Heblish Lesson: Day 6

“Vocalizing” – Phonetic Lesson.

Free Heblish Challenge – January 2010 – Training – Day 6:


Welcome back to Day 6 of the Free Heblish Challenge!

This lesson is the last of our VIL (Very Important Lessons…) for your basic Hebrew.

Last week we talked about the sound of the 5 Heblish vowels: A, E, I, O and U.

If you missed lessons 4 and 5 please go back and read them before continuing with this lesson. Click here to find all the lessons from the beginning.

So, let’s see what’s going on today?

Today’s menu: Strange sounds

In our previous lessons we learned how to pronounce each Heblish vowel.  Today we’ll learn how to pronounce two (actually three) irregular Hebrew letters.

The letter: Tsadey

This letter’s name is “tsadey,” it sounds like “ts.”

It’s exactly like the “ts” of “it’s easy” or “let’s go” – the same sound, but in Hebrew we only use one letter to express this sound.

Let’s look at some examples, but don’t try to learn the Hebrew words – not yet, just try to “catch” the “ts” sound:

Egg – beitsa

Hawk – nets

Matzah – matsa

Juice – mits

Bracelet – tsamid

This is simple; it should be easy and familiar to you.


Het & Haf*

Short introduction:

Hebrew has 22 letters. Two of them, the “het” and “haf,” have a strange sound that will probably be awkward for you to express.

Take a deep breath… it’s not really difficult 😉

When we want to indicate this sound (the het or haf) in a word in our Heblish lessons, we will use the character “^”, because the English alphabet does not have this sound.

To understand what I mean, let’s go to YouTube, to hear some sounds.

Try to learn the sound which I’ve marked as ^ and train yourself to pronounce this unusual sound.

There are some videos below. Click and listen – don’t try to learn the Hebrew words, just listen to the strange sound.

Beetle ^ipushit (6 seconds on Youtube)


Cat ^atul (6 seconds on Youtube)


Chess Sha^ (13 seconds on Youtube)


Thread ^ut (5 seconds on Youtube)

In this video you will hear the ^ (het/haf) pronounced with each of the vowels. ^, ^a, ^e, ^I, ^o, ^u (12 seconds on Youtube)


Hats off!

We have finished the phonetic lessons, and you are still here… amazing!


In our next lesson we will learn some useful Hebrew conjunctions.

From now on you are really on your way, because you can express every word in the Hebrew language!

Lehitraot in lesson 7!

*) I told you before, that the two letters “Het” and “Haf” (or ^et and ^af) have the same sound.  Why do we use two letters for the same sound?  Many years ago there was a real difference between the letters “Het” and “Haf.”  But today only the oriental Jews (like the Yemenis or Iraqi Jews), and all of the Arabic people, still use different sounds for the “Het” and for the “Haf.”  All other Israelis express the sound of these two letters in the same way, and that’s why I used the same sign (the ^) for both the “Het” and “Haf.”

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