Hebrew/Basic/1

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Basic Lesson 1 — אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לְךָ?
Ein Karem in the hills southwest of Jerusalem.

Welcome to the first basic lesson of Hebrew! In this lesson we're going to learn some basic greetings and basic grammatical features of Hebrew. First read the following dialogue and do the exercise related to it.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Two strangers, Sarah (שָׂרָה) and David (דָּוִד), meet each other in one of the many cafés of Tel Aviv. The following conversation takes place:

דָּוִד: שָׁלוֹם! קוֹרְאִים לִי דָּוִד. אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לָךְ?
שָׂרָה: שָׁלוֹם, דָּוִד. לִי קוֹרְאִים שָׂרָה. מָה שְׁלוֹמְךָ?
דָּוִד: טוֹב, תּוֹדָה. מָה נִשְׁמַע?
שָׂרָה: בְּסֵדֶר. שָׁלוֹם, דָּוִד.
דָּוִד: לְהִתְרָאוֹת!

Transliterate the dialogue.
David: Shalom! Qor’im li David. Ekh qor’im lakh?

Sarah: Shalom, David. Li qor’im Sarah. Ma shlomkha?
David: Tov, todah. Mah nishma‘?
Sarah: Beseder. Shalom, David.

David: Lehitra’ot.
David: Shalom! Qor’im li David. Ekh qor’im lakh?

Sarah: Shalom, David. Li qor’im Sarah. Ma shlomkha?
David: Tov, todah. Mah nishma‘?
Sarah: Beseder. Shalom, David.

David: Lehitra’ot.

Greetings[edit | edit source]

Hebrew Vocabulary • ?אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לך
Hello! Flag of Israel.svg !שָׁלוֹם

English עִבְרִית
Hello! שָׁלוֹם! m
Goodbye!
Hi! הַיִי!
Bye! בַּיִי!
See you later! לְהִתְרָאוֹת!
Thank you תּוֹדָה f
OK/Fine בְּסֵדֶר°
Good/Well טוֹב

Words marked with ° have their accent falling on their penultimate syllable, as in bóqer. In all other cases, the accent will fall on the last syllable.

Asking for Names[edit | edit source]

אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לְךָ? and אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לָךְ? both mean “what's your name?” (lit. “how [do] they-call to-you?”). One is directed to a male (לְךָ) and one to a female (לָךְ). Therefore, when asking a male for his name, say the former, and when asking female for her name, use the latter.

You may respond by saying your name, or, if you want to introduce yourself, saying קוֹרְאִים לִי... (lit. “they-call to-me...”)[1] . It doesn't matter if you are a male or a female here.

Examples

  • Someone (to Boy): אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לְךָ?
  • Someone (to Girl): אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לָךְ?
  • Someone: קוֹרְאִים לִי...

How are You?[edit | edit source]

Just like asking for names, מָה שְׁלוֹמְךָ? and מָה שְׁלוֹמֶךְ? (lit. “what [is] your-peace?”) alter whether asking a male or a female. As before, the former is used when asking males, and the latter females.

מָה נִשְׁמַע? (lit. “what [was] heard?”) means the same, but it is slightly less formal. It does not declend in gender.

Examples

  • Someone (to Boy): מָה שְׁלוֹמְךָ?
  • Someone (to Girl): מָה שְׁלוֹמֶךְ?
  • Someone (to Someone): מָה נִשְׁמַע?

Grammar: Genders[edit | edit source]

Hebrew has two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine. Each noun has an inherit gender, and that affects the adjectives that describe it and the verbs it does.

Unfortunately, Hebrew's choice of genders may defy common sense, as ancient languages sometimes do, and the gender of a noun usually can't be learned by just looking at the word. However, a good rule of thumb is that words ending in ה or ת are mostly feminine, and words ending in other letters are mostly masculine.

The genders are marked by m and f for nouns.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Transliterate and translate the following Hebrew expressions to English.

להתראות
lehitra’ot
See you later
lehitra’ot
See you later
תודה
todah
Thank you
todah
Thank you
?מה שלומך
mah shlomkha/shlomekh
How are you?
mah shlomkha/shlomekh
How are you?
שלום
shalom
Hello, goodbye, peace
shalom
Hello, goodbye, peace
טוב
tov
Good, well
tov
Good, well
?מה נשמע
ma nishma‘
What's up?
ma nishma‘
What's up?
בסדר
baseder
OK, fine
baseder
OK, fine
?איך קוראים לך
ekh qor’im lekha/lakh
What's your name?
ekh qor’im lekha/lakh
What's your name?

Translate the dialogue from the beginning of this lesson.

?דָּוִד: שָׁלוֹם! קוֹרְאִים לִי דָּוִד. אֵיך קוֹרְאִים לָךְ
David: Shalom! qor'im li David. Ekh qor'im lakh?
David: Hello! My name is David. What's your name?
David: Shalom! qor'im li David. Ekh qor'im lakh?
David: Hello! My name is David. What's your name?
?שָׂרָה: שָׁלוֹם, דָּוִד. לִי קוֹרְאִים שָׂרָה. מָה שְׁלוֹמְךָ
Sarah: Shalom, David. Li qor'im Sarah. Mah shlomkha?
Sarah: Hello, David. My name is Sarah. How are you?
Sarah: Shalom, David. Li qor'im Sarah. Mah shlomkha?
Sarah: Hello, David. My name is Sarah. How are you?
?דָּוִד: טוֹב, תּוֹדָה. מָה נִשְׁמַע
David: Tov, todah. Mah nishma?
David: Good, thank you. How are you?
David: Tov, todah. Mah nishma?
David: Good, thank you. How are you?
.שָׂרָה: בְּסֵדֶר. שָׁלוֹם, דָּוִד
Sarah: Baseder. Shalom, David.
Sarah: Fine. Goodbye, David.
Sarah: Baseder. Shalom, David.
Sarah: Fine. Goodbye, David.
!דָּוִד: לְהִתְרָאוֹת
David: Lehitra'ot!
David: See you later!
David: Lehitra'ot!
David: See you later!

Summary[edit | edit source]

In this lesson, you have learned:

  • How to greet people (שָׁלוֹם).
  • How to say and ask for names (קוֹרְאִים לִי...).
  • How to ask and say how you are (טוֹב).
  • Genders.

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.


Next lesson: Basic 2 >>>

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. In the dialogue Sarah switched the קוֹרְאִים (qor'im) and לִי (li) (she said לִי קוֹרְאִים שָׂרָה. (Li qor'im Sarah). She said it in this fashion to contrast between David's question and her response. In other words, it was as if she was saying: “Your name is David? Well, my name is Sarah”. Note the emphasis on the “my”.