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This article is about the Semitic letter. Qoph_sentence_0

For the band, see Qoph (band). Qoph_sentence_1


← Tsade Qoph Resh →Qoph_header_cell_0_0_0
PhoenicianQoph_header_cell_0_1_0 Qoph_cell_0_1_1
HebrewQoph_header_cell_0_2_0 ק‎Qoph_cell_0_2_1
AramaicQoph_header_cell_0_3_0 Qoph_cell_0_3_1
SyriacQoph_header_cell_0_4_0 ܩQoph_cell_0_4_1
ArabicQoph_header_cell_0_5_0 قQoph_cell_0_5_1
Phonemic representationQoph_header_cell_0_6_0 q, g, ʔ, kQoph_cell_0_6_1
Position in alphabetQoph_header_cell_0_7_0 19Qoph_cell_0_7_1
Numerical valueQoph_header_cell_0_8_0 100Qoph_cell_0_8_1
Alphabetic derivatives of the PhoenicianQoph_header_cell_0_9_0
GreekQoph_header_cell_0_10_0 Ϙ (Ϟ), Φ?Qoph_cell_0_10_1
LatinQoph_header_cell_0_11_0 QQoph_cell_0_11_1
CyrillicQoph_header_cell_0_12_0 Ҁ, Ф?Qoph_cell_0_12_1

Qoph (Phoenician Qōp ) is the nineteenth letter of the Semitic abjads. Qoph_sentence_2

Aramaic Qop is derived from the Phoenician letter, and derivations from Aramaic include Hebrew Qof ק‎, Syriac Qōp̄ ܩ and Arabic Qāf ق. Qoph_sentence_3

Its original sound value was a West Semitic emphatic stop, presumably . Qoph_sentence_4

In Hebrew gematria, it has the numerical value of 100. Qoph_sentence_5

Origins Qoph_section_0

The origin of the glyph shape of qōp () is uncertain. Qoph_sentence_6

It is usually suggested to have originally depicted either a sewing needle, specifically the eye of a needle (Hebrew קוף and Aramaic קופא both refer to the eye of a needle), or the back of a head and neck (qāf in Arabic meant "nape"). Qoph_sentence_7

According to an older suggestion, it may also have been a picture of a monkey and its tail (the Hebrew קוף means "monkey"). Qoph_sentence_8

Besides Aramaic Qop, which gave rise to the letter in the Semitic abjads used in classical antiquity, Phoenician qōp is also the origin of the Latin letter Q and Greek Ϙ (qoppa) and Φ (phi). Qoph_sentence_9

Hebrew Qof Qoph_section_1

The Oxford Hebrew-English Dictionary transliterates the letter Qoph (קוֹף‎) as q or k; and, when word-final, it may be transliterated as ck. Qoph_sentence_10

The English spellings of Biblical names (as derived from Latin via Biblical Greek) containing this letter may represent it as c or k, e.g. Cain for Hebrew Qayin, or Kenan for Qena'an (Genesis 4:1, 5:9). Qoph_sentence_11


Orthographic variantsQoph_header_cell_1_0_0
Various print fontsQoph_header_cell_1_1_0 Cursive HebrewQoph_header_cell_1_1_3 Rashi scriptQoph_header_cell_1_1_4
SerifQoph_header_cell_1_2_0 Sans-serifQoph_header_cell_1_2_1 MonospacedQoph_header_cell_1_2_2
קQoph_cell_1_3_0 קQoph_cell_1_3_1 קQoph_cell_1_3_2 Qoph_cell_1_3_3 Qoph_cell_1_3_4

Pronunciation Qoph_section_2

In modern Israeli Hebrew the letter is also called kuf. Qoph_sentence_12

The letter represents /k/; i.e., no distinction is made between Qof and Kaph. Qoph_sentence_13

However, many historical groups have made that distinction, with Qof being pronounced q by Iraqi Jews and other Mizrahim, or even as ɡ by Yemenite Jews under the influence of Yemeni Arabic. Qoph_sentence_14

