Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Ancient Hebrew Alphabet


Yud

By Jeff A. Benner


Early
Hebrew
Middle
Hebrew
Late
Hebrew
Modern
Hebrew


Ancient Name: Yad
Pictograph: Arm and closed hand
Meanings: Work, Throw, Make, Praise
Sound: Y, iy


History & Reconstruction

The Early Semitic pictograph of this letter is , an arm and hand. The meaning of this letter is work, make and throw; the functions of the hand. The Modern Hebrew name yud is a derivative of the two letter word (yad), a Hebrew word meaning "hand," the original name for the letter.

The ancient and modern pronunciation of this letter is a "y." In Ancient Hebrew this letter also doubled as a vowel with an "i" sound. The Greek language adopted this letter as the vowel iota, retaining the "i" sound.

The ancient pictograph became the in the Middle Semitic script. The letter continued to evolve into the simpler form in the Late Semitic script. The Middle Semitic form became the Greek and Roman I. The Late Semitic form became the Modern Hebrew י.


Semitic Script Charts




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