In Hebrew, there are some distinctions between short and long vowels. However, it’s important to note that these differences are less pronounced in Modern Hebrew than in Biblical Hebrew. Also, lengthening or shortening of vowels often occurs based on the position of the syllable in a word (whether it’s stressed or unstressed), similar to many other languages.

Short Vowels:

  1. Patach (ַ): a short ‘a’ sound, as in ‘father.’
  2. Segol (ֶ): a short ‘e’ sound, as in ‘bed.’
  3. Hiriq (ִ): a short ‘i’ sound, as in ‘it.’
  4. Qamats Qatan (ָ): a short ‘o’ sound, which only occurs in certain conditions, as in ‘on.’
  5. Qibbuts (ֻ): a short ‘u’ sound, as in ‘put.’

Long Vowels:

  1. Qamats Gadol (ָ): a long ‘a’ sound, as in ‘father.’
  2. Tzere (ֵ): a long ‘e’ sound, as in ‘they.’
  3. Hiriq Yod (יִ): a long ‘i’ sound, as in ‘machine.’
  4. Vav Holam (וֹ): a long ‘o’ sound, as in ‘open.’
  5. Shuruk (וּ): a long ‘u’ sound, as in ‘flute.’

In many modern dialects of Hebrew, the distinction between long and short vowels has largely been lost, and the primary difference is more a matter of quality (the specific sound) rather than quantity (the length). This is especially true in Israeli Hebrew.

It’s also important to remember that vowels aren’t usually written in Modern Hebrew except in texts for children or language learners, or where the pronunciation may be unclear. However, understanding these vowel distinctions can help when reading texts with full vowel pointing or when striving for careful pronunciation.

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