negation in Hebrew.

why not (1)
Shlomi

Shlomi

Hebrew teacher by trade. An Unemployed philosopher & a frustrated artist. Come learn Hebrew with me.

negation in Hebrew.

In this Hebrew lesson, we will learn about negation in the Hebrew language.
In Hebrew, there are 4 dominate ways to negate a word or a sentence.

which are: לא,אל,אי,בלתי
The first and the most popular is the word “לא” which simply means “NO“.

This is the word you will use to say “NO”, and the word you will use to deny questions and requests. we can negate nouns, verbs, and complete sentences with it.
Here are some examples of how to use “no” in Hebrew.

No, I can’t come today – לא, אני לא יכול לבוא היום
I don’t care – לא אכפת לי
I don’t know – אני לא יודע
It’s not it – זה לא זה
why not – למה לא
It’s not mine – זה לא שלי
No more – לא עוד
Not yet – עוד לא
It’s not possible – זה לא אפשרי

The second most popular word we use to negate in Hebrew is “אל“.
which will normally use as an equivalent to the function of the word “Don’t” in English.
the way we use in Hebrew the word “אל” is to negate verbs that suggest imperative or request. There are rare occasions that the word “אל” will appears before a noun but 99% of the time it will appear before a verb at the beginning of the sentence. And since it appears in a form of Imperative or request it will appear before a verb in the future tense in the second person.

Pro-Tip; Since all second person future tenses in Hebrew start with the letter “ת”. The structure will be- “…אל ת”.

Here are some examples of how to use “Don’t” in Hebrew.
(because in Hebrew there are differences in conjugating the second person masculine feminine and plural there is more than one option to translate “you” )

Don’t speak – אל תדבר, אל תדברי, אל תדברו
Don’t be scared – אל תפחד, אל תפחדי, אל תפחדו
Don’t come – אל תבוא, אל תבואי, אל תבואו
Don’t forget – אל תשכח, אל תשכחי, אל תשכחו
Don’t cry – אל תבכה, אל תבכי,אל תבכו

pay attention: in the Bible, the word can be used more loosely and can appear before nouns like in this famous phrase
which is:” Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you -:הָרֵי בַגִּלְבֹּעַ, אַל-טַל וְאַל-מָטָר עֲלֵיכֶם”
(This passage was taken from David’s Lamentation. He is cursing the mountain that upon them Saul and Jonathan has fallen)

The third word we use to negate is “אי
The usage of this word is rarer than the first two words on this list and fit only a small specific list of words in the Hebrew language.
Here is a short list of the most popular ones.

Not possible – אי אפשר
Discomfort – אי-נוחות
Lack of Self-consciousness – אי מודעות עצמית
Injustice – אי -צדק
Uncertainty – אי-ודאות
Uneven – אי זוגי
Lack of knowledge – אי ידיעה
Unpleasantness אי נעימות
Inequality- אי שוויון
Irrational – אי רציונלי

Here are some examples of how to use this words in a sentence.
It’s not possible to do it now – אי אפשר לעשות את זה עכשיו.
It’s an uneven number – זה מספר לא זוגי
The lack of Self-consciousness about the injustice in our world is part of the reason that inequality and injustice still exist –
חוסר מודעות עצמית על אי הצדק בעולמנו הוא חלק מהסיבה שאי שיוויון ואי צדק עדיין קיימים

Pay Attention: The word “אי” by itself means “an island” in Hebrew

The fourth and the most strongest word we use to negate is “בלתי“. This word like the previous one also comes only with specific words and is rarely.
and when we use it normally we mean that something “cannot be” in any circumstances

Here is a short list of the most popular ones.
Invisible – בלתי נראה
Unreasonable – בלתי סביר
Impossible – בלתי אפשרי
Ilegal – בלתי חוקי
Unforgettable – בלתי נשכח
irreversible – בלתי הפיך

Here are some examples of how to use this words in a sentence.
Yesterday we saw the movie Misson Impossible – אתמול ראינו את הסרט משימה בלתי אפשרית
It’s Unreasonable to learn Hebrew in one month – זה בלתי סביר ללמוד עברית בחודש
It’s not impossible to learn Hebrew – זה לא בלתי אפשרי ללמוד עברית

Here is a nice song in Hebrew that starts and repeats the lines.

