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Biblical Hebrew:


English example



The word shva in Hebrew. The first vowel (marked with red) is itself a shva .

Other Niqqud

Shva Hiriq Zeire Segol Patach Kamatz Holam Dagesh Mappiq Shuruk Kubutz Rafe Sin/Shin Dot

Shva or, in Biblical Hebrew, shĕwa is a Hebrew niqqud vowel sign written as two vertical dots "ְ" beneath a letter. In Modern Hebrew, it indicates either the phoneme or the complete absence of a vowel ( Ø), whereas in Hebrew prescriptive linguistics, six grammatical entities are differentiated: the resting Shva (naḥ / ), such as in the words שִׁמְעִי and כַּרְמִי ; the mobile Shva (na / ), such as the Shva which appears at the beginning of words, which renders the vowel a mobile vowel, as in the Hebrew word "floating" (meraḥef / ), or as in לְפָנָי (lefanai) or שְׁמַע (shema) ; or whenever a diacritical vertical line known as a Ga'ya / (lit. "bleating" or "bellowing") appears next to a Shva. For example, in the words הַֽמְקַנֵּ֥א אַתָּ֖ה לִ֑י , the Shva beneath the Hebrew character mim becomes a mobile Shva because of the Ga'ya (small vertical line) beneath the Hebrew character he. In all these cases the Shva gives an audible sound to the letter, as in a short "a" or short "e", and is not mute. Likewise, whenever a Shva appears in the middle of a word and the letter has a diacritical point within it (dagesh), as in the pe of מִפְּנֵיכֶם , or in the qoph of מִקְּדָֿשׁ , they too will become a mobile Shva (na / ), as will a word that that has two Shvas written one after the other, as in the word רַעְמְסֵס , or in the word וישְׁמְעו , etc. the first Shva is resting (mute), while the second Shva is a mobile Shva. Another instance of where the Shva becomes mobile is when it comes directly after a long vowel sound, such as the long vowel of either yod or ḥiríq, as in יְחִֽידְֿךָ , giving it the sound of yeḥīdhkha, etc., or as in the long vowel of waw or ḥolam, as in the words הוֹלְכִֿים, יוֹדְֿעִים and מוֹכְֿרִים, etc. (hōlkhīm, yōdʻīm and mōkhrīm), or as in the verse שֹׁפְטִים וְשֹׁטְרִים תִּתֶּן לְךָ , "shōfəṭīm wa-shōṭərīm titen ləkha."

In earlier forms of Hebrew, these entities were phonologically and phonetically distinguishable, but the two variants resulting from Modern Hebrew phonology no longer conform to the traditional classification, e.g. the (first) Shva Nach in the word (trans. "books of the Law") while it is correctly pronounced in Modern Hebrew , the "פ" (or "f"-sound) being mute, the Shva Na, or mobile Shva in ("time") in Modern Hebrew is often incorrectly pronounced as a mute Shva . In religious contexts, however, scrupulous readers of the prayers and scriptures do still differentiate properly between Shva Nach and Shva Na (e.g. zĕman).

It is transliterated as "e", "ĕ", "ə", "'" ( apostrophe), or nothing. Note that usage of "ə" for shva is questionable: transliterating modern Hebrew Shva Nach with ə or ' is misleading, since it is never actually pronounced – the vowel does not exist in modern Hebrew – moreover, the vowel is probably not characteristic of earlier pronunciations either (see Tiberian vocalization → Mobile Shwa = Shwa na').

A shva sign in combination with the vowel diacritics patáẖ, segól and kamáts katán produces a "ẖatáf": a diacritic for a "tnuʿá ẖatufá" (a "fleeting" or "furtive" vowel).

Shva (disambiguation)

Shva may refer to:

  • Shva, a Hebrew diacritic
  • SHVA (Satellite Home Viewer Act), a set of regulations which govern the transmissions of television stations in the USA
  • Sheba, a kingdom mentioned in the Old Testament and the Qur'an (as pronounced in Modern Hebrew)