Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lesson 4


         4.a Alphabet
         4.b Verbs
         4.c Nouns & Adjectives
         4.d Sentences

4.a: Alphabet

There we go with two more consonants:
  • ז - z, as in 'zero'
  • ח - kh, as in 'khaki', and even more as ‘x’ in ‘xavier’ or ‘j’ in ‘mojito’ or ‘jose’. It’s important to distinguish the h sound of ח from the h sound of ה: the former is fricative, created by tongue touching palatal area, while the latter is deeper, coming up the throat and pharynx. Listen to the alternation of the two, and click here to see a demonstration. We'll denote this sound in transliteration by 'kh', not to get confused with 'h'.

Now let's read and then listen:

חַזַן listen
זמַן listen
חַתַן listen
חַמוּד listen
מַחַר listen
מוּזַר listen
חוֹפֵש listen

And now listen and try to write down in hebrew (and check the right answer):

listen זוֹרוֹ
listen מוּחַמַד
listen מוּזִיקַה
listen חַביֵר
listen אוֹזוֹן
listen חוֹזֵה
listen אַמַזוֹן
listen זִינַה

And the politics game:
Read, and match first and last names, from the list (‘name’ in hebrew is שֵםshem, and ‘family’ is מִשפַחַהmishpakha, which makes ‘family name’ – שֵם מִשפַחַהshem mishpakha):
שֵם: קוֹנדוֹלִיזַה, אַברַהַם, גוֹרדוֹן, סִילבִיוֹ, נִיקוֹלַא, דַלַאי
שֵם מִשפַחַה: ברַאוּן, לַאמַה, סַרקוֹזִי, רַייס, בֵרלוּסקוֹנִי, לִינקוֹלן

4.b Verbs

Let's have 4 more verbs:

  • the root חשב ( means 'think'
  • the root שאל (sh.!.l.) means 'ask' (א – called ‘aleph’ – is not pronounced)
  • the root חלם (kh.l.m.) means 'dream'
  • the root סגר (s.g.r) means 'close'

Keeping with the grammar, we learn more past forms, demonstrating it on the root סגר. Note the pattern:

  • אַתַה סַגַרתַata sagarta – you closed (sing.masc.)
  • אַת סַגַרתat sagart – you closed (sing.fem.)
  • אַתֵם סַגַרתֵםatem sagartem – you closed (plural masc.)
  • אַתֵן סַגַרתֵןaten sagarten – you closed (plural fem.)
Very simple – the ending of the verb is exactly the one of the pronoun! The one exception: in masculine ‘you’ form, there is no 'ה' letter at the end, although the pronunciation is the same.

To get used, read aloud, translate and then listen:

אַתַה חַשַבתַ הַרבֵה listen
אַת חַלַמת אֵתמוֹל listen
אַתֵם שַאַלתֵם listen
אַתֵן סַגַרתֵן בַית listen

Great, now let's add two more verbs to practice with:

  • the root פתח ( means 'open'
  • the root ברח ( means 'run away,escape'

Practice time! Write in hebrew and check your pronunciation:

Dan ran away from school. דַן בַרַח מֵבֵית סֵפֵר listen
Dana, why you opened home? דַנַה, לַמַה אַת פַתַחת בַית? listen
Boys, what you asked? יֵלַדִים, מַה אַתֵם שַאַלתֵם? listen
Girls, what you wore yesterday? יֵלַדוֹת, מַה אַתֵן לַבַשתֵן אֵתמוֹל? listen
Boys, who opened the red book? I opened. Why you opened the book? יֵלַדִים, מִי פַתַח הַסֵפֵר הַאַדוֹם? אַנִי פַתַחתִי. לַמַה אַתַה פַתַחתַ הַסֵפֵר? listen
Adam, you picked up the sweet fish (sing.)? אַדַם, אַתַה אַסַפתַ הַדַג הַמַתוֹק? listen

4.c Nouns & Adjectives

Let's learn 3 adjectives (again - note the common pattern of XaXoX):

שַחוֹר shakhor black listen
רַחוֹק rakhok far,distant listen
קַרוֹב karov close,near listen

Now, how to say “bigger boy”? You say, literally, “boy more big” (or “boy less big”).

יוֹתֵר yoter more listen
פַחוֹת pakhot less listen

To say ‘than’ – you use מֵ (me, from):
דַן יוֹתֵר גַדוֹל מֵאַדַםdan yoter gadol meadam – Dan (is) more big (than) from Adam

Great, now to some nouns:

  • חַבֵר - (m.) - khaver listen - (male) friend. The female version – חַבֵרַהkhavera. Depending on context that could also mean boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • חַתוּל - (m.) - khatul listen - (male) cat. Note there’s a noun for female cat as well – חַתוּלַהkhatula.
  • יוֹם - (m.) - yom listen - day. That gives rise to הַיוֹם hayom , literally – the day, this day, meaning ‘today’.
  • חוֹדֵש - (m.) - khodesh listen - month. Similarly, הַחוֹדֵשhahodesh means ‘this month’.
  • חֵדֵר - (m.) - kheder - room. listen

Exercise – write in hebrew, pronounce and compare to the recorded version:

