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Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/11. Other Signs which affect the Reading

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§11. Other Signs which affect the Reading.

Very closely connected with the vowel points are the reading-signs, which were probably introduced at the same time. Besides the diacritical point over שׂ and שׁ, a point is placed within a consonant to show that it has a stronger sound. On the other hand a horizontal stroke (Rāphè) over a consonant is a sign that it has not the stronger sound. According to the different purposes for which it is used the point is either (1) Dageš forte, a sign of strengthening (§12); or (2) Dageš lene, a sign of the harder pronunciation of certain consonants (§13); or (3) Mappîq, a sign to bring out the full consonantal value of letters which otherwise serve as vowel letters (§7b), especially in the case of ה at the end of the word (§14a). The Rāphè, which excludes the insertion of any of these points, has almost entirely gone out of use in our printed texts (§14e).