The Yiddish language is written using Hebrew script as the basis of a full vocalic alphabet. This adaptation uses letters that are silent or glottal stops in Hebrew, as vowels in Yiddish. Other letters that can serve as both vowels and consonants are either read as appropriate to the context in which they appear, or are differentiated by diacritical marks derived from the Hebrew nikud, and commonly referred to as "points". Additional phonetic distinctions between letters that share the same base character are also indicated by pointing, or by the adjacent placement of otherwise silent base characters. Several Yiddish points are not commonly used in any present-day Hebrew context and others are used in a manner that is specific to Yiddish orthography. There is significant variation in the way this is applied in literary practice. There are also several differing approaches to the disambiguation of characters that can be used as either vowels or consonants.
Words of Aramaic and Hebrew origin are normally written in the traditional consonant-based orthographies of the source languages. All other Yiddish vocabulary is represented with a phonemic orthography. Both can appear in a single word, for example, where a Yiddish affix is applied to a Hebrew stem. Yiddish pointing may also be applied to words that are otherwise written entirely with traditional orthography.
Please note: The correct display of some text in this article requires fonts with full support for the pointed characters in the Yiddish alphabet, plus the International Phonetic Alphabet. Additional display issues may be observed and are explained under the heading Computerized Text Production, below.
Read more about Yiddish Orthography: Early 20th Century Reform, Transliteration, Transcription, The Yiddish Alphabet, Standard Yiddish Orthography, Common Variation, Graphic Innovation, Computerized Text Production
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