Pe (Semitic letter)

Pe is the seventeenth letter of the Semitic abjads, including PhoenicianPhoenician pe.svg, Hebrewפ, AramaicPe0.svg, Syriacܦ, and Arabic Fāʼ ف (in abjadi order).

The original sound value is a voiceless bilabial plosive: /p/; it retains this value in most Semitic languages, except for Arabic, where the sound /p/ changed into the voiceless labiodental fricative /f/, carrying with it the pronunciation of the letter.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Pi (Π), Latin P, and Cyrillic П.

The Hebrew spelling is פֵּא. It is also romanized pei or pey, especially when used in Yiddish.[1][2]

The letter Pe is one of the six letters which can receive a Dagesh Kal. The six are Bet, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, and Tav.

A notable variation on the letter Pe is the Pe Kefulah, "Doubled Pe". The Pe Kefulah is written as a small Pe scribed within a larger Pe. This atypical letter appears in Torah scrolls (most often Yemenite Torahs[3] but is also present in Sephardic and Ashkenazi Torahs), manuscripts, and some modern printed Hebrew Bibles. When the Pe is written in the form of a Doubled Pe, this adds a layer of deeper meaning to the Biblical text.[4] This letter variation can appear on the final and non-final forms of the Pe.

There are two orthographic variants of this letter which indicate a different pronunciation:

When the Pe has a "dot" in its center, known as a dagesh, it represents a voiceless bilabial plosive, /p/. There are various rules in Hebrew grammar that stipulate when and why a dagesh is used.

When Pe appears without the dagesh dot in its center (פ), then it usually represents a voiceless labiodental fricative /f/.

At the end of words, the letter's written form changes to a Pe/Fe Sophit (Final Pe/Fe): ף.

When a word in modern Hebrew borrowed from another language ends with /p/, the non-final form is used (e.g. ּפִילִיפ /ˈfilip/ "Philip"), while borrowings ending in /f/ still use the Pe Sofit (e.g. כֵּיף /kef/ "fun", from Arabic). This is because native Hebrew words, which always use the final form at the end, cannot end in /p/.

In gematria, Pe represents the number 80. Its final form represents 800 but this is rarely used, Tav written twice (400+400) being used instead.

The letter ف is named فاء fāʾ. It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

In the process of developing from Proto-Semitic, Proto-Semitic /p/ became Arabic /f/, and this is reflected in the use of the letter representing /p/ in other Semitic languages for /f/ in Arabic.

In Maghrebi scripts, the i'ajami dot in fāʼ has traditionally been written underneath (ڢ). Once the prevalent style, it is now mostly used in countries of the Maghreb in ceremonial situations or for writing Qur'an, with the exception of Libya and Algeria, which adopted the Mashriqi form (dot above).

The Maghrebi alphabet, to write qāf (ق), a letter that resembles fā’ (ف) in the initial and medial forms is used, but it is really a qāf with a single dot (ڧ‎).

In the Arabic orthographies of Uyghur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz, the letter fā’ has a descender in the final and isolated positions, much like the Maghrebi version of qāf.[5][6]

Theoretically this shape could be approximated by using U+06A7 ڧ ARABIC LETTER QAF WITH DOT ABOVE, but in practice U+0641 ف ARABIC LETTER FEH is used in databases of these languages, and most commercial fonts for these languages give the codepoint of the usual Arabic fā’ a shape like ڧ‎.

When the Uyghur keyboard layout for Microsoft Windows was first added in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the key combination ⇧ Shift+F resulted in U+06A7 ڧ .[7] The Uyghur keyboard layout in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 changed that key combination to give U+0641 ف .[8] On the newer systems, the old keyboard layout is still available under the name Uyghur (Legacy).

Normally, the letter ف fāʼ renders /f/ sound, but may also be used some names and loanwords where it can render /v/, might be arabized as /f/ in accordance to its spelling, e.g., يُونِيلِفِر (Unilever). It may be used interchangeably with the modified letter ڤ - ve (with 3 dots above) in this case.

The Maghrebi style, used in Northwestern Africa, the dots moved underneath (Unicode U+06A5), because it is based on the other style of fāʼ ( ڢ):