Qoph is consistently transliterated into classical Greek with the unaspirated 'k' /κ/, while Kaph (both it's allophones) is transliterated with the aspirated /χ/ [kʰ]. Qoph_sentence_15

Thus Quph was unaspirated [k] where Kaph was [kʰ], this distinction is no longer present. Qoph_sentence_16

Further we know that Qoph is one of the emphatic consonants through comparison with other semtic languages, and most likely was ejective [kʼ]. Qoph_sentence_17

In Arabic the emphatics are pharyngealised and this causes a preference for back vowels, this is not shown in Hebrew orthography. Qoph_sentence_18

Though the gutturals show a preference for certain vowels, Hebrew emphatics do not in Tiberian Hebrew (the Hebrew dialect recorded with vowels) and therefore were most likely not pharyngealised, but ejective. Qoph_sentence_19

Pharyngealisation being a result of Arabisation Qoph_sentence_20

Gematria Qoph_section_3

Qof in gematria represents the number 100. Qoph_sentence_21

Sarah is described in Genesis Rabba as בת ק' כבת כ' שנה לחטא‎, literally "At Qof years of age, she was like Kaph years of age in sin", meaning that when she was 100 years old, she was as sinless as when she was 20. Qoph_sentence_22

Arabic qāf Qoph_section_4

The Arabic letter ق is named قاف qāf. Qoph_sentence_23

It is written in several ways depending in its position in the word: Qoph_sentence_24


Position in word:Qoph_header_cell_2_0_0 IsolatedQoph_header_cell_2_0_1 FinalQoph_header_cell_2_0_2 MedialQoph_header_cell_2_0_3 InitialQoph_header_cell_2_0_4
Glyph form:


ق‎Qoph_cell_2_1_1 ـق‎Qoph_cell_2_1_2 ـقـ‎Qoph_cell_2_1_3 قـ‎Qoph_cell_2_1_4

It is usually transliterated into Latin script as q, though some scholarly works use ḳ. Qoph_sentence_25

Pronunciation Qoph_section_5

According to Sibawayh, author of the first book on Arabic grammar, the letter is pronounced voiced (maǧhūr), although some scholars argue, that Sibawayh's term maǧhūr implies lack of aspiration rather than voice. Qoph_sentence_26

As noted above, Modern Standard Arabic has the voiceless uvular plosive /q/ as its standard pronunciation of the letter, but dialectical pronunciations vary as follows: Qoph_sentence_27

The three main pronunciations: Qoph_sentence_28


  • q: in most of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, Southern and Western Yemen and parts of Oman, Northern Iraq, parts of the Levant (especially the Alawite and Druze dialects). In fact, it is so characteristic of the Alawites and the Druze that Levantines invented a verb "yqaqi" /jqæqi/ that means "speaking with a /q/". However, most other dialects of Arabic will use this pronunciation in learned words that are borrowed from Standard Arabic into the respective dialect or when Arabs speak Modern Standard Arabic.Qoph_item_0_0
  • ɡ: in most of the Arabian Peninsula, Northern and Eastern Yemen and parts of Oman, Southern Iraq, some parts of the Levant (within Jordan), Upper Egypt (Ṣaʿīd), Sudan, Libya, Mauritania and to lesser extent in some parts of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco but it is also used partially across those countries in some words.Qoph_item_0_1
  • ʔ: in most of the Levant and Egypt, as well as some North African towns such as Tlemcen and Fez.Qoph_item_0_2

Other pronunciations: Qoph_sentence_29


  • ɢ: In Sudanese and some forms of Yemeni, even in loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic or when speaking Modern Standard Arabic.Qoph_item_1_3
  • k: In rural Palestinian it is often pronounced as a voiceless velar plosive k, even in loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic or when speaking Modern Standard Arabic.Qoph_item_1_4

