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Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 42

Definite and Indefinite

Free Hebrew lessons – October 2010 – Training – Day 42

Hello everyone,

I really appreciate your comments on our Heblish Facebook group.  Here’s a recent question from Helen in France:

Shalom, Yaron.
In lesson 1 you translate “yeled” by ” boy”. In lesson 41 you translate “kshe’haiti yeled” by “when I was a child.” Does this mean that yeled is the same word for “child” and “boy?”
Also in lesson 41 you gave us “mezeg avir” and tell us the rule for “the” in case of two nouns in close proximity. In this case “mezeg” and “avir“, could you tell us what each noun mean in English? Lehitraot.

And here is my response:

Hi Helen,
First, I’m happy to know that you are really “digging deep” with our Heblish course.
1) You are right, for “boy” and “child” the word is “yeled“. (For “son” the word is “ben.“)

2) Weather (mezeg avir) – “mezeg” is “temper” and “avir” means “air,” so when you put that together we are talking about the temper of the air, as we might talk about someone who has a good or bad temper.


In our previous lesson we talked about weather (mezeg avir). I told you that it is autumn (stav) here – now I have to say it feels like summer (kaits) has come back… it’s very hot again. I believe you call this “Indian Summer,” which is the name for those few days of hot, summer weather, that always seem to slip in after stav has begun. It is a pleasant reminder that although leaves are falling and the weather is getting cooler; kaits WILL come again, in its season.


In one of our next lessons we’ll try to “exercise” some words we have already learned. I don’t want to just fatten you with new words and verbs, and then leave you guessing when and how to use them.   


Today’s menu: Definite and Indefinite 

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.


In English you use the indefinite article “a” to talk about someone or something previously unknown to you, as in:

“We spoke to a photographer yesterday.” 

First, let’s learn the words:
   – We spoke:  dibarnu
   – to a (also “with”):  im
   – photographer: tsalam
   – yesterday: etmol


Now that we have introduced the photographer, we can use the definite article “the“:

“The photographer said he can deliver the pictures tomorrow.”

   – The photographer: ha‘tsalam
   – said he can: amar she’hu ya^ol – “said” is amar. Here we actually say “that he can.” For “that” we use “she” in Hebrew; (if you don’t remember how to pronounce the “e” sound, please go back and read lesson 4, or watch this short video on YouTube: The sound of the vowel E (13 seconds).
“he” is hu (you should know that already), and “can” is ya^ol.
   – deliver: lishloa^
   – the pictures: et ha’tmunot
   – tomorrow: ma^ar.

It is important to understand that in Hebrew, there is no word for “a.” 
When we say “tsalam,” we assume “a photographer,” unless it is a specific photographer, in which case we use “ha (the)” before photographer.  So, in Hebrew if you don’t see the “ha” before a noun, you know it is “a”_____ (noun). 


Today we learned a few new words.
We also learned that, although in English we use the indefinite article “a” when we talk about someone or something previously unknown to us, for example “a photographer,” in Hebrew we only use the noun itself (tsalam). Again, in Hebrew there is no indefinite article “a.”    

For a refresher on the use of the definite article “ha,” please look at lesson 7.

“A”… ”the”… what’s the big deal anyway?!  I know, it seems silly to spend a whole lesson on these little words, but a proper understanding of their use is critical.  The holidays are coming up – what if your husband or boyfriend said “do you want A ring,” (any old ring) or “do you want THE ring” (the ring you have been dreaming of, looking at for months)…ahhh, those little words do matter!  😉 


Lehitraot in lesson 43…

Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 41


Free Hebrew lessons – October 2010 – Training – Day 41

Shalom ^averim (hello friends), 

In our previous lessons we learned some new verbs and short sentences like “what are you doing?”, “I’m eating,”  “what happened?” etc…

While I’m writing this lesson on Tuesday evening, my heart is in Chile. Within a few hours they will start the exciting operation of extricating the 33 trapped miners from a depth of about 700 meters under the ground. When you read this on Thursday I hope that everything is over, and the operation will have been a success.


After two “heavy” lessons, I want to give you a light lesson and to talk about the weather.

Today’s menu: Weather 

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.


You say summer and I say kaits.

Last summer was very hot. We can see that year after year – the weather seems to get hotter. We can all help the quality of our environment by practicing being “green” – recycling, driving cars with lower emissions, etc. 

* Quality of the environment – ei^ut ha’sviva, in Hebrew.

So, kaits has ended and autumn is here.


Autumn / Fall
For autumn we say stav.

Stav in Israel is very short. It only lasts about a month, or less.

I like this season (ona) because it’s not too hot and not too cold, you can breathe and feel alive.

The only problem here is that our government returned to standard time very early. That means it is dark here at 5 P.M…I don’t like that.


For winter we say ^oref.

When I was a child (kshe’haiti yeled), we had a lot of rain here during the ^oref. I remember we sailed paper ships in the puddles, or walked with boots, but today we only have a real ^oref maybe once in five years. It seems like we mostly have rainless years.

That’s bad, but any problem can also be an opportunity to invent and develop new ideas and technology.

Of course there are many ways to create water, like water desalination (hatpalat maim).  Fifteen years ago I invented a way to make water from the air, but I found that someone invented that six months before me…


For spring we say aviv.
Aviv is the favorite season (ona) almost everywhere in the world.

As Passover symbolizes a beginning (the Exodus – yetsiat mitsraim, in Hebrew), and Aries is the first symbol of the Zodiac (galgal ha’mazalot), spring (ha’aviv) symbolizes a beginning… it is no wonder that they are both in the same season.

BTW, another name of Passover is ^ag ha’aviv (the holiday of the spring).


For weather we say mezeg avir.

In Hebrew, when a sentence has two nouns in close proximity, like “mezeg + avir,” and you want to emphasize “the weather,” you should use the “ha” sound before the second noun, like this “mezeg ha‘avir“, not “ha’mezeg avir“.


It looks like we’ve learned only 5 words today:
Kaits – summer
Stav – autumn
^oref – winter
Aviv – spring
Mezeg avir – weather

But we’ve learned more:
Ona – season
Ei^ut ha’sviva – quality of the environment
Kshe’haiti – when I was
Yeled – child
Hatpalat maim – water desalination… there’s one you won’t use very often.  😉
Yetsiat mitsraim – the Exodus
Galgal ha’mazalot – the Zodiac
^ag – holiday


That’s it. We talked about the four seasons we have in a year (shana), and you learned a little bit about mezeg ha’avir and seasons in Israel.  I really hope you all get the chance to visit Israel one day – it is a beautiful country, with friendly people and plenty of history to see and study.

And one more thing before the end of this Hebrew lesson…
After our previous lesson I received three important comments by Bob, Judy and Conny on our Heblish Facebook group. I think that’s it’s a great way to learn more Hebrew. If you haven’t yet joined our Heblish group on Facebook, this is the time to do that.

Lehitraot in lesson 42…