All About You, You and I Posted by Sean Young on Apr 23, 2012 in Grammar, Learning Hebrew
Today’s date: 1st of Iyyar, 5772 – א׳ באייר תשע״ב
Rosh Chodesh Iyyar (ראש חודש אייר)
16th day of the Omer (ט״ז בעומר)
It’s all about me
Take a look at this sentence: אֲנִי מֹשֶׁה (a-nee mo-she) – I am Moses.
The literal translation of the Hebrew would be ‘I Moses’. In Hebrew, the verb ‘to be’ does not exist in a present tense sentence (i.e. an A=B type sentence). Rather, the ‘to be’ part is implied, and understood. Here’s a few more examples to check out:
אֲנִי (a-nee) – I am
אֲנִי תַּלְמִיד (a-nee tal-meed) – I am a (male) student
אֲנִי תַּלְמִידָה (a-nee tal-meed-a) – I am a (female) student
Look carefully at the examples again. Notice I put in words that indicate whether I’m speaking about a male or female student? This is because Hebrew uses gender. All Hebrew nouns are either masculine or feminine. (There is no neuter, so Hebrew never refers to anything as ‘it’.) The know the differences, most feminine nouns in the singular end with either ָה (ah), ֵת (et) or ִית (eet). Otherwise you’re safe to assume the noun is masculine. Whenever there are some contrasts in gender and vocabulary, I will be indicating this by using (m.) for masculine nouns and (f.) for feminine nouns.
תַּלְמִיד (tal-meed) – student (m.)
תַּלְמִידָה (tal-meed-ah) – student (f.)
It’s all about you
When it comes to the word for “you”, Hebrew also makes a gender distinction here. Here’s where the gender mix-up occurs as I mentioned above. The ‘ah’ sound (ָה) at the end of the pronoun for ‘you’ is actually used when speaking to a male, and the ‘t’ sound for the feminine. Let me show you:
אַתָּה (a-ta) – you (when speaking to a male)
אַתְּ (aht) – you (when speaking to a female)
Let’s take some time now to practice reading Hebrew. You can go ahead and look at the text above if you need. But if you get really stuck, feel free to ask a question by leaving a comment below.
|Here are some women’s names:
מַיָה (mah-nah) – Manah
אָנָה (ah-nah) – Ana
אַיָה (ah-yah) – Aya
אַנְיָה (ahn-yah) – Anya
|And some men’s names:
מַתְיָא (maht-yah) – Matya
יַנַאי (yah-nay) – Janai
מַתַנְיָה (mah-tahn-yah) – Matanya
See if you can make sentences using the names and the pronouns אֲנִי (a-nee), אַתָּה (a-ta), and אַתְּ (aht):
I am Ana – אֲנִי אָנָה
You are Janai – אַתָּה יַנַאי
תַּלְמִיד (tahl-meed) – (male) student
תַּלְמִידָה (tahl-meed-ah) – (female) student
מִי (mee) – who?
אִמָּא (ee-ma) – mother
אִישׁ (eesh) – man
אִשָּׁה (ee-sha) – woman
יֶלֶד (yeh-led) – boy
יַלְדָּה (yahl-dah) – girl
וְ (v / ve) – and
Reading Practice (with nikud)
אֲני יַנַאי. וְאַתָה?
Reading Practice (without nikud)
מי אני? אני מינה
מי אתה? אתה תלמיד
Answers to the exercises will be given in the next post.