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YOD (Heb. י; יוֹד, יוּד), the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; its numerical value is therefore 10. The Proto-Canaanite form of this letter was a stylized pictograph of a hand (= yad) with forearm , . In the 11th and 10th centuries b.c.e., the yod developed into which basically did not change in the Hebrew (, , ), Samaritan (), and Phoenician (, ) scripts. However, the Aramaic cursive reduced it as follows: → → → and in the fourth and third centuries b.c.e. two variants evolved. One resembles the numeral "2" and the other has an inverted-v form . While the Nabatean developed the 2-shaped yod (which turned into the Arabic ya ), the Jewish script adopted the inverted-v shape and preserved the small size of the letter ( → ), so it could be distinguished from the longer waw. From the old Phoenician yod, the Greek iota and the Latin "I" developed. See *Alphabet, Hebrew.

[Joseph Naveh]

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