Even later, a system of vowel points to indicate vowels (diacritics), called niqqud, was developed.
Throughout history, there have been two main systems of Hebrew spelling. One being vocalized spelling, also called 'defective' spelling, and ther other being unvocalized spelling, also called 'plene' spelling.
In vocalized spelling (ktiv menukad), all of the vowels are indicated by vowel points (called niqqud). In unvocalized spelling (ktiv male), the vowel points are omitted, but some of them are substituted by additional vowel letters (Vav and Yud). This system is the spelling system commonly used in Israel today.
Rules for unvocalized spelling were first issued by the Hebrew Language Committee in 1890 (which became the Academy of the Hebrew Language in 1953), was formally standardised in 1996. Even though the rules are established, some of the rules and specific spellings are disputed by writers and publishers, who often create their own in-house spelling system. Also, because having two spelling systems within the same language is confusing, some would like to reform it. In 2004, Mordechai Mishor , one of the academy's linguists, proposed in a session of the Academy of the Hebrew Language a modest reform.
|Word||Ktiv haser||Ktiv menukad||Ktiv male|
In practice, many times two or more spelling systems are used in one text. The most common example of this is a word may be vowelized (using niqqud, the "dots") partially, for instance with אוֹמץ, where only the vav is vowelized. This clarifies that the vowel is an "o" and not "u" (). In addition, 3 letters (historically 6), can take a different sound depending on if there is a dot (called a dagesh) in the middle of the letter (a bet, kaf, and pei). In full spelling, the dot is not included, regardless if it is making one sound or the other. An example when a mixture of systems would be used is to clarify when the letter is taking a dagesh. An example of this, is in the picture to the right, where for the word kosher (Hebrew: כָּשֵׁר (with niqqud), כשר (full spelling), kasher) may be writted as כּשר (a mixture of the two systems) to be unambiguous that it is the letter כּ (IPA: /k/) and not כ (IPA: /x/). Words may be writen in ktiv haser ("missing spelling") if its unambiguous and clear enough (ex. חנכה (Hanukah) instead of the "full" form חנוכה). In this case, the reader deciphers the word mostly by its context.
Also, some words are almost always written in the "missing" form (ktiv haser) in everyday life: לא ("lo", no), אמא ("ima", mother), אם ("im", if), and כנרת ("Kinneret").