INTRODUCTION



0.0 This Standard is the third of the 259 Standard series that deals with the conversion of Hebrew characters into Latin characters.

0.1 ISO 259 and ISO 259-2 standards basically deal with the conversion of pointed Hebrew script. The Standard ISO 259 provides a complete alternative for the vowel signs while Standard ISO 259-2 (being a simplified conversion) disregards several vowel signs and provides one sign in the Latin script for two different signs in the Hebrew script. For example, and represented, according to ISO 259-2, by the same sign M; also the vowels qamac(), patax(-) and xataf-patax() are represented by a, etc., while in ISO 259, each of these signs are represented singularly: m, , , a, , respectively.

0.2 However, the non-pointed script is the method mostly used in modern Hebrew. Daily newspapers, weeklys, monthlys and other journals as well as fiction or scientific and popular books are all published in non-pointed script while the pointed script serves mainly poetry, prayer-books and children's literature. Some exceptions where the non-pointed script is used may be found even here. Pointed script is rather phonetic, thus contains much redundancy, while non-pointed script lacks essential ingredients of the words.

0.3 Mechanical transliteration of the characters in non-pointed script into Latin characters does not help a reader who does not know Hebrew and is a heavy burden on a reader who does not know it.

0.4 The conversion system of this Standard is based upon the transliteration approach (as it is explained in ISO 259-2:1994(E), clause 2.2 or ISO 259 1984(E), clause 0.2.1.2) but it is not a mechanical transfer of the given signs in the pointed Hebrew script to signs in Latin characters nor of the signs in the non-pointed script.

0.5 The basis for conversion according to this Standard is the structure of the Hebrew word and not the manner in which it is written in one of the Hebrew script systems.

0.6 Therefore, even though this Standard provides a solution mainly for conversion of non-pointed script, it is in compliance with all the types of Hebrew script, both pointed, quasi-pointed and non-pointed script.

0.7 In figure 1 (next page) we give all approaches to the connections between a word and the ways in which to write it. Our approach (259-3) can be seen as a circumvention of the tedious problems which stem from the various realizations of the language in the various methods of writing.