Welcome to the fourth basic lesson of Hebrew! In this lesson we will begin to learn how to conjugate Hebrew verbs and form questions.
Sarah and David meet again on the street. This time they are in a hurry so they speak briefly before moving on.
דוד: שלום! אֵיפֹה את גָּרָה?
שרה: אני גָּרָה בִּיְרוּשָׁלַיִם.
דוד: אני גָּר בִּנְיוּ-יוֹרְק.
שרה: טוב, להתראות!
Asking for Residence
אֵיפֹה אתה גָּר? and אֵיפֹה את גָּרָה? both mean “where do you live?” (lit. “where [do] you reside?”). This question is replied by the preposition בְּ... + your residence, or the statement אני גָּר בְּ... + your residence, but the latter also declends with gender.
- Someone (to Boy): אֵיפֹה אתה גָּר?
- Someone (to Girl): אֵיפֹה את גָּרָה?
- Boy: אני גָּר בְּ...
- Girl: אני גָּרָה בְּ...
Introduction to Verbs
In the previous lesson, we learned that roots of radicals fall into “moulds” to form verbs and nouns. There are 7 “moulds” used for verbs, and these are called בִּנְיָנִים.
In this lesson we will start learning the first and most basic בִּנְיָן, qal. But before beginning with regular verbs with 3 radicals in their roots, we shall start with 2. This is because the most archaic and basic verbs (“to live”, “to come”, “to reside”, etc.) have just two letters.
In Hebrew, verbs conjugate in gender, number, and, in the past and future tenses, person. Unlike English, which has many progressive and perfect tenses, Hebrew has just 3: past, present, and future, as well as the imperative mood.
The verb גָּר (to reside), which has two radicals (root: ג-ר), conjugates in the present tense as follows:
- The declension of adjectives and the pluralization of nouns is identical. This is because verbs in the present tense can also be nouns and adjectives.
Other verbs that conjugate the same:
In English, when we would like to form a question out of a statement with no auxiliary verbs, we add the verb “to do”:
- You like chocolate.
- Do you like chocolate?
When we do have a statement with auxiliary verbs, we switch the location of the subject and the verb:
- She can read a book.
- Can she read a book?
In addition, we can add an interrogative pronoun at the start of the sentence:
- She reads a book.
- What does she read?
In Hebrew, the auxiliary verb “to do” is nonexistent. Because of this, the verb in question does not change its conjugation:
- She reads a book.
- What she reads?
To sum it up, when we want to form a question out of a statement in Hebrew, we need not change the sentence at all, all we have to do is raise the voice at the end of question (higher intonation) and add the interrogative pronoun at the beginning of a sentence if needed. The auxiliary verb retains its location.
Transliterate and translate the following Hebrew expressions to English:
Translate the dialogue from the beginning of this lesson.
In this lesson, you have learned:
- How to say and ask where you live (אני גָּר בְּ...).
- How conjugate biconsonantal (two radicals) verbs in the present tense, binyan qal.
- How to form questions.
Practice what you've learned in the exercises.
- In the question בֵּן כַּמָּה אתה? the interrogative pronoun כַּמָּה is at the middle of the sentence. This is because it is in construct with word בֵּן, something we shall learn later.