Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 15

WH Questions
Free Hebrew lessons – March 2010 – Training – Day 15:


Day 15 of the Heblish Challenge and we’re going to have an easy day.

In our previous lesson we talked about abstract numbers, the three Hebrew tenses and also learned six new words in the past tense: I wanted (ratsiti), I saw (raiti), I understood (hevanti), I said (amarti), I took (laka^ti), I was (haiti) and I bought (kaniti).  We also heard how to pronounce these words by using my video on YouTube.(video for lesson 14) Finally I asked you to solve a small crossword-puzzle, and I have to say that I received many responses and all of them were perfect!
Hats off to you, ブラボー (burabo in Japanese) and chapeau for my French students! 😉


Today we have a WWW lesson… which is very cool… Well, it won’t be exactly “www,” so let’s start and see what’s cooking today…

Today’s menu: Who, what, when & why

Attention: The underlined letters represent the accent.

I talked about “www” but there are 5 Ws (who, what, where, when and way), and we are going to cover the WH Questions today.

You should know one of them from lesson 3, “where” – eifo.  Now let’s look at the other four WH Questions.

The Hebrew word for “who” is “mi.” It sounds exactly like the word “me” in English.

Who wants pasta?  – Mi rotse pasta?
– Who understands? – Mi mevin?
– Who bought three dresses? – Mi bought shalosh smalot


The word “what” is important, especially if your hearing is not very good, like mine…
In Hebrew we say “ma,” and sometimes “eize” or “eizo” depending on the meaning of the sentence, but today we’ll talk about the common usage of the question “what,” which is “ma.”

What’s new?
The exact translation for “what’s new” is ma ^adash, and you will probably hear Israelis (especially young Israelis) ask “ma ^adash?”   But the most common form of this question is ma nishma. I can promise you that you’ll also hear “ma ko
, ma hole^, ma ha’matsav” and “ma ha’inyanim…” but use “ma nishma” and everything will be alright. 😉

Examples for “ma“:

   – What‘s new? – Ma nishma?
   – Fine, thank you – Tov, toda
     In lesson 1 we learned that “good” is “tov” and now you see that “tov” can also be used to say “fine.”  

   – What time is it / what’s the time? – Ma ha’shaa (sha-a)
   – It is 10:00 a.m. – Ha’shaa eser

   – What is this?  – Ma ze?
   – It is a book – Ze sefer. (Notice that our examples are giving you more words to learn.)

   – What did you say? – Ma amarta?
   – I said that it’s a book – Amarti that ze sefer.

   – What’s your name? – Ma shme^ (when asking in the feminine)   
   – My name is Elizabeth – Shmi Elizabeth.

   – What’s your name? –  ma shim^a (when asking in the masculine).
   – My name is Yaron – Shmi Yaron.

Notice that in Hebrew, even though we have a word for “is,” we don’t use it.


The Hebrew word for “when” is “matay” or “matai.”


   – When it’s my turn – Matay tori (“turn” is tor and “my turn” is tori)

  Talking to a woman Talking to a man
When were you in Israel? Matay hait be’Israel? Matay haita be’Israel?
When do you want the coffee? Matay at rotsa et ha’café? Matay ata rotse et ha’ca
When did you buy the cake? Matay kanit et ha’uga? Matay kanita et ha’uga?



The Hebrew word for “why” is “lama.”
   – Why did I buy only one ring? – Lama kaniti rak tabaat a^at?
   – Why is the cake so sweet? – Lama ha’uga so sweet?
   – Why is the hotel so far away? – Lama ha’malon so far away?
   – Why is the sea blue?  – Because the fish always say: bloo, bloo, bloo… ha ha; sorry, but I couldn’t resist… 😉

That was our lesson for today.  Short and fast – but very important for everyday conversation in Hebrew.

Lehitraot in lesson 16…


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Comments: 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Heblish – Hebrew lessons: Day 15”

  1. JJ says:

    Great lesson, I enjoyed it very much! I have a question, maybe I missed something. In the sentence “it is a book” the Hebrew is “ze sefer.” You don’t say “is” in Hebrew, ok. But what about “a”, “a book”? Where is the word for “a”?

  2. Yaron says:

    You are right, JJ, where is the “a?” The answer is, there is no “a” in Hebrew. Therefore for “it is a book” we say only two words “ze sefer”. I already told you that Hebrew is easy 😉

  3. Helen says:

    That double a sound “aa” is really sexy !

  4. JH says:

    Hey! I’m pretty fluent in Hebrew and several other languages and when I ran across this website (by accident) I must say that I am NOT disappointed. This site rocks for those wanting to learn this marvelous language and I think you, Yaron, rock just as hard for teaching these wonderful people. Kol Hakavod, a^i 😉

  5. Yaron says:

    Thanks very much for the “firgun” – toda!

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