You are here:

Hebrew Language/Diphthong pronunciation


I am having trouble figuring out how to pronounce the diphthong "ay".  Yod with a preceeding Qamats, and Yod with a preceeding Patach.  

I think that the issue is reflecting how the "ai" is pronounced since there are many ways in English to say it.

Example:  Shaddai (Dalet (Qamats) Yod):  as in "buy"
However, Panav (Nun Patach Yod) seems to be as if the Y wasn't there.  Panav as in "Fav-a" bean.

Accurate transliteration seems to be a problem.  Can you help me with (a)Y?  Thanks, Steve


Let me add one more word to your examples: Panav ("His countenance") Pey qamatz Nun patach Vav.

So we have:

Shaddai: No comment. You've got it right.

Panai: The first 'a' is short, due to the qamatz. The 2nd 'a' is long, due to the patach. Think 'Lannai'.

Panav: Here the Yod is silent, non-existent. Other than that, it's the same as the previous word: short 'a' followed by a long 'a'.

Also, keep in mind that Hebrew is a phonetic language. That means that the sound of 'a' is always AH.
All the best,


Hebrew Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ask the Rabbi


What I don't do: NO NAME TRANSLATIONS. For that, try

What I do: I'll help you understand Hebrew phrases or single words, as well as answer questions about Jewish customs and practices.

You may also try the Gooogle English-Hebrew translator, at


I am a columnist for a Hebrew-language newspaper, and a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

D.Med MBA BA in the US, Grade school and high school in Israel

©2016 All rights reserved.