Marginal Pronunciations: Qoph_sentence_30


  • d͡z: In some positions in Najdi, though this pronunciation is fading in favor of ɡ.Qoph_item_2_5
  • d͡ʒ: Optionally in Iraqi and in Gulf Arabic, it is sometimes pronounced as a voiced postalveolar affricate d͡ʒ, even in loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic or when speaking Modern Standard Arabic.Qoph_item_2_6
  • ɣ ~ ʁ: in Sudanese and some Yemeni dialects (Yafi'i), and sometimes in Gulf Arabic by Persian influence, even in loanwords from Modern Standard Arabic or when speaking Modern Standard Arabic.Qoph_item_2_7

Velar gāf Qoph_section_6

It is not well known when the pronunciation of Qāf ⟨ق⟩ as a velar [ɡ] occurred or the probability of it being connected to the pronunciation of Jīmج⟩ as an affricate [d͡ʒ], but in most of the Arabian peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE and parts of Yemen and Oman) which is the homeland of the Arabic language, the ⟨ج⟩ represents a [d͡ʒ] and ⟨ق⟩ represents a [ɡ], except in western and southern Yemen and parts of Oman where ⟨ج⟩ represents a [ɡ] and ⟨ق⟩ represents a [q], which shows a strong correlation between the palatalization of ⟨ج⟩ to [d͡ʒ] and the pronunciation of the ⟨ق⟩ as a [ɡ] as shown in the table below: Qoph_sentence_31


Language / DialectsQoph_header_cell_3_0_0 Pronunciation of the lettersQoph_header_cell_3_0_1
جQoph_header_cell_3_1_0 قQoph_header_cell_3_1_1
Proto-SemiticQoph_cell_3_2_0 gQoph_cell_3_2_1 Qoph_cell_3_2_2
Parts of Southern ArabiaQoph_cell_3_3_0 gQoph_cell_3_3_1 qQoph_cell_3_3_2
Most of the Arabian PeninsulaQoph_cell_3_4_0 d͡ʒQoph_cell_3_4_1 gQoph_cell_3_4_2
Modern Standard ArabicQoph_cell_3_5_0 d͡ʒQoph_cell_3_5_1 qQoph_cell_3_5_2

Notes: Qoph_sentence_32


  1. Western and southern Yemen and parts of Oman.Qoph_item_3_8
  2. [ʒ] can be an allophone in some dialects.Qoph_item_3_9

[[File:Maghribi script sura 5.jpg|195px|thumb|right|The Maghribi text renders qāf and fāʼ differently than elsewhere would: {{align|right| {{script/Arabic|منكم فقد ضل سواء السبيل فبما نقضهم ميثـٰـقهم لعنـٰـهم وجعلنا قلوبهم قـٰـسية يحرفون الك؛پي فك شفره أن، Qoph_sentence_33

Maghrebi variant Qoph_section_7

The Maghrebi style of writing qāf is different: having only a single point (dot) above; when the letter is isolated or word-final, it may sometimes become unpointed. Qoph_sentence_34


The Maghrebi qāfQoph_table_caption_4
Position in word:Qoph_cell_4_0_0 IsolatedQoph_header_cell_4_0_1 FinalQoph_header_cell_4_0_2 MedialQoph_header_cell_4_0_3 InitialQoph_header_cell_4_0_4
Form of letter:Qoph_cell_4_1_0 ڧ‎




ـڧـ‎Qoph_cell_4_1_3 ڧـ‎Qoph_cell_4_1_4

The earliest Arabic manuscripts show qāf in several variants: pointed (above or below) or unpointed. Qoph_sentence_35

Then the prevalent convention was having a point above for qāf and a point below for fāʼ; this practice is now only preserved in manuscripts from the Maghribi, with the exception of Libya and Algeria, where the Mashriqi form (two dots above: ق) prevails. Qoph_sentence_36

Within Maghribi texts, there is no possibility of confusing it with the letter fāʼ, as it is instead written with a dot underneath (ڢ‎) in the Maghribi script. Qoph_sentence_37