אל תלכי מכאן. לא, לא, אל תלכי מכאן”
“יש לי רק אותך, יש לי רק אותך
“Don’t go from here. no, no, don’t go away from here
I have only you, all I have is you”

Plagues of Egypt – עשר המכות

in this post, we will review the ten plagues that God inflicted on Egypt.
But before we start with the plagues let’s clarify something, in Hebrew, it’s not ‘plagues’. it is – ‘מכות’ – which are hits or blows which is the plural form of the Hebrew word: blow, strike, hit – מכה.
so, back to the plagues that are called in Hebrew “עשר המכות” or “עשר מכות מצרים” or “מכות מצרים”
Ten – עשר
Hits, strike – מכות
Egypt – מצרים


1) blood – דם
2) Frog – צפרדע
3) Lice – כינים
4) a mix Wild malicious animals – ערוב – (This word has the same root like the word mix in Hebrew, for example, the phrase ‘mix crowd ‘ is ‘קהל מעורב’ in Hebrew 

5)Diseased livestock – דבר – ( originally in the Bible this was a disease that struck the cattle, can be used in modern Hebrew on certain occasions as a synonym for the word ‘plague’ )
6) Boils – שחין – (a skin diseased)
7)Hail – ברד (which function not only as hail in Hebrew but can be used as the word for ‘slurpee’ as well)
8) Locusts – ארבה
9) Darkness – חושך
10)Death of firstborn – מכת בכורות – (in this one God strike – הכה/מכה all the elder’s son of Egypt.(בכור means in Hebrew ‘elder’ )

sayings and quotes in the Hebrew language

In this Hebrew tutorial, we will learn about Hebrew sayings that have words in them that refer to body parts in Hebrew. therefor the objective of this Hebrew lesson is to teach you popular sayings in Hebrew and review the names of body parts in Hebrew. So let’s start

 

An eye for an eye - עין תחת עין

In Hebrew the word ‘עין‘ means eye but the word ‘תחת‘ means ‘under’ or ‘bottom’ (In Hebrew the word ‘תחתונים’ means ‘underwear’).So actually there are two words that signify body parts. but in this case, the meaning of the word  ‘תחת’ actually means ‘instead’ or ‘in place of’ 

 

A tooth for a tooth - שן תחת שן

In this saying, we get the same structure but instead of the word ‘eye’ there is the word ‘tooth’ which is ‘שן’ in Hebrew

Life and death in the hand of the tongue - חיים ומוות ביד הלשון

This saying means that your word and what you say carries serious consequences that can end up to matters of life and death.your life or death to be exact.There is no parallel example in English (at least as far as I know. If you know of one please write it in the comments below)life or death to be exact.        Life and Death – חיים ומוות ,At the hand, By the hand, In the hand – ביד. (In this case, it means that the tongue holds in its hand the power of life and death), The tongue – הלשון                                                                  

p;s: In this saying there are 3 prepositions (ו-and,ב-at/in,ה-the) if you are a beginner and want to learn more about prepositions in Hebrew go to this link.

 

                                  

                                                                   

  

a hand washing a hand - יד רוחצת יד

This saying is the Hebrew equivalent to the English “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours” but in Hebrew we use the word ‘hand’ – יד , and since in Hebrew the word hand is feminine we get the verb “to wash” – “לרחוץ“conjugated in his present feminine form – “רוחצת”

To go with your head in the wall -
ללכת עם הראש בקיר

This saying refers to someone that act to resolve a problem or to get something with brute force with unlikely chances  of success .(sometimes out of stupidity or from no other good chooses) In English, this is the closest parallel that I managed to find – “to go/up against the wall“.  (to go – ללכת, with – עם, the wall- הקיר, head – ראש)

