Hebrew/Nouns

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Hebrew nouns are not hard at all, esspecially for most Germanic-language speakers.

Gender[edit]

In Hebrew, nouns have gender. This concept may be a little difficult for English speakers to grasp, but it is not hard at all (some English words are gendered too, e.g. ships are referred to as "she").

There are two types of noun gender (unlike German which has 3): Masculine and Feminine. Telling the difference is quite easy. The basic rule is:

  • Most feminine nouns end in either the letter ת or the letter ה.
  • Most masculine nouns end in every other letter.

Of course, there are some nouns that are assigned to a certain gender logically. For example, the word יֵלֶד (yeled - boy) is masculine, while יַלְדָה (yalda - girl) is feminine.

The article[edit]

There is only one article in Hebrew (in English there are three: the, a/an and some): הַ ( ha ). This translates into English as the. There is no article a/an. So תַּפּוּחַ ( tapuakh - apple ) can be either an apple or just apple ( depending on the context ). This article is easy and straight forward. It is a prefix, meaning it is added to the beginning of a noun. Simply add הַ ( the letter hey ) to the beginning of the noun.

Examples[edit]

Here are some examples using the article.

הַמַּחְשֵׁב - ha-machshev the computer
הָאִישָׁה - ha-isha the woman
הַסֵּפֶר - ha-sefer the book

Plural[edit]

Noun plural in Hebrew is quite straight forward and easy. The rules are:

  • Feminine nouns change the gender suffix ( the letter at the end of the word that tells us what gender the noun is ) into וֹת ( vav-tav )
  • Masculine nouns change the gender suffix into ים ( yod-mem )

Of course, there are some exceptions. For example, the noun שׁוּלְחָן ( shulhan - table ) is a masculine ( ends in נ - noon ), but its plural is שוּלְחָנוֹת ( notice the ות at the end of the noun). These irregularities will have to be memorized when learned.

Examples[edit]

Here are some examples of plurals.

יְלדִים - yeladim kids, boys
קְלפִים - k'laphim cards
מִדפּסוֹת - midpasot printers

Excercises[edit]

  1. Determine whether the following nouns are masculine or feminine, then pluralize them:
    1. ספר
    2. ספרייה
    3. גנן
    4. מַיִם
    5. אוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָה
    6. יפּנית
    7. סיפּוּר
    8. כּסף
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