Hebrew/Basic/6

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Basic Lesson 6 — זֶה הַבַּיִת שֶׁלִי

Welcome to the sixth basic lesson of Hebrew! In this lesson we're going to learn the demonstrative and possessive pronouns, as well as basic syntax.

Demonstrative Pronouns[edit]

Look at the following examples.

זֶה דוד.
זֹאת שרה.
אֵלֶּה שרה ודוד.
הבַּיִת הזֶה.
אני בא מהעִיר הזֹאת.

The words highlighted are the demonstrative pronouns. In English the demonstrative pronouns are “this”, “that”, “these” and “those”.

Here are the demonstrative pronouns in Hebrew:

Hebrew Vocabulary • זֶה הַבַּיִת שֶׁלִי
Demonstratives Flag of Israel.svg כִּינוּיֵי־זִיקָה

Singular Plural
m זֶה °אֵלֶּה
f זֹאת

Notes

  • The א in זֹאת is not pronounced.

Usually, Hebrew makes no distinction between “this” and “that”.

In English, when we want to demonstrate something, we add the demonstrative pronoun before it: “this house”, “that thing”, “I want these shoes”.

In Hebrew, when there are demonstrations such as these, the pronoun is after the demonstrated object and both are definite.

Too much information? Let's look at the examples.

Examples

  • This street. The word for “street” is רְחוֹב, masculine, singular. We find the corresponding pronoun זֶה and add it after the רְחוֹב. Then, we add the definite article to both.
הרְחוֹב הזֶה.
  • Those houses. The word for “houses” is בָּתִים, masculine, plural (it is pluralized irregularly; the singular form is בַּיִת).
הבָּתִים האֵלֶּה.

As for the other positions, we'll get to these in the third section of this lesson.

Possessive Pronouns[edit]

Here are some more examples.

הבַּיִת שֶׁלִי.
העִיר שֶׁלָהֵם.
הרְחוֹבוֹת שֶׁלוֹ.
העָרִים שֶׁלָךְ.

The words highlighted are the possessive pronouns. In English the possessive pronouns are “my”, “your”, “his”, “her”, “its”, “our” and “their”.

Here are the possessive pronouns in Hebrew:

Hebrew Vocabulary • זֶה הַבַּיִת שֶׁלִי
Possessives Flag of Israel.svg כִּינוּיֵי־הַקִּנְיָן

Singular Plural
1 שֶׁלִי שֶׁלָנוּ
2 m שֶׁלְךָ שֶׁלָכֵם
2 f שֶׁלָךְ שֶׁלָכֵן*
3 m שֶׁלוֹ שֶׁלָהֵם
3 f שֶׁלָה שֶׁלָהֵן*

Notes

  • The plural feminine pronouns (שֶׁלָכֵן and שֶׁלָהֵן) are quickly falling out of use, particularly by young people, replaced by the masculine pronouns. When talking to/about a mixed group of people from both genders use שֶׁלָכֵם and שֶׁלָהֵם.

In English, when we want to indicate that something belongs to someone, we add the correct possessive pronoun before it: “my house”, “his place”, “it's our world”.

In Hebrew, we put that possessive pronoun after the object, and add the definite article only to the object.

Let's look at the examples for clarification.

Examples

  • Your (m s.) house. The correct equivalent possessive pronoun is שֶׁלְךָ. We put it after the word for “house” and add the definite article.
הבַּיִת שֶׁלְךָ.
  • Their (f) cities. The word for “cities” is עָרִים (despite its plural form, it is feminine. The singular is עִיר).
העָרִים שֶׁלָהֵן.

Grammar: Syntax[edit]

Hebrew lacks the verb “to be” in the present tense. This includes its forms “am”, “are” and “is”.

  • The boy is playing.
  • I am bored.
  • They are pretty.
  • This is a book.

It does, however, have alternatives:

If what the object it is a noun, the verb “to be” is replaced by the personal pronoun in the 3rd person. This is not true for pronouns.

If what the object it is an adjective, the verb “to be” is omitted and the definite article is added to the object.

Examples

  • Jerusalem is a city. No indefinite articles in Hebrew (a) as well as the verb “to be” in the present tense. “City” is a noun. “Jerusalem” is feminine, singular — הִיא.
ירושלים היא עִיר.
  • The house is good. No verb “to be” in the present tense. “Good” is an adjective.
הבַּיִת טוב.
  • That is a street. No indefinite articles in Hebrew (a) as well as the verb “to be” in the present tense. “Street” is a noun, however, “that” is a pronoun.
זֶה רְחוֹב.

Vocabulary[edit]

Transliterate and translate the following Hebrew expressions to English:

שלכם

sheem
Your (m pl.)

עיר

‘ir
City

שלך

shelkha/shelakh
Your (sg.)

אלה

eleh
These, those

שלו

shelo
His

שלי

sheli
My

שלנו

shelanu
Our

זאת

zot
This, that (f)

רחובות

reħovot
Streets

שלהן

shelahen
Their (f)

בתים

batim
Houses

שלה

shelah
Her

רחוב

reħov
Street

שלהם

shelahem

זה

zeh
This, that (m)

בית

bayit
House

ערים

‘arim
Cities

שלכן

shelakhen
Your (f pl.)

Summary[edit]

In this lesson, you have learned:

  • How to demonstrate something (זֶה בַּיִת).
  • How to say something belongs to someone (העִיר שֶׁלִי).
  • How to substitute the verb “to be” (תל אביב היא עִיר).

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.


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