what is Hebrew "nikud"?
In Hebrew orthography, niqqud or nikkud (Hebrew: נִקּוּד, Modern nikud Tiberian niqqûḏ ; "dotting, pointing" or Hebrew: נְקֻדּוֹת, Modern nekudot Tiberian nəquddôṯ ; "dots") is a system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between alternative pronunciations of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Several such diacritical systems were developed in the Early Middle Ages. The most widespread system, and the only one still used to a significant degree today, was created by the Masoretes of Tiberias in the second half of the first millennium CE in the Land of Israel (see Masoretic Text, Tiberian Hebrew). Text written with niqqud is called ktiv menuqad. Niqqud marks are small compared to consonants, so they can be added without retranscribing texts whose writers did not anticipate them. In modern Israeli orthography niqqud is seldom used, except in specialised texts such as dictionaries, poetry, or texts for children or for new immigrants. For purposes of disambiguation, a system of spelling without niqqud, known in Hebrew as ktiv maleh (Hebrew: כתיב מלא), literally "full spelling", has developed. This was formally standardised in the Rules for Spelling without Niqqud (כללי הכתיב חסר הניקוד) enacted by the Academy of the Hebrew Language in 1996. Among those who do not speak Hebrew, niqqud are the sometimes unnamed focus of controversy regarding the interpretation of the name written with the Tetragrammaton—written as יְהֹוָה in Hebrew. The interpretation affects discussion of the authentic ancient pronunciation of the name whose other conventional English forms are "Jehovah" and "Yahweh".