How do I write Hebrew in my posts?

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Kirk Lowery
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How do I write Hebrew in my posts?

Postby Kirk Lowery » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:40 am

The official standard of the B-Hebrew Forum is Unicode (UTF-8) encoding. The most important reason is that Unicode supports all the diacritics and nikkud of biblical Hebrew writing. The first task for the forum member is to make sure that a proper font for cantillated Hebrew is installed on his or her local computer. The default font on your computer probably does not display all the features of the writing system properly:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃


You probably will like the font SBL Hebrew better:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃


The Ezra SIL font also works pretty well:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃


We strongly recommend that members install the SBL Hebrew font, which produces the best results. For that reason, we have created a special BBCode that makes adding Hebrew easy. Just write:

Code: Select all

[heb]בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃[/heb]

If you have SBL Hebrew installed, it will look like this:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃


If you want to use Ezra SIL, then write:

Code: Select all

[font=Ezra SIL 12]בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃[/font]

If you have Ezra SIL (at 12 points in size) installed, it will look like this:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃


Summary

To write Hebrew, please install the SBL Hebrew font. Then, to put a Hebrew word or phrase into the midst of English (Latin alphabet), use the heb tag so:

Code: Select all

The first word in the Hebrew Bible is [heb]בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית[/heb], which is a prepositional phrase.

When you select "Preview" or "Submit", you will see:

The first word in the Hebrew Bible is בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית, which is a prepositional phrase.

If you want to cite one or more whole lines of Hebrew text, use the right tag in addition to the heb tag:

Code: Select all

[right][heb]אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮ בַּֽעֲצַ֪ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים
וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃[/heb][/right]


which will produce:

אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮ בַּֽעֲצַ֪ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים
וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃


(Thanks to Jason Hare for the tip on using the [right] tag.)

Michigan Transcription

In the late 1970s plans were made for the first digital Hebrew Bible. In those days before the advent of the personal computer, the only "font" encoding for text was ASCII. H. Van Dyke Parunak, then a fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, created a transcription system for the Hebrew Bible whereby every graphical piece of the text (consonants, vowels, dageshes, maqqefs, accents) was given an ASCII equivalent. This system was then used to transcribe the entire Hebrew Bible into electronic files. The Michigan encoding is a good one, in that it captures completely the graphical written text. It does not reflect the phonetic realities that underlie the text. If you need to transliterate the Hebrew Bible text, the Michigan system is recommended for its completeness, but bear in mind its limitations. To transliterate a Hebrew syllable, first write the consonant, then any dagesh, then any vowel, and finally, any closing consonant.

The Michigan Biblical Hebrew Transliteration System
Consonants
Vowels
Miscellaneous
Alef = ) or 'Patah = AKetiv = *
Beth = BQamets = FQere = **
Gimel = GSegol = EDagesh/Mappiq = .
Daleth = DTsere = "Maqqef = -
Heh = HHireq = I
Waw = WHolem = O
Zayin = ZQamets Hatuf = F
Cheth = XQibbuts = U
Teth = +Shureq = W.
Yod = YShewa = :
Kaph = KHatef Patah = :A
Lamedh = LHatef Segol = :E
Mem = MHatef Qamets = :F
Nun = N
Samek = S
Pe = P
Ayin = ( or `
Tsade = C
Qoph = Q
Resh = R
Sin = &
Shin = $
Tav = T


Ad hoc Transcriptions

Sometimes B-Hebrew members will use very casual transliteration (all lower case; use of ' and ` for aleph and `ayin, respectively; e.g., 'adam or melek) or means by which they emphasize the vowels (e.g., mElEk). Some members will distinguish between begadkefat letters and others do not. There are other idiosyncratic and ad hoc variations. If you choose to use such informal transliterations, be sure to think of your readers (always a good thing to do!), pity them and make sure your transcription is understandable for the point you are trying to make.
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
B-Hebrew Site Administrator & Co-moderator
blog: https://blogs.emdros.org/eh
#mb-hga

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