 

from mouth to ear - מפה לאוזן

In the Hebrew language, this means information (rumors, the location of a good restaurant,.. ) that has been delivered and spread by informal manners by the people. The equivalent in English is “a word of mouth“. (mouth –פה , ear – אוזן)

 

(from) under your nose - מתחת לאף

Like in English this phrase means that something is in a place that you can see it clearly. Think of someone who is looking for his glasses while wearing them. In Hebrew can be referred to situations that you should be aware of but fail to see.           (bottom / under – תחת,nose – אף)

Bhind the back - מאחורי הגב

Unlike “under your nose” (מתחת לאף) in which you should be utterly stupid or gullible to not know what’s going on. In this saying “it’s o.k” not to know because it going on “behind your back“. (from behind – מאחור, back – גב)

straight to someone's face - ישר בפנים

A key phrase for understanding 50% of how people in Israel conduct themselves (in the other 50% we are just rude for no  apparent reason). like in English, the meaning of the saying is – To be honest with someone even if it seems rude. (straight – ישר, face – פנים)

shlomi@hebrewonthebar

[email protected]

Hebrew teacher, unemployed philosopher & a frustrated artist. love to cook and hate lose, especially in chess

THE NAME OF BOARD GAMES IN HEBREW

THE NAMES OF GAMES IN HEBREW

שמות של משחקים בעברית

in this post, we will learn some Hebrew words that we use to describe games especially board games. And a short explanation about their origin  

But before, I am sure you would like to know how to write “game” in Hebrew.      Game – משחק  /// Games – משחקים  

The word ‘chess’ -‘שחמט” came to from Persian and is the equivalent to the “cheekmate” in English. Only we used it as the name of the game.                                                                                          The term checkmate is an alteration of the Persian phrase “shāh māt”  which means, literally, “the King is helpless”. 

chess

chess -שחמט

tic tak to game

tic tak to - איקס מיקס דריקס

tik tak toאיקס מיקס דריקס is borrowed from the English language, not the exact words, but the spirit nonsense that comes with the term. x  -איקס, mix – מיקס, driks – דריקס

The game also called

  איקס עיגול = x, circle                                                                                     

Rubik’s cube – קובייה הונגרית

why cube is self explanatory.

why Hungarian?

simple, the inventor of the cube is an Hungarian named Erno Rubik 

rubik's cube/קובייה הונגרית

backgammon/שש-בש

Backgammon – שש-בש

six – שש

five – בש (In Turkish)

Backgammon is dice game (we use the same word for cube and dice in Hebrew).And the name is basically the combination of this numbers in the dice.                                    p.s: you can’t use the word בש as five. 

checkers – דמקה                                       The word “דמקה”  came from Russian (they stole it from the Persian) and what it means is “queen” 

 

 

checkers/דמקה

Taki - טאקי

An advance version of crazy eight

An israeli game - the name has no meaning

The root meaning of the words: ראש & שנה

happy new year in Hebrew

Hebrew lesson: ראש השנה - the new year

Today we will review the holiday term, the root and the true meaning of the word – ראש & שנה

Let’s start with “שנה טובה” which means ‘happy new year’
The word
טובה׳‘ is an adjective that means ‘good’ in feminine form.                                                                                                  The word שנה׳‘ (which is in feminine form. All Hebrew nouns have a gender!)
Comes from the root
ש.נ.ה which is the root for the word ‘change’. The connection is clear. The word ‘שנה‘ which symbolizes a change of years share the same root as the word ‘change’. With words like:, (to change) לשנות,
(Change)
שינוי,

You might know the term “זה לא משנה” (“it doesn’t change a thing”, or “it doesn’t matter”). And the reason “it doesn’t matter” because nothing has changed! 

