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Title: Geresh  
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Subject: Hebraization of English, Hebrew punctuation, Hebrew diacritics, Gershayim, Hebrew keyboard
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punctuation mark
׳ וכו׳
cantillation mark ֜ or ֝ הָאָ֜רֶץ
compare with apostrophes
'וכו׳', 'הָאָ֜רֶץ'
Hebrew punctuation
Hebrew-specific marks orthographically similar marks
maqaf ־ - hyphen
geresh ֜ ֝ ׳ ' apostrophe
gershayim ֞ ״ " quotation mark
meteg ֽ   , comma
inverted nun ׆ [ bracket

Geresh (׳ in Hebrew: גֶּרֶשׁ[1] or גֵּרֶשׁ[2] , or medieval ) is a sign in Hebrew writing. It has two meanings.

  1. An apostrophe-like sign (also known colloquially as a chupchik)[3] placed after a letter:
  2. A note of cantillation in the reading of the Torah and other Biblical books, taking the form of a curved diagonal stroke placed above a letter.


As a diacritic, the Geresh is written immediately after (left of) the letter it modifies. It indicates three sounds native to speakers of modern Hebrew that are common in loan words and slang: [dʒ] as in judge, [ʒ] as in measure and [tʃ] as in church. In transliteration of Arabic, it indicates Arabic phonemes which are usually allophones in modern Hebrew: [ɣ] is distinguished from [r] and [ħ] is distinguished from [χ]. Finally, it indicates other sounds foreign to the phonology modern Hebrew speakers and used exclusively for the transliteration of foreign words: [ð] as in then, [θ] as in thin, [sˤ]; and, in some transliteration systems, also [tˤ], [dˤ] and [ðˤ].

Loanwords, slang, foreign names and transliterations

Loanwords, slang, foreign names, and transliteration of foreign languages
Without Geresh With Geresh
Symbol Name Translit. Example Symbol Name Translit. Examples
ג gimel g [ɡ] gap ג׳ gimel with a geresh j (or g) [] Jupiter, George
ז zayin z [z] zoo ז׳ zayin with a geresh g, j [ʒ] Jacques, beige, vision
צ tsadi ts [ts] tsunami, cats צ׳ tsadi with a geresh ch [] chip

Transcriptions of Arabic

There are six additional letters in the Arabic alphabet. They are Ṯāʾ, Ḫāʾ, Ḏāl, Ḍād, Ẓāʾ, and Ġayn. Also, some letters have different sounds in Arabic phonology and modern Hebrew phonology, such as Ǧīm.

Distinction when transcribing Arabic[4]
Without Geresh With Geresh
Symbol Name Translit. Arabic letter Example Symbol Name Arabic letter Example Comments
ג gimel g Egyptian / Yemeni Ǧīm (ج) [ɡ] good ג׳ gimel with a geresh Ǧīm (ج) [] Al-Jazeera (الجزيرة)
  • Also used with other loan words and transliterations for /dʒ/
ד dalet d Dāl (د) [d] door ד׳ dalet with a geresh Ḏāl (ذ) [ð] Dhu [a]l-Hijjah (ذو الحجة)
  • Also used for English voiced th
  • Often a simple Dalet (ד) is written
ח heth ẖ / h, ḥ, or h Ḥaʾ (ح) [ħ] Non existent in English, pronounced like an "h" while contracting the pharynx ח׳ heth with a geresh Ḫāʾ (ﺥ) [χ] Sheikh (شيخ)
ת tav t Tāʾ (ت) [t] tail ת׳ tav with a geresh ṯāʾ (ث) [θ] ʿuthman (عثمان)
  • Also used for English voiceless th
ס samekh s Sīn (س) [s] sun ס׳ samech with a geresh Ṣad (ص)
  • May also be transcribed with the corresponding Hebrew letter צ
ר resh r Rāʾ (ر) [r] ר׳ reish with a geresh Ghain (غ) [ɣ] Abu Ghosh (أَبُو غوش) Both ר׳ and ע׳ are alternatingly used to transcribe ġayn (غ), however ר׳ is the standard prescribed by the Academy of the Hebrew Language for simplified transcription (the standard prescribed for precise transcription is גֿ; in some cases of established usage a ג with no diacritics is used)
Comment to the pronunciation: When transcribing Arabic, a "ר" with no geresh designates only the "rolled r" as in Scottish English (alveolar trill or tap), in distinction to the voiced velar [ɣ] or uvular [ʁ] fricatives, whereas in normal Hebrew writing "ר" can be pronounced [r], [ɾ] [ɣ] or [ʁ]: all are allophones of the phoneme /r/
ע ayin ʿAyn (ع) ע׳ ayin with a geresh

