The Tiberian vocalization marks vowels and stress, makes fine distinctions of consonant quality and length, and serves as punctuation. While the Tiberian system was devised for Tiberian Hebrew, it has become the dominant system for vocalizing all forms of Hebrew; it has long since eclipsed the Babylonian and Palestinian vocalization systems.
The sin dot distinguishes between the two values of ש. A dagesh indicates a consonant is geminate or unspirantized, and a raphe indicates spirantization. The mappiq indicates that ה is consonantal, not silent, in syllable-coda position.
The seven vowel qualities of Tiberian Hebrew are indicated straightforwardly by distinct diacritics:
The diacritics qubutz and shuruq both represent /u/, but shuruq is used when the text uses full spelling (with waw as a mater lectionis). Each of the vowel phonemes could be allophonically lengthened; occasionally, the length is marked with metheg. (Then, metheg also can indirectly indicate when a following shva is vocal.)
The ultrashort vowels are slightly more complicated. There were two graphemes corresponding to the vowel /ă/, attested by alternations in manuscripts like ארֲריך~ארְריך, ואשמֳעָה~ואשמְעָה.. In addition, one of the graphemes could also be silent:
Shva was used both to indicate lack of a vowel (quiescent šwa, shva nah) and as another symbol to represent the phoneme /ă/ (mobile šwa, shva na), the latter also represented by hataf patah. The phoneme /ă/ had a number of allophones; /ă/ had to be written with shva rather than hataf patah when it was not pronounced as . Before a laryngeal-pharyngeal, mobile šwa was pronounced as an ultrashort copy of the following vowel (וּבָקְעָה ) and as preceding /j/, (תְדֵמְּיוּ֫נִי /θăðammĭjuni/). Using ḥataf vowels was mandatory under gutturals but optional under other letters, and there was considerable variation among manuscripts.
That is referenced specifically by medieval grammarians: