The Syriac vowel ptaha.


I. In addition to the vowel zqafa and the combination zqafa-alaf ,the vowel [a] can be indicated with the vowel ptaha which has the following form:

As you can clearly see, this vocalization schematically reproduces the letter A of the Greek alphabet.

II. The ptaha diacritic marks the [а] sound which was a short vowel at an earlier stage of the language. Classical Syriac had no distinction between short and long vowels. So the diacritics ptaha and zqofo mark the same sound-[a].

A general rule to remember is that closed syllables- those ending in a consonant take a ptaha while open syllables- those ending in a vowel take a zqafa.

A syllable in Syriac cannot have more than one vowel and cannot begin with more than two consonants.

For example in the word bav-ga, the first syllable is closed and therefore ptaha is used. The second syllable is open so the [a] sound is marked with a zqafa.


In some words , loanwords mainly an alaf is used after ptaha as in the word Bagdad.


Read also
Forms of Alaph


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