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Phonemic representationj, i, e
Position in alphabet10
Numerical value10
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician
LatinI, J
CyrillicІ, Ј

Yodh (also spelled jodh, yod, or jod) is the tenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician yōd 𐤉, Hebrew yud י, Aramaic yod 𐡉, Syriac yōḏ ܝ, and Arabic yāʾ ي. Its sound value is /j/ in all languages for which it is used; in many languages, it also serves as a long vowel, representing //.[citation needed]

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Iota (Ι),[1] Latin I and J, Cyrillic І, Coptic iauda (Ⲓ) and Gothic eis .

The term yod is often used to refer to the speech sound [j], a palatal approximant, even in discussions of languages not written in Semitic abjads, as in phonological phenomena such as English "yod-dropping".


See full article: Proto-Sinaitic script

Yod originated from a hieroglyphic "hand", or *yad.

Arabic yāʼ

Writing systemArabic script
Language of originArabic language
Phonetic usage[j], []
Alphabetical position4
  • ي
Writing directionRight-to-left
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The letter ي is named yāʼ (يَاء). It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
ي ـي ـيـ يـ

It is pronounced in four ways:

As a vowel, yāʾ can serve as the "seat" of the hamza: ئ

Yāʾ serves several functions in the Arabic language. Yāʾ as a prefix is the marker for a singular imperfective verb, as in يَكْتُب yaktub "he writes" from the root ك-ت-ب K-T-B ("write, writing"). Yāʾ with a shadda is particularly used to turn a noun into an adjective, called a nisbah (نِسْبَة). For instance, مِصْر Miṣr (Egypt) → مِصْرِيّ Miṣriyy (Egyptian). The transformation can be more abstract; for instance, مَوْضَوع mawḍūʿ (matter, object) → مَوْضُوعِيّ mawḍūʿiyy (objective). Still other uses of this function can be a bit further from the root: اِشْتِرَاك ishtirāk (cooperation) → اِشْتِرَاكِيّ ishtirākiyy (socialist). The common pronunciation of the final /-ijj/ is most often pronounced as [i] or [iː].

A form similar to but distinguished from yāʾ is the ʾalif maqṣūrah (أَلِف مَقْصُورَة) "limited/restricted alif", with the form ى. It indicates a final long /aː/.

Alif maqṣūrah

Further information: Aleph § alif_maqsura

Perso-Arabic ye

In the Persian alphabet, the letter is generally called ye following Persian-language custom. In its final form, the letter does not have dots (ی), much like the Arabic Alif maqṣūrah or, more to the point, much like the custom in Egypt, Sudan and sometimes Maghreb. On account of this difference, Perso-Arabic ye is located at a different Unicode code point than both of the standard Arabic letters. In computers, the Persian version of the letter automatically appears with two dots initially and medially: (یـ ـیـ ـی).

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Naskh glyph form:
ی ـی ـیـ یـ
Nastaʿlīq glyph form: ی ــــی ــــیــــ یــــ

In Kashmiri, it uses a ring instead of dots below (ؠ) (ؠ ؠـ ـؠـ ـؠ).

Position in word Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form:
ؠ ـؠ ـؠـ ؠـ

Returned yāʾ

In different calligraphic styles like the Hijazi script, Kufic, and Nastaʿlīq script, a final yāʾ might have a particular shape with the descender turned to the right (ـے), called al-yāʾ al-mardūdah/al-rājiʿah ("returned, recurred yāʾ"),[2] either with two dots or without them.[3]

In Urdu this is called baṛī ye ("big ye"), but is an independent letter used for /ɛː, eː/ and differs from the basic ye (choṭī ye, "little ye"). For this reason the letter has its own code point in Unicode. Nevertheless, its initial and medial forms are not different from the other ye (practically baṛī ye is not used in these positions).

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Naskh glyph form:
ے ـے ـے ے
Nastaʿlīq glyph form: ے ــــے ــــے ے

Hebrew yod

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
י י י

Hebrew spelling: יוֹד ;[4][5] colloquial יוּד

The letter appears with or without a hook on different sans-serif fonts, for example


In both Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Yod represents a palatal approximant ([j]). As a mater lectionis, it represents the vowel [i]. At the end of words with a vowel or when it is marked with a sh'va nach, it represents the formation of a diphthong, such as /ei/, /ai/, or /oi/.


In gematria, Yod represents the number ten.

As a prefix, it designates the third person singular (or plural, with a Vav as a suffix) in the future tense.

As a suffix, it indicates first person singular possessive; av (father) becomes avi (my father).

"Yod" in Hebrew signifies iodine. Iodine is also called يود yod in Arabic.

In religion

Two Yods in a row designate the name of God Adonai and in pointed texts are written with the vowels of Adonai, which is done as well with the Tetragrammaton.

As Yod is the smallest letter, much kabbalistic and mystical significance is attached to it. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus mentioned it during the Antithesis of the Law, when he says: "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Jot, or iota, refers to the letter Yod; it was often overlooked by scribes because of its size and position as a mater lectionis. In Modern Hebrew, the phrase "tip of the Yod" refers to a small and insignificant thing, and someone who "worries about the tip of a Yod" is someone who is picky and meticulous about small details.

Much kabbalistic and mystical significance is also attached to it because of its gematria value as ten, which is an important number in Judaism, and its place in the name of God.[6]


In Yiddish,[7] the letter yod is used for several orthographic purposes in native words:

In traditional as well as in YIVO orthography, Loanwords from Hebrew or Aramaic in Yiddish are spelled as they are in their language of origin. In Soviet orthography, they are written phonetically like other Yiddish words.

Character encodings

Character information
Preview י ي ی ܝ
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 1497 U+05D9 1610 U+064A 1740 U+06CC 1821 U+071D 2057 U+0809
UTF-8 215 153 D7 99 217 138 D9 8A 219 140 DB 8C 220 157 DC 9D 224 160 137 E0 A0 89
Numeric character reference י י ي ي ی ی ܝ ܝ ࠉ ࠉ

Character information
Preview 𐎊 𐡉 𐤉
Encodings decimal hex dec hex dec hex
Unicode 66442 U+1038A 67657 U+10849 67849 U+10909
UTF-8 240 144 142 138 F0 90 8E 8A 240 144 161 137 F0 90 A1 89 240 144 164 137 F0 90 A4 89
UTF-16 55296 57226 D800 DF8A 55298 56393 D802 DC49 55298 56585 D802 DD09
Numeric character reference 𐎊 𐎊 𐡉 𐡉 𐤉 𐤉


  1. ^ Victor Parker, A History of Greece, 1300 to 30 BC, (John Wiley & Sons, 2014), 67.
  2. ^ Gacek, Adam (2008). The Arabic manuscript tradition: a glossary of technical terms and bibliography: supplement. Leiden: Brill. p. 29. ISBN 978-9004165403.
  3. ^ Yūsofī, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn (1990). "Calligraphy". Encyclopædia Iranica. Vol. IV. pp. 680–704.
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Weinreich, Uriel (1992). College Yiddish. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. pp. 27–8.