Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 14

Free Hebrew lessons – March 2010 – Training – Day 14:

Shalom le’kulam – Hi everyone,

Day 14 of the Heblish Challenge and we’re going to have an exciting day.

In our previous lessons we talked about “numbers” and the special use of the numbers e^ad and shtaim (one and two).

You might ask yourself why I used e^ad which is masculine, and shtaim which is feminine, when I spoke of the abstract numbers in the above sentence.  (An abstract number is a number that does not count nouns.)

The answer is: solecism (a solecism is a common error).

The rule in Hebrew is – unless we are counting nouns, we use feminine numbers when we are simply counting or calculating, and also for telephone numbers, paragraphs, houses, buses, pages, or section numbers. We can (but we don’t have to) add the word “mispar” (number) before the number, as in “amud mispar shtaim” (page no. two). 

But, as I said before, there is a solecism for the number one, and most Israelis use the masculine number one, e^ad, even when all the other numbers are feminine.


   – One, two, three, four… ten. –  E^ad, shtaim, shalosh, arba, ^amesh, shesh, sheva, shmone, tesha, eser (all feminine numbers since we are simply counting, except for the masculine number one – e^ad)

   – Hey, this is bus number 7… – Hey, ze otobus mispar sheva…

   – Please, open the book to page 9 – Bevakasha, open the sefer to amud tesha.

Today is going to be a cool lesson, because we’re going to talk about the simple tenses in the Hebrew language and play a little game.

Today’s menu: Tenses, some new words (number, page, bus, only, in) and a game

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

We know that English has 7 tenses, such as: Past simple, past progressive, present perfect, future tense, etc…

In the Bible there are only two tenses… yes, only two (ken, rak shnaim,) past and future. There is no (ein) present tense in the Bible!

But modern Hebrew has shlosha (three) tenses: Past, present and future.
For those who asked me, Japanese also has 3 main tenses: past (過去), present (現在) and future (未来).

In lesson 9 we learned how to say “I want, I see” and “I understand” which are in the Present Tense.

   Feminine Masculine
I want Ani rotsa Ani rotse
I see Ani roa Ani roe
I understand Ani mevina Ani mevin


When we speak in the first person past tense, it becomes simpler because there is no gender.

First person – Past tense Past tense
I wanted Ratsiti
I saw Raiti
I understood Hevanti


Let’s learn some more words…

First person – Past tense Past tense
I said Amarti
I took Laka^ti
I was Haiti (please, don’t pronounce it like the name of Haiti!)
I bought Kaniti



   – I wanted one dress but I actually bought two – Ratsiti simla a^at but actually kaniti shtaim… 😉

   – I was in Japan, but now I’m in
Israel – Haiti be‘Yapan, but now ani be’Israel.*

   – I said (that) I took two dresses but I also wanted a ring, so I bought two dresses and one ring – Amarti that laka^ti shtey smalot, but ratsiti gam tabaat, so kaniti shtey smalot ve’tabaat a^at.

*) Japan – Yapan
   Israel  – You pronounce it “Izrel” and “Izrael”, but we say… Israel (iss-ra-el).

Listen to the pronunciations of the sentences above (27 seconds on YouTube)

And now you have a small crossword-puzzle…

1. Also
4. Where

2. I / I am
3. No

We learned a lot today and I hope you enjoyed the lesson.

Lehitraot in lesson 15…

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Comments: 11 Comments

11 Responses to “Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 14”

  1. Peggy says:

    Yaron, Google has a whole list of your Heblish lessons.
    I sort of had to laugh because in lesson 11, you gave the word “ein” for “there is no” but in german it means “a” and “one”… Your Hebrew lessons are really good.

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  10. sylvie says:

    i was wondering about the use of ani in past tense.when you say i wanted one dress,ratsiti simla a^at,must you say ‘ani ratsiti simla a^at’? as in ‘I wanted one dress compared to ‘wanted one dress’?

  11. Yaron says:

    Hi Sylvie,

    Ratsiti, means “I wanted,” so it will be wrong to say “ani ratsiti” (for this case) since in the word “ratsiti” I already talked about myself.
    The final letter (vowel) of “ratsiti” has the final letter “i” of “ani”.

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