Ma'aney: Great sheilah, and I have a ma'aney! For those who don't know, or need a refresher: the "sound alike letters" are:
ע, א aleph and ayin, Which are basically "silent" to most English speakers, although a glottal stop is on the aleph and there is a very throaty/airy gh sound on the ayin that most people don't try to reproduce anymore.
ב ,ו vet and vav, which have a v sound as in "vine or very". (this is the ב WITHOUT the dot (dagesh) inside of it. )
ח ,כ khaf and chet, which both have a throaty choking sound. Think: "'ch' in Bach". It is tricky for most English speakers to make this sound. It's kind of like gargrling. Note: this is the כ WITHOUT the dot (dagesh) inside of it.
כ ,ק qof and kaf, each have the sound of the letter "k" in English, as in "king". Note that this is the כ WITH the dagesh.
ס ,ש sin and samach have an "s" sound, as in "sing!". Remember, ש with a dot over the left is sin. The ש with a dot over the RIGHT is a shin, making "sh" sound.
Finally, ט ,ת tav and tet have the letter "t" sound, as in "tale"
Wow! That's a LOT to remember. Let's see if I can help make it easier. To remember how to spell Hebrew words when there are so many letters with the same sound, we need to attach a mnemonic, memory trick, to each letter. Then, when you think of your Hebrew word, you associate this little trick in a cute, silly, mind picture. You have seen me do this in other blog posts.
ע, ayin means "eye" in Hebrew.
א aleph we can twist a bit into the word: alephant.
ב vet looks like the English word: vet. Think veterinarian.
ו vav is a shepherd's crook, or hook in Hebrew.
ח chet, in the block, kind of looks like a top hat.
כ khaf sounds like: cuff, as in handcuffs.
כ kaf we can also use the handcuff picture.
ק qof, looks like letter p in English, and is transliterated with a q. Think of "mind your p's and q's".
ס samech sounds like "stomach".
ש sin looks like the word "sin" in English. It is the black sheep of the family (because of the "sins")
ט tet, in the block, kind of looks like a bathtub from the end.
ת tav, in the block, kind of looks like a turtle...see him sticking his little head out one side of his shell?
If you can think of some mnemonics of your own, that's great! The crazier, the better! Next time, we will look at some Hebrew words and try making some silly pictures in our memory to remember the spelling.