Authors: Raphiq Ibrahim, Learning Disabilities Department, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Abstract: Before focusing on the vowelization system in Arabic and Hebrew, a theoretical background will be presented about vowels in alphabetic writing systems in general. When the first alphabet was created a few thousand years ago, it contained only consonants—no vowels at all (Shimron 1993). Vowels were added 1,000 years later by the Greeks. The main consideration behind this addition was to represent spoken words in a more comprehensive manner in consonantal homographs, and also to represent phonemes of the spoken words more completely (Shimron 1993). Vowels can strengthen the graphemes-phonemes relationship but can never make it perfect, because the relation between the latter and the sound is not always one-on-one. A letter by itself may represent more than one sound just as one sound can represent more than one specific letter (e.g. Taylor 1980).