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Bet, Beth, Beh, or Vet is the second letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Bēt Phoenician beth.svg, Hebrew Bēt ב, Aramaic Bēth Beth.svg, Syriac Bēṯ ܒ, and Arabic Bāʾ ب Its sound value is a voiced bilabial stop ⟨b⟩ or a voiced labiodental fricative ⟨v⟩. This letter's name means "house" in various Semitic languages (Arabic bayt, Akkadian bītu, bētu, Hebrew: bayiṯ, Phoenician bt etc.; ultimately all from Proto-Semitic *bayt-), and appears to derive from an Egyptian hieroglyph of a house by acrophony.

Phonemic representation b, v
Position in alphabet 2
Numerical value 2
O1

The Phoenician letter gave rise to, among others, the Greek Beta, Latin B, and Cyrillic Б, В.

Contents

OriginEdit

The name bet is derived from the West Semitic word for "house", and the shape of the letter derives from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph that may have been based on the Egyptian hieroglyph Pr

 

which depicts a house.

Hieroglyph Proto-Sinaitic Phoenician Paleo-Hebrew
 
     

Arabic bāʾEdit

The Arabic letter ب is named باء bāʾ (bāʔ). It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:


Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ب‎ ـب‎ ـبـ‎ بـ‎

The letter normally renders /b/ sound, except in some names and loanwords where it can also render /p/, often arabized as /b/, as in برسيل (Persil). For /p/, it may be used interchangeably with the Persian letter پ - pe (with 3 dots) in this case.

Hebrew Bet / VetEdit

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ב ב ב    

Hebrew spelling: בֵּית

The Hebrew letter represents two different phonemes: a "b" sound (/b/) (bet) and a "v" sound (/v/) (vet). The two are distinguished by a dot (called a dagesh) in the centre of the letter for /b/ and no dot for /v/.

This letter is named bet and vet, following the modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation, bet and vet (/bɛjt/), in Israel and by most Jews familiar with Hebrew, although some non-Israeli Ashkenazi speakers pronounce it beis and veis (/bejs/). It is also named beth, following the Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation, in academic circles.

In modern Hebrew the frequency of the usage of bet, out of all the letters, is 4.98%.

Variations on written form/pronunciationEdit

Name Symbol IPA Transliteration Example
Vet ב /v/ v vote
Bet בּ /b/ b boat

Bet with the dageshEdit

When the Bet has a "dot" in its center, known as a dagesh, then it represents /b/. There are various rules in Hebrew grammar that stipulate when and why a dagesh is used.

Bet without the dagesh (Vet)Edit

When this letter appears as ב without the dagesh ("dot") in its center then it represents a voiced labiodental fricative: /v/.

Mystical significance of בEdit

Bet in gematria symbolizes the number 2.

As a prefix, the letter bet may function as a preposition meaning "in", "at", or "with".

Bet is the first letter of the Torah. As Bet is the number 2 in gematria, this is said to symbolize that there are two parts to Torah: the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.

Rashi points out that the letter is closed on three sides and open on one; this is to teach you that you may question about what happened after creation, but not what happened before it, or what is above the heavens or below the earth.

In set theory, the beth numbers stand for powers of infinite sets.

Syriac BethEdit

Beth
  Madnḫaya Beth
  Serṭo Beth
  Esṭrangela Beth

 

In the Syriac alphabet, the second letter is ܒ — Beth (ܒܝܼܬ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are Gimel, Dalet, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Beth has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [b]. When Beth has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [v], similar to its Hebrew form. However, in eastern dialects, the soft Beth is more often pronounced as a [w], and can form diphthongs with its preceding vowel. Whether Beth should be pronounced as a hard or soft sound is generally determined by its context within a word. However, wherever it is traditionally geminate within a word, even in dialects that no longer distinguish double consonants, it is hard. In the West Syriac dialect, some speakers always pronounce Beth with its hard sound.

Beth, when attached to the beginning of a word, represents the preposition 'in, with, at'. As a numeral, the letter represents the number 2, and, using various systems of dashes above or below, can stand for 2,000 and 20,000.

Character encodingsEdit

Character ב ب ܒ
Unicode name HEBREW LETTER BET ARABIC LETTER BEH SYRIAC LETTER BETH SAMARITAN LETTER BIT BET SYMBOL
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1489 U+05D1 1576 U+0628 1810 U+0712 2049 U+0801 8502 U+2136
UTF-8 215 145 D7 91 216 168 D8 A8 220 146 DC 92 224 160 129 E0 A0 81 226 132 182 E2 84 B6
Numeric character reference ב ב ب ب ܒ ܒ ࠁ ࠁ ℶ ℶ
Character 𐎁 𐡁 𐤁
Unicode name UGARITIC LETTER BETA IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER BETH PHOENICIAN LETTER BET
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66433 U+10381 67649 U+10841 67841 U+10901
UTF-8 240 144 142 129 F0 90 8E 81 240 144 161 129 F0 90 A1 81 240 144 164 129 F0 90 A4 81
UTF-16 55296 57217 D800 DF81 55298 56385 D802 DC41 55298 56577 D802 DD01
Numeric character reference 𐎁 𐎁 𐡁 𐡁 𐤁 𐤁

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit