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|Phonemic representation||l, ɫ|
|Position in alphabet||12|
|Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician|
The letter is usually considered to have originated from the representation of an ox-goad, i.e. a cattle prod, or a shepherd's crook, i.e. a pastoral staff. In Proto-Semitic a goad was called *lamed-.
|Various print fonts||Cursive
Hebrew spelling: לָמֶד
Lamed in gematria represents the number 30.
As an abbreviation, it can stand for litre. Also, a sign on a car with a Lamed on it means that the driver is a student of driving (the Lamed stands for lomed, learner). It is also used as the Electoral symbol for the Yisrael Beiteinu party.
As a prefix, it can have two purposes:
- It can be attached to verb roots, designating the infinitive (Daber means "speak", Ledaber means to speak).
- It can also act as a preposition meaning "to" or "for".
The letter is named lām, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:
|Position in word||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
Some examples on its uses in Modern Standard Arabic. (Normally, diacritics are not written):
Lām is used as a prefix in two different ways. Lām-kasra (لـِ, /li/) is essentially a preposition meaning 'to' or 'for', as in لِوالدي liwālidī, 'for my father'. In this usage, it has become concatenated with other words to form new constructions often treated as independent words: for instance, لِماذا limāḏā, meaning 'why?', is derived from لـِ li and ماذا māḏā, meaning 'what?' thus getting 'for what?'. A semantically equivalent construction is found in most Romance languages, e.g. French pourquoi, Spanish por qué, and Italian perché (though ché is an archaism and not in current use).
The other construction, lām-fatḥa (لَـ /la/) is used as an emphatic particle in very formal Arabic and in certain fixed constructions, such as لَقد laqad (itself an emphatic particle for past-tense verbs) and in the conditional structure لو...لَـ law...la, effectively one of the forms of 'if...then...'.
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER LAMED||ARABIC LETTER LAM||SYRIAC LETTER LAMADH||SAMARITAN LETTER LABAT|
|UTF-8||215 156||D7 9C||217 132||D9 84||220 160||DC A0||224 160 139||E0 A0 8B|
|Numeric character reference||ל
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER LAMDA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER LAMEDH||PHOENICIAN LETTER LEMDA|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 141||F0 90 8E 8D||240 144 161 139||F0 90 A1 8B||240 144 164 139||F0 90 A4 8B|
|UTF-16||55296 57229||D800 DF8D||55298 56395||D802 DC4B||55298 56587||D802 DD0B|
|Numeric character reference||𐎍