Pataḥ (Hebrew: פַּתַח pataḥ, IPA: [paˈtaħ], Biblical Hebrew: paṯaḥ ) is a Hebrew niqqud vowel sign represented by a horizontal line ⟨ אַ ⟩ underneath a letter. In modern Hebrew, it indicates the phoneme /a/ which is close to the "a" sound in the English word far and is transliterated as an a.
|IPA||[a] or [ä]|
In Modern Hebrew, a pataḥ makes the same sound as a qamatz, as does the ḥaṭaf pataḥ (Hebrew: חֲטַף פַּתַח IPA: [ħaˈtaf paˈtaħ], "reduced pataḥ"). The reduced (or ḥaṭaf) niqqud exist for pataḥ, qamatz, and segol which contain a shva next to it.
The following table contains the pronunciation and transliteration of the different pataḥs in reconstructed historical forms and dialects using the International Phonetic Alphabet. The pronunciation in IPA is above and the transliteration is below.
|בַה, בַא||Pataḥ male||[ä]||[ä]||[ä]||[a]||[aː]||?||?|
A pataḥ on a letter ח, ע, or הּ (that is, ה with a dot (mappiq) in it) at the end of a word is sounded before the letter, and not after. Thus, נֹחַ (Noah; properly transliterated as Noaḥ ) is pronounced /no.aχ/ in Modern Hebrew and /no.aħ/ or /no.ʔaħ/ in Biblical Hebrew. This only occurs at the ends of words, only with pataḥ and only with these three letters. This is sometimes called a pataḥ gnuva, or "stolen" pataḥ (more formally, "furtive pataḥ"), since the sound "steals" an imaginary epenthetic consonant to make the extra syllable.
Vowel length comparison
By adding two vertical dots (shva) the vowel is made very short. However, these vowels lengths are not manifested in Modern Hebrew.
|Vowel comparison table|