But what about the word “ראש”  that is the first of “ראש השנה”.     The word “ראש” means “head”. And if we want to dive head on  to  the Hebrew language we will discover that the word “ראש” (“head”) is in use to refers to being first  in words like: “בראשית”- the beginning, Genesis/ ראשון – first/ ראש חודש – the first day of the month/                                                                    Which is the date of  “ראש השנה”

 By the way, the word חודש׳‘ which means ‘a month’ derives from the root ח.ד.ש which is also the root for the word ‘new’ (חדש). which also connected to the news (חדשות)

 



 

happy new year in Hebrew

How to read the working/business hours signs in Hebrew

In this article, we will learn about letters in Hebrew that can appear by themselves as words in a sentence.

In European languages, a letter can stand on its own, a letter can appear alone in a sentence. Like the letter ”A”  in the sentence  “This is a dog”  in English. there are some examples in French as well like “je viens a paris”

As you all should already know, this is not the case in Hebrew. But there are some special exceptions.

The first and most important exception is the letter “ה“.

The letter –ה– when appears alone in a sentence normally is been used as a substitute for the word God.

So the sentence – בעזרת ה – means: in/with the help of God

So if you see a- ‘ה you can almost always replace it with the word God.

The reason for this strange phenomena is the reluctant of religious people to write the full name of God.

So they use the letter ‘ה instead of writing the name of God. as you can see in the image above.


Another way that we use single letters as words is when we refer to ‘the days of the week’.

working hours sign in Hebrew

So Sunday which is the first day of the week. Is in Hebrew ‘יום א the word יום means a day in Hebrew and normally it will appear before the letter.

(To learn more about ‘the days of the week’ check this post link.

And if you don’t know the Hebrew alphabet.This link to a video tutorial is a good place to start)

Sunday: ‘יום א

Monday is: ‘יום ב

Before we go on please note that the order of the days from the beginning of the week until Friday is with perfect correlation with the order of the Hebrew alphabet. So Sunday which is the first day of the week get the letter א to represent it. The letter א is the letter that starts the Hebrew alphabet.

In the same manner, Monday get the letter ב which is the second letter of the alphabet.

Tuesday will be ‘יום ג which is the third letter of the alphabet.

Wednesday will be ‘יום ד which is the fourth letter of the alphabet.

Thursday will be ‘יום ה which is the fifth letter of the alphabet.

Friday will be ‘יום ו which is the six letter of the alphabet.

Saturday is the only exception I which we use for short the letter ש which is the letter that starts the word שבת – “Shabat” which is Saturday.

So Saturday will be ‘יום ש

In Hebrew, you can see these phenomena especially in signs that announce the opening/working hours of establishments like, banks, government institutes, private businesses and more.

See the images above to get the idea. and see if you can understand them now!

Those examples are the ones that you most likely to encounter in Hebrew.

But there are some other examples of writing the date according to the Jewish calendar which combines from letters and not numbers.

FYI: besides really religious, people in Israel use numbers to mark a date like the rest of the world. But we do use them to mark the dates of our holidays. And sometimes you can see the Hebrew date along side the Gregorian calendar.

As you can see from the image below where the Hebrew date is written in small under the Gregorian date. the screenshot was taken from the popular Israeli news site YNT. (I circled it in red for you)

Question words in Hebrew.

LAMA -" why" in Hebrew
LAMA -" why" in Hebrew

In this post you will learn about questions words in the Hebrew langauge. 

But, I bet you wonder what a picture of a Lama has to do with it.The reason is that the word for Why in Hebrew is Lama-למה

 which sounds exactly the same as the name of the animal in the picture above.
Another option to say why in Hebrew is- מדוע
The word for Who in Hebrew is- מי
The word for When in Hebrew is- מתי
And The word for Where in Hebrew is –איפה
If you want to practice and see the question words (מילות שאלה) in Hebrew in sentences watch the video below   

The days of the week in Hebrew

Today I am going to kill two birds with one stone.

In this article you will learn: The days of the week in Hebrew. And as well, how to say in Hebrew: First, Second, Third…

Spoiler Alert: Up until Saturday  it’s the same for both 

Let’s talk about the days of the week.
Let’s start with Sunday.

