Hebrew/Aleph-Bet/2

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Aleph-Bet Lesson 2 — ב ה נ ן
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Lessons on the
Hebrew Aleph-Bet
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Introduction
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 1 א בּ תE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 2 ב ה נןE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 3 מם שׁשׂE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 4 ל וE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 5 ד ר יE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 6 ג ז חE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 7 ט ככּךE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 8 ס קE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 9 ע פפּףE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 10 צץE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Review
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 TestAnswers
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Welcome to the second lesson of the Hebrew alphabet! In this lesson you will learn three new Hebrew letters - ב ה and נן, two new niqqud symbols - qamats and tsere, as well as the definite article in Hebrew.

Letters[edit]

So far we have learned 3 letters: א, בּ and תּ. Now we will learn two new letters:

Vet[edit]

ב Remember the previous lesson we learned that the dot in the Bet is important? Well, here is why. When Bet loses the dot it becomes Vet and stands for the "v" sound (IPA: /v/, "v" as in "violin"). Note that normally it isn't considered a separate letter from Bet.

He[edit]

Cursive He looks like this. Remember that blue represents first stroke, red second. Do the same exercise you did last time.

ה The fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is He. It makes the "h" sound (IPA: /h/, "h" as in "heart"). When at the end of a word it is silent.

Nun[edit]

נ ן The fourteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Nun. It makes the "n" sound (IPA: /n/, "n" as in "name"). When at the end of a word, it changes form. This final form is known as Nun Sofit - ן ("Sofit" is Hebrew for "final"). A few letters in the Hebrew have this property, and Nun is one of them.


Vowels[edit]

The following vowels resemble in pronunciation Pataħ and Shva, but they are different depending on the accent. Many Israelis pronounce them (Pataħ and Qamats, Shva and Tsere) the same.

Qamats[edit]

בָּ The qamats is the horizontal line with the smaller vertical line under the Bet.

Like pataħ, qamats produces the "a" sound (IPA: /a/, "a" as in "spa").

Tsere[edit]

בֵּ

The tsere is the two horizontal dots under the Bet.

Tsere produces the "e" sound (IPA: /e/, "e" as in "bet").

Definite He - He Hayedi‘ah[edit]

In English there are two different types of articles: definite ("the") and indefinite ("a"/"an"). In Hebrew, while there is a separation between the definite and indefinite, there exists an article only for the definite; that is, there is no "a" or "an" in Hebrew, just "the". If the noun or adjective doesn't have the definite article, it simply means it is indefinite.

Unlike English, where the definite/indefinite article exists as free form (a separate word), in Hebrew the definite article appears as an affix. By simply adding the letter He ה to the beginning of any noun or adjective, regardless of its gender and number, the word becomes definite. The definite He is known as He Hayedi‘ah (lit. "knowledge He").

Why don't we implement it on the noun we know?

בַּת bat (singular, feminine, indefinite) "daughter"
We add the letter ה and the result:
הַבַּת habat (singular, feminine, definite) "the daughter"

Words[edit]

In Hebrew there are two genders: masculine and feminine. Learning the gender of every word is important, because in Hebrew, almost everything has a gender, even numbers. Finding a gender just by looking at a word is harder than the Romance languages, especially Spanish, but somewhat easier than say German. In most cases, words ending with Tav or He are feminine. There are numerous exceptions.

With two new letters and two new niqqud signs we can put together even more words! First let's look at the vocabulary we have so far:
אַתְּ at you (singular, feminine)
בַּת bat daughter, girl (singular, feminine)

Now we'll add some more words. We have the singular feminine form of "you". What about the masculine form?
אַתָּה atah you (singular, masculine)[1]

And we have a "girl", what about a boy?
בֵּן ben son, boy (masculine, singular)

Other new words:
תָּא ta cell, cab (truck), cabin, locker, cubicle, group (people) (masculine, singular)
אָב av father (masculine, singular)
אַבָּא aba dad (masculine, singular, informal)
בָּנָנָה banana banana (feminine, singular)[2]

Summary[edit]

In the past 2 lessons, you have learned:

  • The Hebrew letters and forms Aleph א, Bet בּ, Vet ב, He ה, Nun נ, Nun Sofit ן and Tav ת.
  • The niqqud symbols Qamats (ָ), Pataħ (ַ), Tsere (ֵ) and Shva (ְ).
  • The words אַתְּ, אַתָּה, בַּת, בֵּן, תָּא, אָב, אַבָּא and בָּנָנָה.
  • The definite article in Hebrew - He Hayedi‘ah.

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.


Next lesson: Aleph-Bet 3 >>>

Notes[edit]

  1. In the word atah the "h" is not spoken, it is simply an indicator that the word ends with a He. This does not change the pronunciation of the word (which should be ata).
  2. The proper Hebrew word is moz, banana is a popular loanword from European languages.