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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:


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, and the Heblish Group on Facebook, next Thursday, you may see something verrrry interesting. 

Lehitraot in lesson 47 (December 2nd)

You are welcome to join our group on Facebook

Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 34


Free Hebrew lessons – August 2010 – Training – Day 34:


I really don’t understand why everybody says it’s hot. I’m sitting here at my computer, drinking a cup of hot tea, listening to beautiful music, the air conditioner is on… and everything is OK… 😉

In our previous lesson we learned how to say maim (water) and shamaim (sky). We learned the word for “of / belonging to”, shel and its inflections, and we mentioned again the 3 tenses in Hebrew: past, present and future.

Today we’ll take another step ahead and learn 3 new words and their inflections.

Today’s menu: The present – singular form

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

In Hebrew there are 7 different forms of verbs.

Let’s imagine seven different buildings, each building holds one form.  If you know how to conjugate one word in a building, you can do that for all the other “neighbors” (the other verbs in that building).

Hebrew is a very structured language, but I’m not sure if I’m going to teach you in the traditional way, like I learned in school. Now you might want to say, “goodbye Yaron, it was nice to meet you, see you one day – maybe…”

So what I’m going to do is, teach you the main rules which effect the most conjugations, or persons.

The present

Rule number 1
In the present – there are only 4 inflections for EVERY Hebrew verb:
– Singular for (m) – (m) means masculine
– Singular for (f) – (f) means feminine
– Plural for (m)
– Plural for (f)

Today we will learn only the singular form.

English subject pronouns Hebrew subject pronouns
I / I am Ani
You / you are (m) Ata
You / you are (f) At
He / he is (m) Hu
She / she is (f)  Hi (remember, the “i” sounds like “ee”)


Where is the “it” subject pronoun?
You sometimes say that Hebrew is a difficult language, but I’m not sure about that… in English there is a subject pronoun “it,” but there is no “it” in Hebrew.

Dogs and men are the same… oh, wait… wait… I wanted to say… OK, dogs and men are the same ;-)… but I meant to say that human beings, animals and objects are the same, in Hebrew. There are no words like “it“, “which” or “who,” which can tell us if we are talking about a man or about his dog…

NOTE:  Remember, in Hebrew there is no word for “am/is/are” – it is inferred in “ani, ata, hu,” etc.  In other words, “ani” means “I” and/or “I am”; “ata” means “you” and/or “you are”; “hu” means “he” and/or “he is,” and so forth.  It takes a little getting used to for the English speaker, but it is really a great feature of the Hebrew language.

Today’s new words: sit, write & learn


  I / I am (m)Ani You / you are (m)Ata He / he is Hu
Sit / sitting yoshev yoshev yoshev
Write / writing kotev kotev kotev
Learn / learning lomed lomed lomed


I, you, he:
Sit – Ani yoshev, ata yoshev, hu yoshev.
Write – Ani kotev, ata kotev, hu kotev.
Learn – Ani lomed, ata lomed, hu lomed.



  I / I am (f)Ani You / you are (f)At She / she is Hi
Sit / sitting yoshevet yoshevet yoshevet
Write / writing kotevet kotevet kotevet
Learn / learning lomedet lomedet lomedet


I, you, she:
Sit – Ani yoshevet, at yoshevet, hi yoshevet.
Write – Ani kotevet, at kotevet, hi kotevet.
Learn – Ani lomedet, at lomedet, hi lomedet.

From the two tables above you can see two things:

1. In Hebrew there are no “present simple” and “present progressive” tenses – there is only one form of “present,” and the verb remains the same for the singular persons, depending on the gender.

2. The difference between masculine and feminine is the “et” on the end of the feminine verbs. “Et” is the suffix for most feminine singular verbs. Most, but not every…


After you worked so hard today, I have a beautiful story about a “present” to show you. It is more a gift than a present… You are welcome to read it here: The present.

Lehitraot in lesson 35 …

You are welcome to join our group on Facebook: 

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