Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 52

In and on

Free Hebrew lessons – January 2011 – Training – Day 52


Ma shlom^em hayom? – How are you (plural) today?

Today is Tu Bishvat holiday.
Tu Bi’shvat is the fifteenth in the Hebrew month – Shvat. In Hebrew numerology, “tu” is fifteen.
This holiday is the holiday of the trees. We plant many new trees and eat a lot of fruit, like: Teenim (te-e-nim) – figs, tsimukim – raisins, tmarim – palms…

two yellow lemons with dripping water

In our previous lesson we talked about the Hebrew accent, and I showed you how important it is.

Today, we will talk about something that causes me lots of trouble in English…
It is not easy, therefore, we will learn it in two lessons, today and next Thursday, so please be focused.

Today’s menu: In and on

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

When I write in English, I make a lot of mistakes when I use “in” and “on.”
For example, I can’t see the difference between “June” and “June 13,” but you say “in June,” and “on June 13.” 

Let’s see how we use these words in Hebrew.

I will start with “on” since it’s easier… 😉

You say “on” and I say al.
But… when I say al, in most cases I mean that something is laying on something else:
– The book is on the table – ha’sefer al ha’shul^an (table – shul^an).
– I have a hat on my head – Yesh li kova al ha’rosh sheli (a hat – kova, head – rosh).
– I (f) sit on the chair – Ani yoshevet al ha’kise. (sit (f)yoshevet, chair – kise – pay attention to the “e” sound).

For “in” in Hebrew, we say “be” (pay attention to the “e” sound…) and “ba.”
Before we start, let’s understand the difference between be and ba.

In Hebrew “be” and “ba” is only one letter (the letter “b”), and it’s always connected to the next word.

Be and ba is the translation for “in” and sometimes also for “at” and “on“… (Don’t panic, I will teach you about it next lesson). 

Be represents “in.”
Ba usually represents two words “in + the” or, as Bob said in our Facebook group: “Ba, I understood, means “in the”, where the “aaa” sound represents the word “the” , like “in the garden” as opposed to “in Kew Gardens.”

Yes, usually, but not always!

Examples for be:
– My necklace is in a green box – Ha’sharsheret sheli be‘kufsa yeruka (necklace – sharsheret, box – kufsa, green (f)yeruka)
– There is an elephant in a zoo – Yesh pil be‘gan ^ayiot (elephant – pil, zoo – gan ^ayiot. The meaning  is “a garden for animals”)
– I have a ring in my right pocket – Yesh li tabaat be‘kis yamin sheli (pocket – kis [sounds like “kiss”])
– I want (m) coffee in a big glass – Ani rotse cafe bekos gdola (glass – kos, big (f)gdola)

As you can see, in Hebrew we actually say “in a box green / in pocket right mine” and “in a glass big…” {For example: be’kos (in a glass) big (gdola)}. That is because in Hebrew the adjective comes after the noun. 

Examples for ba:
– She will come in the morning – Hi tavo baboker
– I have a ring in the pocket – Yesh li tabaat ba‘kis (pocket – kis).
– He puts the ball in the basket – Hu sam et ha’kadur basal (puts (m)sam, ball – kadur, basket – sal)
– She is standing in the bus – Hi omedet ba‘otobus (standing (f)omedet)


New words we’ve mentioned today (a good opportunity to learn them):

English Hebrew (Heblish)
How are you (plural) ? Ma shlom^em?
Fig / figs Teena (f) / teenim (p) (sounds like te-enim)
Raisin / raisins Tsimuk (m) / tsimukim (p)
Palm / palms (the fruits) Tamar (m)  / tmarim (p)
On Al
Table Shul^an (m) (table is masculine in Hebrew)
Hat Kova (m)
Head Rosh (m)
Sit Yoshev (m), yoshevet (f)
Chair Kise (m)
Necklace Sharsheret (f)
Box Kufsa (f)
Green Yarok (m), yeruka (f)
Elephant Pil (m), pila (f)
Zoo Gan ^ayiot (m)
Pocket Kis (m)
Glass Kos (f)
Big Gadol (m), gdola (f)
Puts (third person) Sam (m), sama (f)
Ball Kadur (m)
Basket Sal (m)
Stand (standing) Omed (m), omedet (f)


That’s it. Take a breath and have a wonderful day!

Lehitraot in lesson 52…

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