Unicode Qoph_section_8


Character informationQoph_table_caption_5
PreviewQoph_header_cell_5_0_0 קQoph_header_cell_5_0_1 قQoph_header_cell_5_0_3 ܩQoph_header_cell_5_0_5 Qoph_header_cell_5_0_7
Unicode nameQoph_cell_5_1_0 HEBREW LETTER QOFQoph_cell_5_1_1 ARABIC LETTER QAFQoph_cell_5_1_3 SYRIAC LETTER QAPHQoph_cell_5_1_5 SAMARITAN LETTER QUFQoph_cell_5_1_7
EncodingsQoph_header_cell_5_2_0 decimalQoph_header_cell_5_2_1 hexQoph_header_cell_5_2_2 decimalQoph_header_cell_5_2_3 hexQoph_header_cell_5_2_4 decimalQoph_header_cell_5_2_5 hexQoph_header_cell_5_2_6 decimalQoph_header_cell_5_2_7 hexQoph_header_cell_5_2_8
UnicodeQoph_cell_5_3_0 1511Qoph_cell_5_3_1 U+05E7Qoph_cell_5_3_2 1602Qoph_cell_5_3_3 U+0642Qoph_cell_5_3_4 1833Qoph_cell_5_3_5 U+0729Qoph_cell_5_3_6 2066Qoph_cell_5_3_7 U+0812Qoph_cell_5_3_8
UTF-8Qoph_cell_5_4_0 215 167Qoph_cell_5_4_1 D7 A7Qoph_cell_5_4_2 217 130Qoph_cell_5_4_3 D9 82Qoph_cell_5_4_4 220 169Qoph_cell_5_4_5 DC A9Qoph_cell_5_4_6 224 160 146Qoph_cell_5_4_7 E0 A0 92Qoph_cell_5_4_8
Numeric character referenceQoph_cell_5_5_0 קQoph_cell_5_5_1 קQoph_cell_5_5_2 قQoph_cell_5_5_3 قQoph_cell_5_5_4 ܩQoph_cell_5_5_5 ܩQoph_cell_5_5_6 Qoph_cell_5_5_7 Qoph_cell_5_5_8


Character informationQoph_table_caption_6
PreviewQoph_header_cell_6_0_0 𐎖Qoph_header_cell_6_0_1 𐡒Qoph_header_cell_6_0_3 𐤒Qoph_header_cell_6_0_5
Unicode nameQoph_cell_6_1_0 UGARITIC LETTER QOPAQoph_cell_6_1_1 IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER QOPHQoph_cell_6_1_3 PHOENICIAN LETTER QOFQoph_cell_6_1_5
EncodingsQoph_header_cell_6_2_0 decimalQoph_header_cell_6_2_1 hexQoph_header_cell_6_2_2 decimalQoph_header_cell_6_2_3 hexQoph_header_cell_6_2_4 decimalQoph_header_cell_6_2_5 hexQoph_header_cell_6_2_6
UnicodeQoph_cell_6_3_0 66454Qoph_cell_6_3_1 U+10396Qoph_cell_6_3_2 67666Qoph_cell_6_3_3 U+10852Qoph_cell_6_3_4 67858Qoph_cell_6_3_5 U+10912Qoph_cell_6_3_6
UTF-8Qoph_cell_6_4_0 240 144 142 150Qoph_cell_6_4_1 F0 90 8E 96Qoph_cell_6_4_2 240 144 161 146Qoph_cell_6_4_3 F0 90 A1 92Qoph_cell_6_4_4 240 144 164 146Qoph_cell_6_4_5 F0 90 A4 92Qoph_cell_6_4_6
UTF-16Qoph_cell_6_5_0 55296 57238Qoph_cell_6_5_1 D800 DF96Qoph_cell_6_5_2 55298 56402Qoph_cell_6_5_3 D802 DC52Qoph_cell_6_5_4 55298 56594Qoph_cell_6_5_5 D802 DD12Qoph_cell_6_5_6
Numeric character referenceQoph_cell_6_6_0 𐎖Qoph_cell_6_6_1 𐎖Qoph_cell_6_6_2 𐡒Qoph_cell_6_6_3 𐡒Qoph_cell_6_6_4 𐤒Qoph_cell_6_6_5 𐤒Qoph_cell_6_6_6

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qoph.