Transliteration of foreign names

Distinction when transcribing foreign names[5]
Without Geresh With Geresh
Symbol Name Translit. Example Symbol Name Translit. Example
ד dalet d [d] door ד׳ dalet with a geresh English voiced th [ð] then
ת tav t [t] tail ת׳ tav with a geresh English voiceless th [θ] thing
ו vav v [v] vote וו or ו׳
vav with a geresh
or double vav
w [w] William
* ^ Both double-vav and vav with geresh are non-standard and so inconsistently used.[6]

Yiddish origin

Some words or suffixes with Yiddish origin or pronunciation are marked with a geresh, e.g. the diminutive suffix "לֶ׳ה" – "le", e.g. "יענקל׳ה" – "Yankale" (as in Yankale Bodo), or the words "חבר׳ה" – [ˈχevre], "guys" (which is the Yiddish pronunciation of Hebrew "חברה" [χevˈra] "company"), or "תכל׳ס" – [ˈtaχles], "down-to-earth".

Punctuation mark

The geresh is used as a punctuation mark in initialisms and to denote numerals.

Indicating initialisms

In initialisms, the Geresh is written after the last letter of the initialism. For example: the title גְּבֶרֶת (literally "lady") is abbreviated גב׳, equivalent to English "Mrs" and "Ms".[7]

Denoting a numeral

A Geresh can be appended after (left of) a single letter to indicate that the letter represents a Hebrew numeral. For example: ק׳‎ represents 100. A multi-digit Hebrew numeral is indicated by the Gershayim ״.

Cantillation mark

As a note of cantillation in the reading of the Torah, the Geresh is printed above the accented letter: ב֜. The Geresh Muqdam (lit. "a Geresh made earlier"), a variant cantillation mark, is also printed above the accented letter, but slightly before (i.e. more to the right of) the position of the normal Geresh: ב֝. As a cantillation mark it is also called Ṭères (טֶרֶס)‎.[1]

Computer encoding

Appearance Code Points Name

Since most keyboards do not have a Geresh key, often an apostrophe ( ', Unicode U+0027) is used to denote a Geresh.

See also


  1. ^ a b  f§15 Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar,
  2. ^ Even-Shoshan Dictionary, 2003; Shoshana Bahat and Mordechay Mishor, Dictionary of Contemporary Hebrew, 2007.
  3. ^ Kordova, Shoshana (3 Mar 2013). "Word of the Day / Chupchik צ'וּפְּצִ'יק". Haaretz. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Rules for the transcription of  
  5. ^ Rules for the transcription of foreign names into  
  6. ^ Transliteration Rules issued by the Academy of the Hebrew Language state that both [v] and [w] be indistinguishably represented in Hebrew using the letter Vav. Sometimes the Vav is indeed doubled, however not to denote [w] as opposed to [v] but rather, when spelling without niqqud, to denote the phoneme /v/ at a non-initial and non-final position in the word, whereas a single Vav at a non-initial and non-final position in the word in spelling without niqqud denotes one of the phonemes /u/ or /o/. To pronounce foreign words and loanwords containing the sound [w], Hebrew readers must therefore rely on former knowledge and context, see also pronunciation of Hebrew Vav.
  7. ^ Hebrew Punctuation "(Academy of the Hebrew Language)". 
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