Niqqud (נִקּוּד), or nikkud, is the standard Hebrew vowel system. However, it is rarely used except in specialized texts such as children's books, educational materials, prayers, poetry, and cases of ambiguity.
Generally, the weak consonants (א alef
, ה he
, ו vav
and י yud
) are used to denote vowels.
Modern Israeli Hebrew has five vowel phonemes /i e a o u/. However there exists more niqqud characters than that, meaning some vowels are repeated.
Niqqud was originally developed to teach the proper pronuncations of prayers in chants.