Resh is the twentieth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Rēsh , Hebrew Rēsh ר, Aramaic Rēsh , Syriac Rēsh ܪ, and Arabic Rāʾ ر. Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually [r] or [ɾ], but also [ʁ] or [ʀ] in Hebrew and North Mesopotamian Arabic.
|Phonemic representation||r (ɾ, ʁ, ʀ)|
|Position in alphabet||20|
In most Semitic alphabets, the letter resh (and its equivalents) is quite similar to the letter dalet (and its equivalents). In the Syriac alphabet, the letters became so similar that now they are only distinguished by a dot: resh has a dot above the letter, and the otherwise identical dalet has a dot below the letter. In the Arabic alphabet, rāʼ has a longer tail than dāl. In the Aramaic and Hebrew square alphabet, resh is a rounded single stroke while dalet is a right-angle of two strokes. The similarity led to the variant spellings of the name Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.
The word resh is usually assumed to have come from a pictogram of a head, ultimately reflecting Proto-Semitic *raʾ(i)š-. The word's East Semitic cognate, rēš-, was one possible phonetic reading of the Sumerian cuneiform sign for "head" (SAG 𒊕, ) in Akkadian.
The letter is named rāʾ/"rāy"/"rays" راء in Arabic. It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
The Unicode standard for Arabic scripts also lists a variant with a full stroke (Unicode character U+075b: ݛ), suggesting that this form is used in certain Northern and Western African languages and some dialects in Pakistan.
|Various print fonts||Cursive
Hebrew spelling: רֵישׁ
In Hebrew, Resh (רֵישׁ) represents a rhotic consonant that has different realizations for different dialects:
- In Modern Hebrew, the most common pronunciation is the voiced uvular fricative [ʁ].
- Ashkenazi use sometimes a uvular trill [ʀ] or an alveolar trill [r]. English-speakers replace it sometimes it with an alveolar approximant [ɹ], as in English.
- Sephardic and Mizrahi use either an alveolar trill [r] or tap [ɾ].
Resh, along with Ayin, Aleph, Hei, and Het, does not receive a dagesh by convention. In the Yemenite tradition, Resh is treated as most other consonants in that it can receive a dagesh hazak under certain circumstances. In the most widely accepted version of the Hebrew Bible, there are 17 instances of Resh being marked with a dagesh.
In gematria, Resh represents the number 200.
Resh may be found after a person's name on a gravestone to indicate that the person had been a Rabbi or to indicate the other use of Rav, as a generic term for a teacher or a personal spiritual guide.
Resh is used in an Israeli phrase; after a child may say something false, one may say "B'Shin Quf, Resh" (With Shin, Quf, Resh). These letters spell Sheqer, which is the Hebrew word for a lie. It would be akin to an English speaker saying "That's an L-I-E."
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER RESH||ARABIC LETTER RA||SYRIAC LETTER RISH||SAMARITAN LETTER RISH|
|UTF-8||215 168||D7 A8||216 177||D8 B1||220 170||DC AA||224 160 147||E0 A0 93|
|Numeric character reference||ר||ר||ر||ر||ܪ||ܪ||ࠓ||ࠓ|
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER RASHA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER RESH||PHOENICIAN LETTER ROSH|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 151||F0 90 8E 97||240 144 161 147||F0 90 A1 93||240 144 164 147||F0 90 A4 93|
|UTF-16||55296 57239||D800 DF97||55298 56403||D802 DC53||55298 56595||D802 DD13|
|Numeric character reference||𐎗||𐎗||𐡓||𐡓||𐤓||𐤓|
- Allen, Julie D.; Anderson, Deborah; et al. (eds.). The Unicode Standard, Version 6.2 (PDF). Unicode Consortium. p. 265.
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