Tsade

Tsade (also spelled Ṣade, Ṣādē, Ṣaddi, Ṣad, Tzadi, Sadhe, Tzaddik) is the eighteenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Ṣādē , Hebrew Ṣādi צ, Aramaic Ṣāḏē , Syriac Ṣāḏē ܨ, Ge'ez Ṣädäy , and Arabic Ṣād ص. Its oldest sound value is probably /sˤ/, although there is a variety of pronunciation in different modern Semitic languages and their dialects. It represents the coalescence of three Proto-Semitic "emphatic consonants" in Canaanite. Arabic, which kept the phonemes separate, introduced variants of ṣād and ṭāʾ to express the three (see ḍād, ẓāʾ). In Aramaic, these emphatic consonants coalesced instead with ʿayin and ṭēt, respectively, thus Hebrew ereṣ ארץ (earth) is araʿ ארע in Aramaic.

Tsade
Phonemic representationsˤ (t͡s)
Position in alphabet18
Numerical value90
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

The Phoenician letter is continued in the Greek San (Ϻ) and possibly Sampi (Ϡ), and in Etruscan 𐌑 Ś. It may have inspired the form of the letter Tse in the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets.

The corresponding letter of the Ugaritic alphabet is 𐎕 ṣade.

The letter is named "tsadek" in Yiddish,[1] and Hebrew speakers often give it a similar name as well. This name for the letter probably originated from a fast recitation of the alphabet (i.e., "tsadi, qoph" → "tsadiq, qoph"), influenced by the Hebrew word tzadik, meaning "righteous person".[2]

Origins

The origin of ṣade is unclear. It may have come from a Proto-Sinaitic script based on a pictogram of a plant, perhaps a papyrus plant, or a fish hook (in Modern Hebrew, צד tsad means "[he] hunt[ed]", and in Arabic صاد ṣād means "[he] hunted").

Hebrew tsadi

Orthographic variants
position
in
word
Various print fonts Ashkenazi Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
SerifSans-serifMonospaced
non-final צ צ צ
final ץ ץ ץ

Hebrew spelling: צָדִי or צָדֵי.

Name

In Hebrew, the letter's name is Tsadi or Ṣadi, depending on whether the letter is transliterated as the common "ts" or the more scientific "ṣ".

Variations

Ṣadi, like Kaph, Mem, Pe, and Nun, has a final form, used at the end of words. Its shape changes from צ to ץ.

Pronunciation

In Modern Hebrew, צ tsade represents a voiceless alveolar affricate /t͡s/. This is the same in Yiddish. Historically, it likely represented a pharyngealized /t͡sˤ/; which became [t͡s] in Ashkenazi pronunciation. A geresh can also be placed after tsade (צ׳ ; ץ׳), giving it the sound [t͡ʃ], e.g. צִ׳יפְּס čips, meaning "chips".

Ṣade appears as [sˤ] amongst Yemenite Jews and other Jews from the Middle East; the loss of affricatisation is likely due to influence from Arabic.

Some Sephardi Jews pronounce צ like a regular s.

Significance

In gematria, Ṣadi represents the number 90. Its final form represents 900, but this is rarely used, Taw, Taw, and Qof (400+400+100) being used instead.

As an abbreviation, it stands for ṣafon, North.

Ṣadi is also one of the seven letters that receive a special crown (called tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah. See Shin, ‘Ayin, Ṭet, Nun, Zayin, and Gimmel.

Arabic ṣād

The letter is named ṣād; Modern Standard Arabic pronunciation: /sˤ/.

It is written in several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
(Help)
ص ـص ـصـ صـ

Surah Ṣād of the Quran is named for this letter, which begins the surah.

The phoneme is not native to Persian, Ottoman Turkish, or Urdu, and its pronunciation in Arabic loanwords in these languages is not distinguishable from س or ث; all of them are pronounced [s].

Character encodings

Characterצץصܨ
Unicode nameHEBREW LETTER TSADIHEBREW LETTER FINAL TSADIARABIC LETTER SADSYRIAC LETTER SADHESAMARITAN LETTER TSAADIY
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode1510U+05E61509U+05E51589U+06351832U+07282065U+0811
UTF-8215 166D7 A6215 165D7 A5216 181D8 B5220 168DC A8224 160 145E0 A0 91
Numeric character referenceצצץץصصܨܨࠑࠑ
Character𐎕𐡑𐤑
Unicode nameUGARITIC LETTER SADEIMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER SADHEPHOENICIAN LETTER SADE
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode66453U+1039567665U+1085167857U+10911
UTF-8240 144 142 149F0 90 8E 95240 144 161 145F0 90 A1 91240 144 164 145F0 90 A4 91
UTF-1655296 57237D800 DF9555298 56401D802 DC5155298 56593D802 DD11
Numeric character reference𐎕𐎕𐡑𐡑𐤑𐤑

See also

Notes

  1. Weinreich, Uriel (1968). Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. p. 453. ISBN 07-0690380-3.
  2. "The Letter Tsade: Righteousness and Modesty" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 5 December 2010.
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