Close (male) friend. חַבֵר קַרוֹב listen
Black (male) cats. חַתוּלִים שחוֹרִים listen
Boy is bigger than cat. יֵלֵד יוֹתֵר גַדוֹל מֵחַתוּל listen
Dana (is) (a) friend/girlfriend of Adam. דַנַה חַבֵרַה שֵל אַדַם listen
This month I learned a lot. הַחוֹדֵש אַנִי לַמַדתִי הַרבֵה listen
School (is) far from the home. בֵית סֵפֵר רַחוֹק מֵהַבַית listen
Kindergarten (is) close to super(market). גַן יֵלַדִים קַרוֹב לֵסוּפֵר listen
The black cat ran away from the house. הַחַתוּל הַשַחוֹר בַרַח מֵהַבַית listen

4.d Sentences

Another wh-question:
לֵאַןlean - where to? (indicating direction, not location)

To indicate a certain object, one uses:

  • זֵהze – this (masculine)
  • זאתzot – this (feminine). We’ll explain later why there’s no ‘וֹ’, as you could expect for the ‘o’ sound.
There are two ways to use it:
  • To specify an object: ‘this’ comes after the noun! For instance:

    סֵפֵר זֵה
    sefer ze – this book

    יֵלדַה זאתyelda zot – this girl

    It means almost the same as הַסֵפֵר (hasefer) – just like in english, there isn’t much difference between ‘this book’ and ‘the book’
  • To present an object: ‘this’ comes before noun, for instance:

    זֵה חֵדֵר שֵל אַדַםze kheder shel adam – this (is) (a) room of Adam
    זאת מַנַה מַתוֹקַהzot mana matoka – this (is) (a) sweet dish (dessert)
    מִי זֵה?mi ze – who (is) this?

And the last word for today: אַבַלaval – but. For example:
דַן אוֹהֵב דַנַה, אַבַל דַנַה לא אוֹהֵבֵת דַן. הִיא חַבֵרַה שֵל אַדַם
- dan ohev dana, aval dana lo ohevet dan. hi khavera shel adam. (Dan loves Dana, but Dana (does) not love Dan. She (is) girlfriend of Adam.)

And final exercise of the lesson – write the sentences in hebrew:

This (male) cat is very black. חַתוּל זֵה מֵאוֹד שַחוֹר listen
Today (are) many waves in sea. הַיוֹם הַרבֵה גַלִים בֵיַם listen
This garden is further than this garden. גַן זֵה יוֹתֵר רַחוֹק מֵגַן זֵה listen
This is Milki, the (female) cat of Adam. זאת מִילקִי, הַחַתוּלַה שֵל אַדַם listen
Son, why (are) you run(ning) away from the country? בֵן, לַמַה אַתַה בוֹרֵחַ מֵהַמֵדִינַה? listen
In this house (are) not many rooms. בֵבַית זֵה לא הַרבֵה חַדַרִים listen
This stage is less green than this stage. בַמַה זאת פַחוֹת יַרוֹקַה מֵבַמַה זאת listen
Yesterday you (masc.) opened the house, but today he closed this house. אֵתמוֹל אַתַה פַתַחתַ הַבַית, אַבַל הַיוֹם הוּא סַגַר הַבַית listen
You (masc.) thought that he loved Dana, but he cheated. אַתַה חַשַבתַ שֵהוּא אַהַב דַנַה, אַבַל הוּא בַגַד listen
Why (are) the waves today bigger than yesterday? לַמַה הַגַלִים הַיוֹם יוֹתֵר גדוֹלִים מֵאֵתמוֹל? listen
They (mixed) said to Dina: “Shabat Shalom” (“peaceful Saturday”, common greeting for weekend) הֵם אַמרוּ לֵדִינַה: "שַבַת שַלוֹם" listen
She checked that in this month she learned a lot. הִיא בַדקַה שֵבֵחוֹדֵש זֵה הִיא לַמדַה הַרבֵה listen
He dreams that Dana loves boyfriend of Dina. הוּא חוֹלֵם שֵדַנַה אוֹהֵבֵת חַבֵר שֵל דִינַה listen


  1. my only difficulty with this lesson was with the audio on the listening part.

  2. Milki is a great shem hatula :-D

  3. Why ח is pronunced like כ?

    1. It's just one of those facts of life that in modern Hebrew the two are virtually identical.

      However, it's worth noting that in some pronunciations(especially Mizrahim) the two are pronounced differently. In those cases, ח is often pronounced as a deeper, voiceless pharyngeal fricative instead of the voiceless uvular fricative(which is what both letters are usually pronounced as).

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. there are some problems. in the begining there are exercises that use letters not studied yet, how come? and the listening too...

  6. Thank you very much for these lessons!

  7. Ohh...another lesson has passed..I feel more complete with the language....Good job. Thank you.

  8. Dude, every verb has its own form.... And it's hard for beginners. Please write all of these forms in both tenses(present and past tenses)because it's just tougher that I thought :X

    1. You can look at all of them in the verb table, in all their forms!

  9. This course is incredible. A big thank you to the author!!!

  10. Hey guys! Since this blog is kinda dead, I tried to make at least this online course on Memrise, making lessons with the vocabulary and some drills using conjugated verb forms.
    Check it out, especially if you have trouble like me quickly remembering the vocab and conjugating verbs:

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Thank you so much to the author of this blog, you've done a great job, and i can't wait to really get started in learning.... this makes it very easy... :)

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