Calling All Hebrew Experts

I just noticed something that I had never seen before in the Hebrew text of the Psalms–in the phrase “Hallelu-Jah,” the final letter “he” of “Jah” has a dagesh-like dot in it. I say “dagesh-like,” because the letter “he” is not one of the letters that can take a dagesh, especially at the end of a word. I haven’t been able to find any explanation in the Hebrew texts that I have; one of them, in an explanation of the furtive patah, mentions the word “gavoah,” with a terminal “he” that has a dot, but it doesn’t explain the dot.

My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that the dot indicates that the final “he” is a real “he,” and not the final “he” that feminine words like “torah,” that turns into a “taw” in a construct (“torat Adonai,” “the Law of the Lord”).

Hebrew experts, am I close? And does this dot have a name (like “dagesh” for the consonant-doubling dot)?


hope this helps:

“Hei does receive a marking identical to the dagesh, to form Hei-mappiq (הּ). The mappiq ( Hebrew: מפיק also mapiq, mapik, mappik, lit “causing to go out” is a Diacritic used in the Hebrew Although indistinguishable for most modern speakers or readers of Hebrew, the mapiq is placed in a word-final Hei to indicate that the letter is not merely a mater lectionis, but that the consonant should be aspirated in that position.”

It’s actually not a dagesh but a mappiq so that you know the he is not a mater lectionis for a.

…make sense?

Thanks, John and Apollos. Always nice to know when one guesses right. Now that I know what to call it, I found an oblique reference in one of my textbooks, that “he” is marked with a mappiq when it is a feminine pronominal suffix

So many centuries we have been mis-pronouncing “hallelujah” by leaving off the -h at the end. Who knew? :shrug:


I’m not anti-intellectual or anything, but when some word is transliterated into English, I think it should be put into common English.

I pronounced Celtic as “sell tick” all my life, now I find out it’s “kell tick.” Hey, why mislead like this?

I suppose it’s the same problem with people pronouncing “Illinois” as “ill - a - noise” instead of “ill-a-noy.”

surely, no one would mistake me for a Hebrew expert, by the way, but then, who is?

I am annoyed by news reporters on TV who will suddenly adopt an Hispanic accent to pronounce a Spanish-named location, like Nicaragua being pronounced like “neek ah rrrahg wah” as if any non-hispanic speaker would know what they’re saying, or care, for that matter. Sure, we butcher these words, but I would be butchering it just as much if I tried to pronounce Nicaragua with an Hispanic pronunciation.

Channukah is often spelled Hannukah, to give the rest of us a fair chance. duh.

I feel ya, bro. Hey, if it’s basketball, it’s “sell tick;” if it’s music, it’s “kell tick.”

Same thing happened to a whole bunch on Bible names that started out with Greek “kappas”, got transliterated with English “c’s”, and are now pronounced as if the “c’s” were “s’s.” I’d like the guilloutine the idiot that came up with that idea. Not to mention the very recent English development of pronouncing “j” as “dzh” instead of its original “y”.


Celtic assumes the Latin letter C coresponds to the letter Gamma so that it should be pronounced Keltik. The Kelts are supposedly Gallatae. Kookle it.

The Ilinwa Indians were named by the French, for whom spelling is a matter of opinion. Turquoise, Nicoise, Illinois, Vaudois, Francois, Gallois, Iroquois, Patois - now do you see why it’s Illinoy not Illinoyz?

I am annoyed by reporters who suddenly speak Hispanic out of context as much as jew are. But sweet are the moments when they give themselves away, when they pronounce a word hispanically when it is not hispanic at all - as in, if you would hear this on Chicago local news:

[think Chicago accent] Seynt Jann Kantee Catlick Chrrch haz bin hoasting dih *Rateen *Mass since dih Pope extended purrmishun…

But to bring this back to the original question … when you say Alleluia, do you pronounce the h?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit