Aleph (also spelled Alef) is the first letter of the Alephbet, the Hebrew alphabet.

For this letter, imagine a headless man. Ok, a little gruesome, but imagine it anyways. Here's what he'd look like:

So, what does Aleph sound like?

Pronouncing Aleph

Aleph on its own? It has no sound at all! Hence the headless guy. Like a man without a head, Aleph can't make a sound, without a vowel attached.

So why is he lifting weights?

That's because when Aleph does have a vowel, it sounds a bit like the grunting sound you make when you're working hard, like:


Actually, right now — try saying "UH-OH!"

Uh-Oh! (audio)

That sound you make in the middle? Almost like a catch in your throat? Like a kind of hiccup? Right as you say OH?

That's Aleph.

That's how Aleph sounds. It's the same as how in some kinds of English, like Cockney, the letter T in bottle is pronounced. Like "boh'ull."

Bottle! (audio)

That bit in the middle, that's Aleph again. We use that sound all the time in English, usually at the beginning of words, like the E in elephant or... the A in Aleph!

Still, the letter Aleph doesn't make a sound by itself. It doesn't sound like anything, in fact, unless it has a vowel attached.

So now you're thinking, "What about the vowels already? Show me the vowels!"

Right. So on to your first vowel, called Patach.