Hebrew/Basic/5

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Basic Lesson 5 — לְאָן אַתָּה נוֹסֵעַ?

Welcome to the fifth basic lesson of Hebrew! In this lesson we're going to learn journey-related vocabulary and how to conjugate qal verbs in the present tense.

Dialogue[edit]

Sarah and David now both have ended their visit in Tel Aviv. They bid each other farewell.

שרה: היי! אני נוֹסַעַת לירושלים.
דוד: באמת? אני נוֹסֵעַ במָטוֹס לניו-יורק.
שרה: אני נוֹסַעַת ברַכֶּבֶת.
דוד: טוב... שלום, שרה.
שרה: להתראות!

Transliterate the dialogue (new vocabulary underlined).

Sarah: Hay (hi)! Ani nosa‘at leyerushalayim.
David: Be’emet? Ani nosea‘ bematos lenyu-yorq.
Sarah: Ani nosa‘at berakevet.
David: Tov... Shalom, Sarah.
Sarah: Lehitra’ot!

On Voyage[edit]

If we want to ask where someone is going, we need to be introduced to a new interrogative pronoun, namely לְאָן (meaning “where to?”). It is composed of the preposition “to” and a question word obsolete in modern Hebrew meaning “where”.

When we want to add a preposition to an interrogative pronoun in Hebrew, we simply attach the preposition directly to the question word: “from where do you come?” (remember, no auxiliary verb “to do” in Hebrew).

So, how are you going to get there? We add the preposition “in” before any mode of transport (בְּמָטוֹס).

Here are some modes of transport:

Car Train Aeroplane Coach Boat
מְכוֹנִית f °רַכֶּבֶת f מָטוֹס m אוֹטוֹבּוּס m אֳנִיָּה f

Notes

  • אוֹטוֹבּוּס is a phonological irregularity, since the accent here falls on the first syllable (ótobus).
  • The mode of transportation can be put anywhere in a sentence. The choice of where should you place it depends on what you want to emphasize.

Examples

  • He comes by train.
הוא בא ברַכֶּבֶת.
  • They (f) come by ship?
הן באות באֳנִיָּה?

Qal Present Tense[edit]

If thus far we have only learned verbs with two radicals in their roots (שׂ-ם), now we shall tackle verbs with 3 radicals, since the overwhelming majority of verbs have them.

Let us take the verb כּוֹתֵב (meaning “to write”, root: כ-ת-ב):

Hebrew Verbs • ?לְאָן אַתָּה נוֹסֵעַ
To write Flag of Israel.svg לִכְתֹב

Singular Plural
m כּוֹתֵב כּוֹתְבִים
f °כּוֹתֶבֶת כּוֹתְבוֹת

Other verbs that conjugate the same:

Hebrew Vocabulary • ?לְאָן אַתָּה נוֹסֵעַ
Verbs Flag of Israel.svg פְּעַלִים

English עִבְרִית
Think ח-שׁ-ב
Eat א-כ-ל
Say א-מ-ר
Walk/Go ה-ל-כ
Love א-ה-ב


Irregularities[edit]

When at the end of a root, some consonants change the conjugations of the verbs. These are known as weak radicals, א, ה, ח, י, ע.

When a root ends with ה, the said letter is omitted of all the conjugations except for the singulars. The masculine is regular, and the feminine replaces the ֵ with ָ.

When a root ends with ח or ע, in the masculine singular a ַ is added to the final letter and in the feminine all of the ֶ are replaced with ַ.

Confusing? Here are examples for clarification.

Examples

  • ר-א-ה (“to see”, ends with ה)
רוֹאֵה, רוֹאָה, רוֹאִים, רוֹאוֹת
  • נ-ס-ע (“to travel, ride”, ends with ע)
נוֹסֵעַ, נוֹסַעַת, נוֹסְעִים, נוֹסְעוֹת
  • פ-ת-ח (“to open”, ends with ח)
פּוֹתֵחַ, פּוֹתַחַת, פּוֹתְחִים, פּוֹתְחוֹת

Notes

  • Roots ending with ע or ח form an orthographic irregularity — נוֹסֵעַ and פּוֹתֵחַ are pronounced nosea‘ and pote, respectively.

Vocabulary[edit]

Transliterate and translate the following Hebrew expressions to English:

נוסעת

nosa‘at
Ride, travel (f sg.)

אונייה

oniyyah
Ship

רואים

ro’im
See (m pl.)

כותב

kotev
Write (m sg.)

מטוס

matos
Aeroplane

אוכלות

okhlot
Eat (f pl.)

רכבת

rakevet
Train

?לאן אנחנו נוסעים

le’an anaħnu nos‘im?
Where are we (m) travelling?

אוהבות

oh(a)vot
Love (f pl.)

אוטובוס

otobus
Coach, bus

חושבים

ħoshvim
Think (m sg.)

.הוא נוסע לניו-יורק

hu nosea‘ lenyu-yorq
He travels to New York.

פותח

poteaħ
Open (m sg.)

מכונית

mekhonit
Car

הולכת

holekhet
Walk, go (f sg.)

אומרים

omrim
Say (m pl.)

Translate the dialogue from the beginning of this lesson.

.שרה: היי! אני נוֹסַעַת לירושלים

Sarah: Hi! I'm going (travelling) to Jerusalem.

.דוד: באמת? אני נוֹסֵעַ במָטוֹס לניו-יורק

David: Really? I'm going by aeroplane to New York.

.שרה: אני נוֹסַעַת ברַכֶּבֶת

Sarah: I'm going by train.

.דוד: טוב... שלום, שרה

David: Well, goodbye, Sarah.

!שרה: להתראות

Sarah: Goodbye!

Summary[edit]

In this lesson, you have learned:

  • How to say and ask where you are going (אני נוֹסֵעַ ל...).
  • How to say which mode of transport you are using (באוֹטוֹבּוּס.).
  • How to conjugate verbs from binyan qal in the present tense.
  • How to conjugate verbs with weak radicals.

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.


Review: Unit 1 >>>