Dalet (dāleth, also spelled Daleth or Daled) is the fourth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Dālet 𐤃, 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]).
|Phonemic representation||d, ð|
|Position in alphabet||4|
|Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician|
|Various print fonts||Cursive
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.
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
- ד dhalet /d/ (/ð/ among Teimanim, Mizrachim and some Sephardim; /z/ among some Ashkenazim.) or
- דּ dalet /d/.
In addition, in modern Hebrew, the combination ד׳ (dalet followed by a geresh) is used when transcribing foreign names to denote /ð/.
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 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%.
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.
The letter is named dāl دَالْ, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
The letter represents a /d/ sound.
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER DALET||ARABIC LETTER DAL||SYRIAC LETTER DALATH||SAMARITAN LETTER DALAT||DALET SYMBOL|
|UTF-8||215 147||D7 93||216 175||D8 AF||220 149||DC 95||224 160 131||E0 A0 83||226 132 184||E2 84 B8|
|Numeric character reference||ד
|Named character reference||ℸ|
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER DELTA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER DALETH||PHOENICIAN LETTER DELT|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 132||F0 90 8E 84||240 144 161 131||F0 90 A1 83||240 144 164 131||F0 90 A4 83|
|UTF-16||55296 57220||D800 DF84||55298 56387||D802 DC43||55298 56579||D802 DD03|
|Numeric character reference||𐎄
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