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In BHS, and in many fonts, a ḥolam ḥaser dot floats forward onto the upper right of alef if that alef is not functioning as a consonant. Probably one of the most common cases of this is vayomer. E.g., right off the bat in Gen 1:3:

vayomer in pointed Hebrew

I cover this behavior more deeply in my documentation for my Taamey D font, but I think you get the idea.

My question is, does anyone know of a source (or authority) for doing this? (I.e., what's a source other than BHS and the fonts that mimic it.) Do other printed editions do this? None in my small collection do. Perhaps more importantly, are the great medieval manuscripts (L, A, etc.) thought to do this? When I look at L, for example, it seems it does this, but maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see. It is a little hard to tell which letter the dot belongs to, because, fundamentally I think, it belongs to neither: it belongs somewhere in between. I guess the question is: is its position, on average, "later," when it appears between some consonant and a non-consonant alef? And if it is, on average, "later," is it fair to assume this was scribal intention and not chance?

Also, what are the pros and cons of interpreting this not as a "late" ḥolam ḥaser dot but as a ḥolam male dot on alef? I.e., are there at least some circumstances in which instead of interpreting this dot as implying a "missing" vav, it is better to interpret this dot as qualifying what kind of alef we're looking at, just as a ḥolam male dot qualifies what kind of a vav we're looking at?

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  • On what basis does it belong in between?
    – magicker72
    Mar 23, 2023 at 23:46
  • The general rule in Tanakh is a letter is only pronounced if it has a vowel mark so here we'd expect the yud to be marked and the alef to be "blank".
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2023 at 0:03
  • @DoubleAA The reason for my question is that the convention of BHS and many fonts is to defy your expectation, and I'm wondering if anyone knows where that convention comes from.
    – bfd
    Mar 24, 2023 at 12:11
  • @DoubleAA I know all rules have exceptions, but your rule neglects a big set of cases relevant to my question, which are the vav vowels: shuruq and vav ḥolam. As I'm sure you know, if there's a consonant before a vav vowel, that consonant will be unmarked (except perhaps for a trope mark). That's relevant to the second part of my question, about the possibility of interpreting this dot more like a ḥolam male dot on a vav.
    – bfd
    Mar 24, 2023 at 12:12
  • @bfd Those consonants are marked by the vowel-vav following it.
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2023 at 12:12

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