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There appears to be three different numbering commands in the polyglossia package. Which one is the most correct to use?

I can understand the argument for the \Hebrewnumeralfinal one since it seems correct to have the final letters show appropriately. But there is also a difference in the way that the other two commands generate a numeral, which is a bit confusing to me.

If there are any Hebrew native speaking TeX.SX members, I would appreciate your input.

This is a MWE.

% !TEX TS-program = XeLaTeX


\setmainfont{Times New Roman}


ελληνικά \greeknumeral{1863}

Hebrew: עִבְרִית\\
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The difference between \hebrewnumeral and \Hebrewnumeral is whether or not the "gershayim" are included - these are the marks that look like a double quotation mark and appear before the last character. They're used, broadly speaking, to indicate that a set of several letters is not an ordinary word (e.g., it's a number or an acronym). Whether you want them may depend on the context in which you're printing the number, but I would advise using them (and therefore the \H version) in most contexts.

More information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gershayim .

(Disclaimer: my Hebrew is decent but I'm not a native speaker.)

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Thanks @Ant, that explains it good enough. –  McGafter Sep 16 '11 at 11:22
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To elaborate on Ant's answer:

Hebrew numbers are rarely written using the final forms of letters; 120 is much more commonly expressed as ק"כ than ק"ך. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rather esoteric, so I wouldn't worry about them.

As to when the gershayim are used, this typically depends on custom and context. Where it is clear that what's being presented is a number, they are quite often excluded. Numbered chapter headings, for example, are usually written without them, and often the date (of the month), although years are almost always written with:

פרק יא

כג תשרי תשע"ב

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Thanks Aryeh for the clarification - I wasn't aware that gershayim can be omitted in the cases you mention. To annotate for the benefit of non-Hebrew readers who might be idly browsing this question: these two examples are "Chapter 11", where 11 = יא has no gershayim, and "23 Tishrei 5772" - today! - where 23 = כג has no gershayim but (5)772 = תשע"ב does. –  Ant Oct 20 '11 at 22:44
Thanks guys. I will mostly use it on the basis of a chapter and verse model as appears in the Tanakh. I will keep your advice in mind though for any future Hebrew projects. –  McGafter Oct 21 '11 at 8:03
@AryehLeibTaurog: Actually, I don't think it's that esoteric. These forms have their place sometimes... especially when the word, taken not as a number, has a meaning of its own. –  einpoklum Jan 27 '12 at 22:44
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