The identical twins

New Hebrew students have started asking recently - What is going on with the"ָKaָmatz"?

We all know how to recognize the Kamatz in Hebrew- We read it as an A vowel like in -

מִכְתָּב, מַדְבֵּקָה, סִפְרִיָּה, שָׁלוֹם, תִּקְוָה, חָבֵר

But once in a while we encounter a strange happening -

חָכְמָה, תָּכְנִית

Mysteriously, the exact same vowel (or so we think...) Appears as an O vowel!

They look like they are the same, but ladies and gentlemen - they are actually identical twins!

We have two types of Kamatz - small and big.

The small Kamatz has an O sound and is considered a short vowel.
אָפְנָה , עָרְמָה, בְּחָזְקָה, אֳנִיָּה, תָּכְנִית, קָדְקוֹד. צָהֳרַיִם, נָעֳמִי

The big Kamatz has an A sound and it is considered a long vowel.
אֲרוּחָה דְּאָגָה מַחְשָׁבָה הִתְקַדְּמָה.

So how can we recognize it when we read?

The long answer is - You will remember with time the meanings of the words and also how to read them even without the Nikud. Some memorisation is an inseparable part of practicing a new language.....

The short answer is that we can recognize the small Kamatz inside some structures which look a like-


אָפְנָה , עָרְמָה, חָכְמָה

Is a part of a structure containing many many nouns which are structured into ( O - A vowels).


צָהֳרַיִם, מָאֳשָׁם, נָעֳמִי

When you see them in pairs together - The Kamatz and the Hataf-Kamatz right after it - then it is a small Kamatz and the word will have two O sounds in a row (For example : TZO-HO-RAIM).

To sum it up - the two siblings can definely confuse some new Hebrew readers, but with some practice - they are definitely distinguishable!

Happy learning!!

December 6, 2019
Mi vida antes del Covid- 19 (IMPERFECTO) A-2
Profile Picture
Alejandra Santiago
August 7, 2020
Profile Picture
Abby H
August 7, 2020
The Origins of popular English Idioms
Profile Picture
Jen Mc Monagle
August 7, 2020