How to pronounce התנ״ך (Tanakh in Hebrew)

How to pronounce התנ״ך (Tanakh in Hebrew)

So I started learning Hebrew.

In my excitement I installed an assortment of apps from which to learn and practice.  One of them is the Bible in Hebrew (as it’s ultimately my goal in learning Hebrew to be able to read the Bible in its original language.)  The app is called Hebrew Bible but on my phone it appears as התנ״ך.

As of earlier this afternoon, my Hebrew skills allowed me to sound out ha-ta-na-[something that looks like quotation marks]-kha.  For some odd reason it was driving me absolutely crazy that I didn’t know what those two quotation marks meant.  I had just started learning the letters within the last few days and hadn’t bothered learning all the vowel marks.  Were they two י (yodh)s??  Two “ee” sounds??  Did that turn it into an “ai” then??  So now it’s ha-ta-nai-kha??

After googling “hatanaikha hebrew” and as many spelling variations as I could to no avail, google was finally like, Did you mean: tanakh hebrew?

I hadn’t heard the word “tanakh” before so I checked into it and it turns out it is the canon of the Hebrew Bible.  Fun fact: it is actually an acronym for its three books: the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim.  I was also able to confirm that somehow התנ״ך is pronounced tanakh.  But what’s with the ה in front?  (Hebrew is read right to left for anyone extremely confused right now.)  And how do the quotation marks make an “ah” sound?  Couldn’t they be done without?

More googling.  “Hebrew quotation marks” and variations thereof eventually led me to this amazing discovery:

The gershayim״⟩, is a Hebrew symbol symbolizing that a sequence of characters is an acronym, and is placed before the last character of the word.

I instantly remembered that fun fact I had discovered earlier and this sentence gave me all the rest I needed to know.

Except there’s still a “ha” in the front!  What is this??  Oh well, I gave up.

A few hours later I was going through some hebrew lessons on youtube and I got to this lesson which answered the remaining question!

Mystery solved!  But gosh, it was difficult to come to this answer.  I imagine there must be other people who decide to learn Hebrew, happen to install the same app, see the title, and are confused.  Only to google it and find nothing.  So, friends, I decided to write the answer here in my very own little corner of the internet.

If you are someone who happened to google this question and came across this blog post, please let me know in the comments!