Vowelisation of the Definite Article

Rule 1.
When a word is prefixed with the definite article, the first consonant of the word is emphasized with a דּגֵשׁ (DDaGeSh). While the definite article receives a פַּתָּח (PPaTTaX).

 the book

Rule 2.
However, the following consonants are unable to receive a דּגֵשׁ
  • א
  • ע
  • ר
The definite article then takes up the responsibility of emphasis from such a consonant, by being given a קָמָץ (QaMaTs) instead of a פַּתָּח .

הָעִיר  the city

Rule 3.
The vowelisation of the definite article is further modified to receive a סֶגוֹל (segol) הֶ instead, if the first consonant of the word is either
  • הָ
  • חָ
  • עָ
having a פַּתָּח vowel.

הֶעָרִים  the cities

Exception to Rule 3.
If the first consonant is pronounced with an accent, the definite article reverts to receiving a
פַּתָּח as its vowelisation.