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What are the Accents? (Tea'mim - Cantillations) | Biblical Hebrew Q&A with eTeacherBiblical

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Published on May 29, 2011

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In the printed editions of the Hebrew Tanakh there are about 26 different signs that appear above and below the Hebrew words. These signs are known in Hebrew as Tea'mim. It indicates "stress/accent," and also "tune/melody."
The accents were developed around 600s-900s C.E.
The accents have three roles:
1. Marking the musical intonations for the liturgical reader of the biblical text
2. Marking the accented syllable of the word
3. Marking the syntactic relationship between words (like the comma, period, etc. in the modern writing system


Genesis 1-3
1: בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
2 וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃
3 וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י א֑וֹר וַֽיְהִי־אֽוֹר׃

Genesis 1:1-3
1.. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
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