Geresh (׳ in Hebrew: גֶּרֶשׁ[1] or גֵּרֶשׁ[2] [ˈɡeʁeʃ], or medieval [ˈɡeːɾeːʃ]) 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.
punctuation mark
cantillation mark֜ or ֝הָאָ֜רֶץ
compare with apostrophes
'וכו׳', 'הָאָ֜רֶץ'
Hebrew punctuation
Hebrew-specific marksorthographically similar marks
gershayim֞״"quotation mark
metegֽ  ,comma
inverted nun׆[bracket


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]. It may be compared to the usage of a following h in various Latin digraphs to form other consonant sounds not supported by the basic Latin alphabet, such as "sh", "th", etc.

Loanwords, slang, foreign names and transliterations

Loanwords, slang, foreign names, and transliteration of foreign languages
Without Geresh With Geresh
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 Ghayn. Also, some letters have different sounds in Arabic phonology and modern Hebrew phonology, such as Jīm.

Distinction when transcribing Arabic[4]
Without Geresh With Geresh
SymbolNameTranslit.Arabic letterIPAExampleSymbolNameArabic letterIPAExampleComments
ג gimel g Egyptian / Yemeni Jīm (ج) [ɡ] good ג׳ gimel with a geresh Jīm (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)
ס samekh s Sīn (س) [s] sun ס׳ samekh 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 Ghayn (غ) [ɣ] Abu Ghosh (أَبُو غوش) Standard simplified: ר׳ and ע׳ however ר׳ is prescribed by the Academy of the Hebrew Language. Another precise prescribed transcription is גֿ; in some cases of established usage a ג with no diacritics is used.
The predominant pronunciation is uvular [ʁ, ʀ], therefore resh is spelled without geresh for that pronunciation. Other accentual variants include an alveolar pronunciation [ɾ, r].
ע ayin ʿAyn (ع) ע׳ ayin with a geresh

Transliteration of foreign names

Distinction when transcribing foreign names[5]
Without Geresh With Geresh
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׳הYankale (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], 'bottom-line'.

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

Most keyboards do not have a key for the geresh. As a result, an apostrophe ( ', Unicode U+0027) is often substituted for it.

Appearance Code Points Name

See also


  1.  Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, §15f
  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 %5b%5bArabic language|Arabic%5d%5d into %5b%5bHebrew language|Hebrew%5d%5d, pp. 5–6 "(Academy of the Hebrew Language)" Check |url= value (help).
  5. "(Academy of the Hebrew Language)" (PDF). Archived from Rules for the transcription of foreign names into %5b%5bHebrew language|Hebrew%5d%5d, pp. 5–6 the original Check |url= value (help) on 2008-09-10.
  6. Transliteration Rules Archived 2008-02-28 at the Wayback Machine 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)" Check |url= value (help).
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.