Hebrew/Aleph-Bet/3

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Aleph-Bet Lesson 3 — מם שׁשׂ
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 third lesson of the Hebrew alphabet! In this lesson you will learn the two most common Hebrew letters - מם and שׁשׂ, and two new niqqud symbols - segol and ħiriq.

Letters[edit]

The two letters (and four forms) you will learn now are the most common in the Hebrew language:

Mem[edit]

מ ם The thirteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Mem. It makes the "m" sound (IPA: /m/, "m" as in "mother"). Like Nun, when it is at the end of a word, it changes form. This final form is known as Mem Sofit - ם.

Shin[edit]

שׁ שׂ The penultimate letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Shin. It has two forms:

  • When the dot above the letter is on the right - it's called Shin and it makes the "sh" sound (IPA: /ʃ/, "sh" as in "ship"). This is more common.
  • When the dot above the letter is on the left - it's called Sin and it makes the "s" sound (IPA: /s/, "s" as in "safe").

Vowels[edit]

You will now learn another way to express the "e" sound as well as the exclusive vowel for the "i" sound:

Segol[edit]

בֶּ The segol is the three dots under the Bet.

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

Ħiriq[edit]

בִּ The ħiriq is the dot under the Bet.

It produces the "i" sound (IPA: /i/, "i" as in "ski").

Words[edit]

Thanks to the letter Mem and the symbol Segol, we can complete our collection of 2nd person pronouns (all appearing as "you" in English)!

אַתָּה atah you (masculine, singular)
אַתְּ at you (feminine, singular)
אַתֶּם atem you (masculine, plural)
אַתֶּן aten you (feminine, plural)[1]

You might notice that all of them begin with at[2] אַתּ.
Some more pronouns:

הֵם hem they (masculine)
הֵן hen they (feminine)

So we have daughter, son, and father. Now we need the mother.

אֵם em mother (feminine, singular)
אִמָּא ima mom (feminine, singular, informal)[3]

Other new words:

מָה mah what
שֵׁם shem name (masculine, singular)
שַׁבָּת shabbat sabbath, Saturday (feminine, singular)[4]

Summary[edit]

In this lesson, you have learned:

  • The Hebrew letters and forms Mem מ, Mem Sofit ם, Shin שׁ and Sin שׂ.
  • The niqqud symbols Segol (ֶ) and Ħiriq (ִ).
  • The 2nd person pronouns in Hebrew.
  • The words הֵם, הֵן, אֵם, אִמָּא, מָה, שֵם and שַׁבָּת.

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.


Next lesson: Aleph-Bet 4 >>>

Notes[edit]

  1. When addressing a group of people from both genders use atem.
  2. Usually when a consonant is at the end of a syllable it loses the dagesh (dot in the middle). The words for "you" have a dot in the Tav because in ancient times the they were ant or antah and when the Nun was lost the Tav received the dagesh.
  3. The difference between em and ima, like av and aba, is historical. The proper Hebrew words are av and em, and aba and ima are loanwords from Aramaic. Eventually aba and ima became the standard form for speaking to your mom or dad, and av and em are considered even more formal than "father" and "mother".
  4. As you might have guessed (or already know), "sabbath" is a loanword from Hebrew.