Samekh
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Samekh
Samekh
Phonemic representations
Position in alphabet15
Numerical value60
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Samekh (Phoenician s?mek ? ; Hebrew samekh , Syriac semka?) is the fifteenth letter the Semitic abjads, including the Hebrew alphabet.

Samekh represents a voiceless alveolar fricative . Unlike most Semitic consonants, the pronunciation of /s/ remains constant between vowels and before voiced consonants.

The numerical value of samekh is 60. The letter has no continuant in the Arabic alphabet, its numerical value is taken by Arabic n.

History

The Phoenician letter may continue a glyph from the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, either based on a hieroglyph for a tent peg or support, possibly the djed "pillar" hieroglyph[1] (c.f. Hebrew s'mikhah , Syriac semka ? "support").

The shape of samek undergoes complicated developments. In archaic scripts, the vertical stroke can be drawn either across or below the three horizontal strokes. The closed form of Hebrew samek is developed only in the Hasmonean period.[2]

Phoenician/Paleo-Hebrew
(c. 800 BC)
Samaritan
(c. 400 BC)
Imperial Aramaic
(c. 400 BC)
Hebrew
(from ca. 50 BC)
Phoenician samekh.svg Moabite samek.svg ? Samekh.svg The Sefaria Project.svg


The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek xi (?),[3] whereas its name may also be reflected in the name of the otherwise unrelated Greek letter sigma.[4]

The archaic "grid" shape of Western Greek xi (Greek Xi archaic grid.svg) was adopted in the early Etruscan alphabet (? esh), but was never included in the Latin alphabet.

Syriac semkat

The Syriac letter semka? ? develops from the Imperial Aramaic "hook" shape ? into a rounded form by the 1st century. The Old Syriac form further develops into a connected cursive both in the Eastern and Western script variants.

Aramaic Old Syriac Eastern Western
Samekh.svg Syriac Estrangela semkat.svg Syriac Eastern semkat.svg Syriac Serta semkat.svg

Hebrew samekh

Hebrew samekh develops a closed cursive form in the middle Hasmonean period (1st century BC). This becomes the standard form in early Herodian hands.[2]

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
? ? ? Hebrew letter Samekh handwriting.svg Samekh (Rashi-script - Hebrew letter).svg

Talmudic legend

In Talmudic legend, samekh is said to have been a miracle of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 32:15 records that the tablets "were written on both their sides." The Jerusalem Talmud interprets this as meaning that the inscription went through the full thickness of the tablets. The stone in the center parts of the letters ayin and teth should have fallen out, as it was not connected to the rest of the tablet, but it miraculously remained in place. The Babylonian Talmud (tractate Shabbat 104a) also cites the opinion that these closed letters included samekh, attributed to Rav Chisda (d. ca. 320).[5]


Character encodings

Character ס ܣ ܤ
Unicode name HEBREW LETTER SAMEKH SYRIAC LETTER SEMKATH SYRIAC LETTER FINAL SEMKATH SAMARITAN LETTER SINGAAT
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1505 U+05E1 1827 U+0723 1828 U+0724 2062 U+080E
UTF-8 215 161 D7 A1 220 163 DC A3 220 164 DC A4 224 160 142 E0 A0 8E
Numeric character reference ס ס ܣ ܣ ܤ ܤ ࠎ ࠎ
Character 𐎒 𐡎 𐤎
Unicode name UGARITIC LETTER SAMKA IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER SAMEKH PHOENICIAN LETTER SEMKA
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66450 U+10392 67662 U+1084E 67854 U+1090E
UTF-8 240 144 142 146 F0 90 8E 92 240 144 161 142 F0 90 A1 8E 240 144 164 142 F0 90 A4 8E
UTF-16 55296 57234 D800 DF92 55298 56398 D802 DC4E 55298 56590 D802 DD0E
Numeric character reference 𐎒 𐎒 𐡎 𐡎 𐤎 𐤎

References

  1. ^ Betro, M. C. (1996). Hieroglyphics. Abbeyville Press, NY, p. 209.
  2. ^ a b Frank Moore Cross, Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (2018), p. 30.
  3. ^ Muss-Arnolt, W. (1892). On Semitic Words in Greek and Latin. Transactions of the American Philological Association v. 23, p. 35-156. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  4. ^ Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon. pp. 25-27.
  5. ^ The William Davidson Talmud , Shabbat 104a.

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