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שִׁיר הַֽמַּעֲלֹות
הִנֵּה מַה־טֹּוב וּמַה־נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם־יָֽחַד׃
Hebrew Bible text ( Ps 133.1  EU ) with four strong and one easy Dagesch as well as a Shuruq

The (also: der) Dagesch , plural Degeschim , is a diacritical mark in the vocalized Hebrew text. It is written as a period that is placed inside a consonant sign to indicate a doubling of the consonant or a special pronunciation.

There are two other diacritical marks that appear as periods in Hebrew characters that should not be confused with the Dagesh:

  • Schuruq (also Schureq) consists of a vaw with a point in it ( וּ). This indicates that Waw is used as the mater lectionis for the long vowel u;
  • Mappiq is a period in a he at the end of a word (הּ). This means that He is not a substitute for a long vowel at the end of a word (mater lectionis), but is pronounced as an audible consonant h.

Dagesch, Mappiq and the period in Schuruq are not differentiated in Unicode and have the common position U + 05BC.

Dagesch forte (strong Dagesch)

If the Dagesch is in a consonant in the middle of a word after a usually short vowel, it indicates that this consonant is doubled. Such a Dagesch is called a strong Dagesch (דגש חזק Dagesch chasaq , Latin Dagesch forte ). At least today it does not change the pronunciation of most consonants; in some traditions of the pronunciation of Biblical Hebrew, however, such consonants are audibly mined . The doubling of consonants is especially important for the division into syllables: the preceding syllable ends in the double consonant and the following one begins there. "Syllables" are not necessarily actual spoken syllables, but are used to correctly set the vocalization signs and, if necessary, the Dagesch.

The consonants Aleph , He , Chet , Ajin and Resch never wear a Dagesch. Often the preceding vowel is then stretched so that vowel length and consonant doubling match again, e.g. B. minnazrat (“from Nazareth”) with a short i and a strong Dagesch in the Nun, but mechevron (“from Hebron”) with a long e because the Chet does not take a Dagesch. The fact that the long vowels are usually spoken briefly today is another matter.

Strong Dagesch mainly stands

  • in some words as an integral part of the word (e.g. in the text example above at the beginning of the article in the word הִנֵּה hinne , German 'see' );
  • in a consonant that is the result of the contraction of two consecutive identical consonants (e.g. compare the word forms צִלּוֹ zillo , German for 'his shadow' andצְלָלִים zlalim , German 'shadow (pl.)' );
  • in a consonant before which another consonant, almost always a nun, has been dropped (e.g. compare the word forms נָתַן natan , German 'he gave' andיִתֵּן jitten , German 'he will give' );
  • in the middle of the three consonants of a word root in some Genera Verbi (e.g. in the Examples section below in the Hitpaelהִתְכַּתַּבְתֶּם hitkattavtem , German 'you wrote to each other' );
  • in the first consonant after some prefixes, especially the article ha- (e.g. aboveהַֽמַּעֲלֹות hamma'alot , German for 'the stages' ) and the question word ma (e.g. aboveטֹּוב tov , German 'gut' andנָּעִים na'im , German 'lovely' ), the preposition mi- (e.g. belowמִכְּתֹב mikktov , German 'from writing' ) as well as the relative pronoun sche- (e.g.שֶלּךָ schellcha , German 'that belongs to you' ).

Strong Dagesch is almost always dropped at the end of a word.

Pray with Dagesch

The consonants Bet , Gimmel , Dalet , Kaf , Pe and Taw ( Begadkefat for short בגדכפ״תcalled) the doubling has the side effect that in any case one of the plosives [b], [g], [d], [k], [p] and [t] and not the associated fricative [v], [γ] , [ð], [x], [f] or [θ] is pronounced. In today's Israeli pronunciation, this spiraling is only made with Bet / Vet, Kaf / Chaf and Pe / Fe, while Gimmel, Dalet and Taw are always spoken as plosives. The pronunciation of a final Taw as [s] in Yiddish and German (Yidd. Schabbes for Hebrew Shabbat , Yidd./dt. Stuss for Hebrew Shtut ) comes from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew and shows that Taw can also be a fricative can. In German, the fricative is not used in biblical names for praying ( Abraham , not Avraham ), but for Kaf and Pe ( Micha , not Mika ; Josef , not Josep ).

Dagesch lene (light Dagesch)

The pronunciation of a Begadkefat as a plosive described above does not only occur in strong Dagesch, but also often at the beginning of a word or syllable. This pronunciation is also called Dagesch. Such a Dagesch is then called an easy Dagesch (Heb.דגש קל Dagesch qal , Latin Dagesch lene ). For the distinction between Bet – Vet, Kaf – Chaf and Pe – Fe, it is not important to know which type of Dagesch it is. Light Dagesch is also used with Gimmel, Dalet and Taw, although it shows no difference in pronunciation for these letters.

The light Dagesch is only at the beginning of a word or at the beginning of a syllable after a dormant Schwa (Schwa quiescens), i.e. never in the middle of a word after a vowel like a strong Dagesch.

