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I am a Ba'al Kri'ah. I am quite confused regarding the rules of "kamatz katan". Another Ba'al Kri'ah explained that a kamatz katan occurs when a kamatz is used in a word (usually a verb) when the root of the verb usually has a cholam. Examples are "shomru" (originally "shomer") "roshei" (originally "rosh") and "chodsheichem" (from "chodesh").

I can understand hwo to follow this rule. However, I understand that the kamatz jatan applies to people's names as well as in "Ochran" and "Kozbi". There may be other rules as well. Overall, I'm confused. Is there any general rule or clear document that explains how kamatz katan works?

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try Hebrew grammar by J Wiengreen Isbn 0 19815422 4 Element of Hebrew by William Rainey Harper Isbn 0-226-31681-5 – preferred May 23 '14 at 17:54
ראשי is a Kamatz Gadol as is שמרו. – Double AA May 23 '14 at 20:35
up vote 2 down vote accepted

@Msh210's answer is completely correct! If you would still like a book, I would refer you to an entire book on the subject: The ohs and ahs of Torah reading: a guide to the kamatz katan in the Torah. There should also be an explanation in any good Hebrew or Biblical grammar book.

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Go figure that someone wrote a book on exactly this subject. I'll explore it. Thanks @Noam – DanF May 23 '14 at 20:16

If you know a letter has a kamatz beneath it, then you know it's a kamatz katan if (and only if) it's in an unstressed syllable that ends with a consonant. Thus, chochma (because of the sh'va nach closing the syllable). There are some exceptions according to the m'sora, and the word batim ("houses"; and its construct forms) is always an exception (if indeed its first syllable ends in a consonant; I'm not sure).

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