebrew, one can hear dalet as a prefix in many phrases (as in Mitzvah Doraitah; a mitzvah from the Torah.)

In modern Hebrew the frequency of the usage of dalet, out of all the letters, is 2.59%.

Syriac daled/dolath

Daled/Dolath
Madnḫaya daled
Serṭo dolath
Esṭrangela dalath

In the Syriac alphabet, the fourth letter is ܕ — dolath in western pronunciation, dalath and daled in eastern pronunciation (ܕܵܠܵܬ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are bet, gimel, kaph, pe and taw). When daled/dolath has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [d]. When it has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [ð]. The letter is very common in Syriac as it is often attached to the beginning of words as the relative pronoun.

Daled/dolath is always written with a point below it to distinguish it from the letter resh (ܪ), which is identical apart from having a point above. As a numeral, dalad/dolath stands for the number four. With various systems of dots and dashes, it can also stand for 4,000 and 40,000.

Character encodings

Characterדدܕ
Unicode nameHEBREW LETTER DALETARABIC LETTER DALSYRIAC LETTER DALATHSAMARITAN LETTER DALATDALET SYMBOL
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode1491U+05D31583U+062F1813U+07152051U+08038504U+2138
UTF-8215 147D7 93216 175D8 AF220 149DC 95224 160 131E0 A0 83226 132 184E2 84 B8
Numeric character referenceדדددܕܕࠃࠃℸℸ
Character𐎄𐡃𐤃
Unicode nameUGARITIC LETTER DELTAIMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER DALETHPHOENICIAN LETTER DELT
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode66436U+1038467651U+1084367843U+10903
UTF-8240 144 142 132F0 90 8E 84240 144 161 131F0 90 A1 83240 144 164 131F0 90 A4 83
UTF-1655296 57220D800 DF8455298 56387D802 DC4355298 56579D802 DD03
Numeric character reference𐎄𐎄𐡃𐡃𐤃𐤃

References

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