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Asking About Nationality or Origin Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Conversation, Grammar, Learning Hebrew

Look at this short dialog:

אני מישראל
גם אני מישראל. אני מנְתַנְיָה
[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/hebrew/files/2012/05/im_from_israel.mp3]

ah-nee mees-rah-ehl (I’m from Israel)
gam ah-nee mees-rah-ehl. ah-nee mee-neh-tahn-yah (I’m also from Israel. I’m from Nethanya)

Saying where you are from is pretty easy in Hebrew. All you need to do is add the suffix מֵ-meh (or מִ-mee) in front of the place name:

מֵאִירלַנְדmeh-eer-lahnd (from Ireland)
מֵאַנְגְלִיָהmeh-ahn-glee-ah (from England)
מִיַרְדֵןmee-yahr-dehn (from Jordan)
מִתֵימָןmee-tey-mahn (from Yemen)
[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/hebrew/files/2012/05/from_ireland.mp3]

If you noticed, the suffix מִ-mee becomes מֵ-meh when it’s before a silent letter or a guttural letter (ר, ע, ת, ה, א). But you’ll hear Israelis use מִ-mee in pretty much all cases.

Asking about Someone Else

Let’s say you want to ask someone else where they’re from, or someone asks you where you’re from. The magic word to listen for is מֵאַיִן?meh-‘ah-een.

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/hebrew/files/2012/05/meayn.mp3]

מֵאַיִן אתה? Where are you from? (masc)
מֵאַיִן את? – Where are you from? (fem)
מֵאַיִן הִיא? – Where is she from?
מֵאַיִן הוּא? – Where is he from?

Check Yourself

First, let’s look at some new words:

New York – נְיוּ יוֹרְקnyoo-york
Jerusalem – יְרוּשָׁלַיִםyeh-roo-shah-lah-eem
Mexico – מֶקְסִיקוֹmehk-see-koh

Say the following in Hebrew:

1. You are from New York
2. I am from Jerusalem
3. He is from Israel
4. You are from Mexico

Reading Practice

Can you understand the following conversation? See if you can translate it into English:

הַי! .A
הי! מאין אתה? .B
אני מישראל. מאין את? .A
אני מגֶרְמַנְיה. .B
מאין היא? .A
היא מדניָה. .B

But there’s more!

Besides asking where someone is from, you can also ask where something is from. For example, מאין היין?meh-‘ah-een hah-yah-yeen? (Where is the wine from?). And you can say where it’s from: היין מצָרְפַת.hah-yah-yeen mee-tsahr-faht (The wine is from France).

הַhah (the)
ייןyah-yeen (wine)
הַייןhah-yah-yeen (the wine)

הַ (hah) is the Hebrew definite article. It is translated in English as “the” and it is always attached to the word it belongs to.
Check Yourself:
Can you say in Hebrew that the wine is from New York? England? Israel?


The recordings for this post is from Hebrew from Scratch – Book 1

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About the Author:Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.