Lamedh

Lamedh or Lamed is the twelfth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Lāmed , Hebrew 'Lāmed ל, Aramaic Lāmadh , Syriac Lāmaḏ ܠ, and Arabic Lām ل. Its sound value is [l].

Lamedh
Phonemic representationl, ɫ
Position in alphabet12
Numerical value30
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Lambda (Λ), Latin L, and Cyrillic El (Л).

Origin

The letter is usually considered to have originated from the representation of a goad, i.e. a cattle prod, or a shepherd's stick, i.e. a pastoral staff.

Hebrew Lamed

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
SerifSans-serifMonospaced
ל ל ל

Hebrew spelling: לָמֶד

Pronunciation

Lamed transcribes as an alveolar lateral approximant /l/.

Significance

Lamed in gematria represents the number 30.

With the letter Vav it refers to the Lamedvavniks, the 36 righteous people who save the world from destruction.

As an abbreviation, it can stand for litre. Also, a sign on a car with a Lamed on it means that the driver is a student of driving (the Lamed stands for lomed, learner).

As a prefix, it can have two purposes:

  • It can be attached to verb roots, designating the infinitive (Daber means "speak", Ledaber means to speak).
  • It can also act as a preposition meaning "to" or "for".

Arabic lām

The letter is named lām, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
(Help)
ل ـل ـلـ لـ

Some examples on its uses in Modern Standard Arabic. (Normally, diacritics are not written):

Lām is used as a prefix in two different ways. Lām-kasra (لـِ, /li/) is essentially a preposition meaning "to" or "for", as in لِوالدي liwālidī, "for my father". In this usage, it has become concatenated with other words to form new constructions often treated as independent words: for instance, لِماذا limāḏā, meaning "why?", is derived from لـِ li and ماذا māḏā, meaning "what?" thus getting "for what?". A semantically equivalent construction is found in most Romance languages, e.g. French pourquoi, Spanish por qué, and Italian perché (though ché is an archaism and not in current use).

The other construction, lām-fatḥa (لَـ /la/) is used as an emphatic particle in very formal Arabic and in certain fixed constructions, such as لَقد laqad (itself an emphatic particle for past-tense verbs) and in the conditional structure لو...لَـ law...la, effectively one of the forms of if...then....

Character encodings

Characterלلܠ
Unicode nameHEBREW LETTER LAMEDARABIC LETTER LAMSYRIAC LETTER LAMADHSAMARITAN LETTER LABAT
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode1500U+05DC1604U+06441824U+07202059U+080B
UTF-8215 156D7 9C217 132D9 84220 160DC A0224 160 139E0 A0 8B
Numeric character referenceללللܠܠࠋࠋ
Character𐎍𐡋𐤋
Unicode nameUGARITIC LETTER LAMDAIMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER LAMEDHPHOENICIAN LETTER LEMDA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode66445U+1038D67659U+1084B67851U+1090B
UTF-8240 144 142 141F0 90 8E 8D240 144 161 139F0 90 A1 8B240 144 164 139F0 90 A4 8B
UTF-1655296 57229D800 DF8D55298 56395D802 DC4B55298 56587D802 DD0B
Numeric character reference𐎍𐎍𐡋𐡋𐤋𐤋
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