The different types of Schwa and the consequences for easy Dagesch in the following Begadkefat obey the following rules:

  • At the beginning of the word, a Begadkefat has a light Dagesch.
  • If there is a schwa next to a consonant without Dagesch, which follows a short vowel sign (Patach, Segol, Chireq without iodine, Qamaz qatan, Qubbuz), then it is usually a dormant Schwa that ends a closed syllable. A subsequent Begadkefat, which thus opens a new syllable, has a slight Dagesch. There are, however, deviating cases which result from the following rules.
  • Every Schwa in a different position than in the previous rule is moved (Schwa mobile), and a subsequent Begadkefat does not wear an easy Dagesch.
  • If a prefix consisting of a consonant and a Schwa occurs before a word (or part of a word) whose initial consonant has a Schwa, the added Schwa becomes Chireq. Two cases can arise:
    • If the added prefix is ​​used to form words or to conjugate a verb, it forms a new closed syllable together with the previous initial consonant. Its swa, which has been moving up to now, becomes dormant, and a subsequent Begadkefat receives a Dagesch.
    • If the prefix to be added is a preposition l- (zu), b- (in) or k- (wie) in front of a noun, the Schwa of the previous initial consonant becomes a floating Schwa, and a subsequent Begadkefat remains without a Dagesch. Infinitives are considered nouns after b- or k- , but not after l- .
  • If the vowel between the last two stem consonants of a noun is omitted, i.e. if it is replaced by a Schwa, this is floating in the plural, but dormant in the singular and dual. This rule applies primarily to Segolata , but is also applied analogously to words with Qamaz in the final syllable such as B.כנף kanaf , German 'wing' orברכה bracha , German 'blessing' . There are exceptions to some words
  • The third root consonant of a verb does not have an easy Dagesch. (If it stands after Schwa, it is almost always a moving one, but otherwise a floating one.)
  • The Kaf in the possessive endings -cha , -chem and -chen never gets an easy Dagesch.


Here are examples of the most important cases of strong or light dagesch. The column “word form” contains the vocalized spelling; it is the same for biblical and modern Hebrew. In the column “Dagesch?” The reason why there is a Dagesch or none is given for the consonants with a strong Dagesch and for all Begadkefat. The pronunciation is modern; In the pronunciation of Biblical Hebrew, agitated Schwa is pronounced more often and in some traditions Bet without Dagesch is realized as [b] and not as [v]. The translation with the German perfect or future tense is a possible variant in both biblical and modern Hebrew.

root Word form Dagesch? pronunciation translation
כּוֹתְ ב ִים כ : beginning - ת : none - ב : moves kotvim Writers (pl)
כָּתַבְ תּ ִי כ : beginning - ת : no - ב : no - ת : dormant katávti I have written
כָּתְ ב ָה כ : beginning - ת : none - ב : moves katva she wrote
יִכְ תּ ְ ב וּ כ : no - ת : resting - ב : moving jichtevu they will write
כִּתְ ב וּ כ : beginning - ת : no - ב : floating kitvu writes!
הִכְ תּ ִיב כ : no - ת : dormant - ב : no hichtiv he dictated
הִתְ כּ ַ תּ ַבְ תּ ֶם ת : no - כ : quiet. - ת : strong - ב : no - ת : calm. hitkattavtem you wrote to each other
כְּ ת וּבִים כ : beginning - ת : moved - ב : none ketuvim Fonts
הַ כּ ְ ת וּבִים כ : strong - ת : moved - ב : none hakktuvim the scriptures
לִכְ ת וּבִים כ : none - ת : pending - ב : none lichtuvim to writings
לִכְ תּ ֹב כ : no - ת : dormant - ב : no lichtov to write
בִּכְ ת ֹב ב : beginning - כ : none - ת : floating - ב : none bichtov while writing
מִ כּ ְ ת ֹב כ : strong - ת ִ: moved - ב : none mikktov from writing
מִכְ תּ ָב כ : no - ת : dormant - ב : no michtav letter
כַּלְ בּ וֹ כ : beginning - ב : dormant kalbo his dog
כְּלָבִים כ : beginning - ב : none klavim dogs
כַּלְ ב ֵי הַ יּ ַלְ דּ ָה כ : beginning - ב : floating - י : strong - ד : resting kalvej hajjalda the girl's dogs

no: no strong Dagesch, no reason for easy Dagesch (neither beginning of word nor Schwa before it)

strong : strong Dagesch

Start: easy Dagesch because of the beginning of the word

dormant : light Dagesch after dormant Schwa

moved : no Dagesch after moved Schwa

floating : no Dagesch after floating Schwa

Dagesch after connecting accent, other strong Dagesch (Bible texts)

According to what has been said so far, there is never a strong Dagesch in the initial consonant of a word, but light always if this consonant is a Begadkefat. Both are unreservedly true for modern texts, but only for the traditional vocalization of the Bible if the preceding word has a separating accent . However, if the preceding word has a connecting accent and ends in a vowel, then both words are considered together and there are a few deviations for the initial consonant of the second word:

  • Light Dagesch does not come after a vowel, just as it does not come after a vowel within a word.
  • Strong Dagesch is often in the initial consonant of an accented word after the vowel -a (Qamaz and He) or -e (Segol and He), especially if it is unstressed.
  • In a number of rather rare special cases there is a strong Dagesch; they are discussed in detail at Gesenius.