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How are you? Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Conversation, Grammar, Learning Hebrew, Phrases, Vocabulary

Now that we’ve met our friends, it’s usual to ask after their health. Here’s the vocabulary list we’ll be working with, and listen to the audio file to hear how to pronounce them.

מָה (mah) – what
שָׂלוֹם (shah-LOHM) – peace, welfare
    שְׁלוֹמכֶן (sh’lohm-EE) – my peace, welfare
    שְׁלוֹמְךָ (sh’lohm-KHAH) – your peace, welfare (masc)
    שְׁלוֹמֵךְ (sh’lohm-EKH) – your peace, welfare (fem)
    שְׁלוֹמכֶם (sh’lohm-KHEM) – your peace, welfare (masc pl)
    שְׁלוֹמכֶן (sh’lohm-KHEN) – your peace, welfare (fem pl)
טוֹב (tov) – good, fine, well
תוֹדָה (toh-DAH) – thank you
מְאוֹד (meh-‘OHD) – very

Before We Begin

Look at the list again and see the words that are indented? They are all variant forms of the word “שָׂלוֹם“, but a possessive suffix has been added onto them to indicate “your”. When these suffixes are added, the word שָׂלוֹם drops the Qamats (“ָ“) to make pronunciation a little easier.

Here's how they would look when by themselves:
ךָ – “your” when indicating a male
ֵךְ – “your” when indicating a female
כֶם – “your” when indicating a group of men
כֶן – “your” when indicating a group of women

How Are You?

Let's say you've just met David Williams. And you would like to ask how he is doing. So you would ask him מַה שְׁלוֹמְךָ?. You would ask this question, using the masculine form of the suffix “your” to a man, or a male child.

If you’re going to ask a woman, or a female child, you would ask מַה שְׁלוֹמֵךְ? with the feminine form.

Now, if you remember, Hebrew is not normally written with the vowels written in. So asking “How are you?” would look like this: מה שׁלוֹמך? – how would you know which ending to use? Again, you must pay attention to the context of the sentence if it’s written, or to whom it is being asked when spoken. That’s important.

Building On

We’re going to take the conversation we’ve been using in previous posts and build on to it with what we’ve just learned here, so I hope you’re all caught up. Listen to the pronunciation a few times and repeat after me.

ינאי: שׁלום, אני ינאי, מי אתם?
דוד: אני דוד וויליאמס.
שׂרה: אני שׂרה וויליאמס.
ינאי: אתם מאנגליה?
דוד: לא, אנחנו מאמריקה.
ינאי: נעים מאוד, מה שׁלוֹמכם?
שׂרה: תוֹדה, טוֹב.
דויד: שׁלוֹמי טוֹב מאוֹד. ואתה?
ינאי: טוֹב, תוֹדה. שׁלוֹמי טוב מאוֹד.

Check Yourself

Greet the following people and ask how they are according to the example. If you need to, review the post on Meeting and Greeting from last month

Example: David and Sarah – שׁלום דויד! שׁלום שׂרה! מא שׁלומכם?

  1. Your boss (masc.)
  2. Your two friends (fem.)
  3. Your neighbor, Yanai
  4. Ron and Bill

Say the following aloud in Hebrew:

  1. I am fine, thank you
  2. Thank you, I am very well
  3. I am fine. How are you? (masc)
  4. I am fine. How are you? (fem)

Extra Credit

I made a downloadable PDF with some extra materials to expand on this post. It gives you what you need to ask after someone else’s health and reply to it. It’s important to check it out as it will be used in future posts here. Okay?

Download Activity Sheet (PDF)

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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.


  1. Elisha Oren:

    Thanks. very nice.
    I just wondered why the audio records have a such a strong english accent. I think it would be better to record a native Hebrew speaker.
    (I think I can help about it if you want, my native language is Hebrew)