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]
Transliteration a
English approximation far
Same sound qamatz
The word for also in Hebrew, gam. The first vowel (the horizontal line) is a pataḥ.
Other Niqqud
Shwa · Hiriq · Tzere · Segol · Pataḥ · Kamatz · Holam · Dagesh · Mappiq · Shuruk · Kubutz · Rafe · Sin/Shin Dot

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.

The letters Bet ב and Het ח used in this table are only for demonstration. Any letter can be used.

Symbol Name Pronunciation
Israeli Ashkenazi Sephardi Yemenite Tiberian Reconstructed
בַ Pataḥ [ä][ä][ä][a][a, aː]??
בַה, בַא Pataḥ male [ä][ä][ä][a][aː]??
חֲ Ḥaṭaf pataḥ [ä][ä][ä][a][a]??

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.

In addition, a letter with a pataḥ or qamatz with a succeeding, articulated yud י makes the diphthong /ai̯/, similar to the diphthong in the English words fine and why.

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
Vowel Length IPA Transliteration English
Long Short Very short
ָ ַ ֲ [a] a spa
Qamatz Pataḥ Reduced pataḥ

Unicode encoding

Glyph Unicode Name
ַ U+05B7 PATAH

See also

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