Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 53

At and on

Free Hebrew lessons – January 2011 – Training – Day 53

Shalom ^averim, (Hello friends)

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of  Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp from WWII.  Of course, this is a very important day in Israel, and to Jews all over the world.  Please join me in celebrating the courage and strength of Holocaust survivors everywhere.

In our previous lesson we mentioned the Tu Bi’shvat holiday and talked about “in” and “on.”
We have learned that “on,” which indicates position, is “al” in Hebrew. We also learned when to use “be” and “ba” instead of “in.”

Here I have to admit that in the case of “in, on” and “at,” Hebrew and English act differently. It is not like comparing apple to apple, but I want to show you how we use these words, so at least you get an idea how they work in Hebrew.  

Today we will continue to talk about “at” and “on.”

Today’s menu: At & on

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

At & be
In our previous lesson I gave you some examples for “in” and “be,” as in: “There is an elephant in a zoo – Yesh pil began ^ayiot“. Here are some examples for “at” and “be“:
– I woke up at nine – Hitorarti betesha (I woke up – hitorartihit-o-rar-ti).
– She will come at five – Hi tavo be‘^amesh (will come (f)tavo).
Here you can see that when we are talking about “time” we use “be” instead of “at.”

At & ba
One of the concepts we learned last week was “in the” and “ba.”

I also gave you some examples for “in the” and “ba,” such as: “She will come in the morning – Hi tavo baboker.”

When we say “she will come”: In the morning / at noon or at night, we use “ba,” since the “at” for “noon” and “night” is actually “in the,” like you use in English for “in the morning.”
– She will come in the morning – Hi tavo baboker.
– She will come at noon – Hi tavo ba‘tsohoraim.
– She will come at night – Hi tavo balaila.

On & ba
– I saw a great movie on TV – Raiti seret tov ba‘televizia (movie – seret).
– I’m on my bed – Ani ba‘mita sheli (bed – mita)
– I am talking on the telephone – Ani medaberet batelephone.

On & ba/be
– I have a test on Tuesday – Yesh li miv^an beyom shlishi.
– She will come on June 13 – Hi tavo ba’13 beYuni (June – Yuni. In Hebrew we put the day before the month).

We have seen that “at” can be either “be” or “ba” in Hebrew, and I can tell you that sometimes we use “etsel” instead of “at,” as in: “I will be at Susan’s – Ani eheye etsel Susan“…
Yes, it is confusing.
As I said last week, “When I write in English, I make a lot of mistakes when using “in” and “on””, but that’s life – nothing is perfect, and it is the same with the translation between languages.

Lehitraot in lesson 54…

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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…

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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BTW, last week I placed a “Like,” if you want to use it…  😉

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Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 46

Special letters – b, p, k

Free Hebrew lessons – November 2010 – Training – Day 46

Shalom, ma shlom^em? (Hi, how are you [plural] doing?)

Today I will introduce you to three special Hebrew letters. 

In our previous lesson we started to talk… We built many sentences using words we previously learned and some verbs that we’ve learned lately. At the end of the lesson I said that you may have some questions and if you didn’t, something was wrong… because I used some inflections you haven’t seen before.

I received many e-mails and a few comments on Facebook and our Heblish website. I highly recommend that you use our Heblish group on Facebook or simply place a comment here.

Anyway, most of you asked me “how it can be, that a verb such as “break” – “shover“, becomes “eshbor” in the future tense?”

Today, we will review three special Hebrew letters which will answer this question. 


Today’s menu: Special letters – b, p, k

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

In Hebrew there are six letters called the “begged-keffet” letters which, in some cases, can get a special emphasis, a dagesh (a dot in the middle of the letter).

When these letters get this special emphasis, they have a different pronunciation.

However, in the last 60 years, three of these six “begged-keffet” letters lost their uniqueness, so in Hebrew we pronounce them the same, whether they have that emphasis or not.

The other three letters which have two different sounds are: b, p and k.

As I mentioned before, this will happen only in certain conditions, but we won’t learn the conditions since we are not learning Hebrew Punctuation, yet.

In this special condition, the letter “b” can also be pronounced as “v“; the “p” as “f” and the “k” can also be “^.”  You can review the use of “^” and listen to the sound it makes here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTJoip09FnU


If you remember from our last lesson, one of our examples was:

Present Tense: Ani shover et ha’bakbuk – I break the bottle.

Past tense: Shavarti et ha’bakbuk – I broke the bottle.

You see that I used “shoVer” and “shaVarti” for present tense and past tense, even though the root is “sh.b.r.”, but when I say these words in the future tense, I say:  eshBor… – I will break…

In Hebrew it’s the same letter “b“, but the special condition I talked about causes that letter to be pronounced differently.

Some of you asked me if this happens only in the future tense. The answer is “no,” and the reason is that we are teaching simple Hebrew using English letters. People who need to learn complex Hebrew will need to study and master the Hebrew alphabet to fully learn the language. Our goal here is to teach students some useful words and phrases, and introduce basic Hebrew.

Here is another example for p (p/f): sofer – count:

Ani sofer, ata sofer, at soferet, hu sofer, hi soferet.. (I, you (m), you (f), he, she) count(s). 

Safarti, safarta, safart, hu safar, hi safra (I, you (m), you (f), he, she) counted.

Espor, tispor, tisperi, hu ispor, hi tispor… (I, you (m), you (f), he, she) will count.


Let’s see what happens to the following words (these words are new for you):

– I build – ani bone.
– I want to build – ani rotse livnot.

– I’m writing – ani kotev.
– I want to write – ani rotse li^tov.

– The balls have been counted – ha’kadurim (kadurim = balls) nisperu.
– I counted them again – safarti otam shuv (shuv = again).

The same verbs, the same letters, but a different sound for one of the letters: b, p and k.

In this lesson I only wanted to show the idea, even though I didn’t teach you “why” it happens. I want to remind you that all the rules in Hebrew have been taken from… you guessed it, the Bible. So when you think about it that way, every Thursday you are touching a piece of history…

Next Thursday, November 25th, is Thanksgiving Day, so we will not have a lesson, but if you watch your e-mail, free-hebrew.com and the Heblish Group on Facebook, next Thursday, you may see something verrrry interesting. 

Lehitraot in lesson 47 (December 2nd)

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