Sunday in Hebrew is -יום ראשון
In Hebrew יום׳’ means ‘day’.
For example ‘׳היום means ‘today’
In English Sunday is the last day of the week. (yes I know, formally it is the beginning as well, but I believe in Garfield, not in formality)

 In Hebrew it starts the week, therefore it’s
The first day.
and in Hebrew ראשון is first.
it derives (share the same root, I will talk about the root system in Hebrew in a later post) from the word ראש׳’ (head)
Which is the first thing that pops out  at birth (The baby’s head)
So – יום ראשון – in which we encounter (head) first  literally means the first day (of the week)

Monday is יום שני
יום-day
שני -second.
The word שני in Hebrew literally means second. It’s derived from the Hebrew word for number two which is ‘שניים או שתיים’

Tuesday is -יום שלישי
יום- day
שלישי-third
Which derives from the number three שלוש׳’.

Wednesday is יום רביעי׳’
יום- day
רביעי- fourth
Which comes from ‘ארבע’
Which is the Hebrew word for number four.

Thursday- יום חמישי
יום- day
חמישי- fifth
Which (yes, you guess it right) comes from the word for number five which is ‘חמש’

Friday is -יום שישי
יום-day
שישי- sixth.
Comes from the word for the number six which is ‘שש’

Up until now, the names of “the days of  the week” are in perfect correlation with the way we say in Hebrew: first – ראשון, second – שני, …

But as you all know Saturday is a special day which functions as an exception in this case.

Saturday- יום שבת

יום -day

The word – שבת

Which comes from the root – ש.ב.ת –  signifies the action that came in to a halt, an action that have been seized, stopped…

Maybe you remember, from the Bible, that on the seven-day God stopped from all acts of creation and rested. By the way, the word for strike in Hebrew is “שביתה”

So the word Saturday – שבת- has a root connection to a word that means: to stop a regular action that you do for a while or longer (like your job) which in turn take us to the word  strike (Hebrew is poetically beautifull. right:)

But what about the word for number seven?

Well .. In Hebrew, the word for seven is: ‘שבע’ . Which mark’s the word for ‘a week’ -שבוע- . Because it has seven days in it.

So ,for  conclusion,
We learned the days of the week.

We learned that except the first and the last day of the week there is a strong root connection between the numbers and the days.

And we also learned to say the first the second…up to sixth.

Pay attention!!

The word – יום

in Hebrew is in masculine form. For feminine nouns we say the words: ‘first‘ – ראשונה , ‘second‘ – שנייה….

So it’s slightly different.

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Hebrew alphabet tutorial. Hebrew capital and cursive letters. video tutorial

in the video tutorial above.

you can discover and learn the Hebrew alphabet.

this is not only a simple lesson about the Hebrew alphabet.

It also contains tips and tricks and some advice about the “do’s and don’ts” for someone who is about to learn the Hebrew language.

here is a brief summary of some tips about the alphabet that you can find in the video above.

the letters – ב,כ,פ-  can have 2 different sounds in Hebrew. For example, the letter – ב –  can sound like or V.

How can you recognize which one is it when you read Hebrew?

well if the letter – ב –  start a Hebrew word it will always be a- B  – sound.

In Hebrew, we also have “END LETTERS”  which are 5 letters in The alphabet that are written differently when appears at the end of a word. This is for an aesthetical reason only. they sound the same, function the same, and the only change is that when they appear in the end the word in Hebrew they are written differently.

here are the all  “END LETTERS”

The letter – כ –  can be found at the end of Hebrew word in this form – ך –

The letter – מ –  can be found at the end of Hebrew word in this form – ם –

The letter – נ –  can be found at the end of Hebrew word in this form – ן –

The letter – פ –  can be found at the end of Hebrew word in this form – ף –

The letter – צ –  can be found at the end of Hebrew word in this form – ץ-

if you want to learn more.

see the video!

 register to our site to get a free online worksheet that will help you to learn the Hebrew Alphabet press this link

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