Yes you are right but also ב has its own rules. its a bit more complicated than 'c' but when you know them you never have to guess. there are 2 cases for B sound, one is whenever its in the beginning of the word. the other case goes that way: each word in Hebrew has basic letters. usually its 3 letters but can be also 4. אהבה basic letters are א.ה.ב verbs in Hebrew can go 7 ways each one called 'building'. in 3 of them the middle letter get dagesh (if its ב it will sounds B) the buildings are פיעל פועל התפעל for example: חיבר (connected) is building פיעל with the basic letters ח.ב.ר התלבש (got dressed) is building התפעל with the basic letters ל.ב.ש in those words ב sounds like B although its not in the beginning of the word. its a bit progressing grammar but thats the point.. hope I helped and sorry about my broken English. here for any questions.
The method behind this is particularly complicated in this situation because the vowels aren't typically marked (to be fair, Hebrew didn't originally have written vowels, so it makes sense if the native speakers don't want to use them, as you'll find they often don't). The letter bet is one of a select few letters (ב ,ג ,ד ,כ ,פ ,ת, [Tav/taw, pe, kaf, dalet, gimel, bet, respectively]) that has a dot (which also isn't marked) known as a "daghesh forte," (as opposed to a daghesh lene) and this daghesh determines the letter's sound. Daghesh= "hard" or "B" sound, no daghesh= "soft" or "V." Whether or not this dot is present (and whether it is daghesh or forte) is determined by the preceding vowel, which isn't marked. But over time you learn to recognize which vowel sounds trigger which consonant sounds. As an interesting aside, all of the letters you will type are consonants, not vowels. Even alef א and ayin ע are consonants, and are technically silent at all times. But I'm sure we'll get into that later in the course. :) Confused yet? ;)
Thank you for the information. I went to read more about Semetic languages and found that Phoenician language was also Semetic. So, Greeks borrowed the letters to use them in their own language which happened to be of a totally different group. I never realized that, foolishly assuming that if their letters origin from there, their words also should. Thank you again!
Looking on Phoenician alphabet and other alphabets origined from it, I wonder how it happened that sāmek and ʿayin went so differently in Hebrew in comparsion with other languages. It'd make more sense if they were switched =). I must also admit it's really fascinating how are letters looking so different at the first sight actually just a few ways to write the same initial symbol. It also makes me to not mix up different Hebrew letters now.
BTW, a really silly question: do ב and נ look so similar in all the fonts or there are some ways to write them in the way which doesn't look like נ is a 'condensed'(you know, those fonts with narrowed letters) version of ב? Is it all about that small 'tail' ב has, like with Cyrillic ш and щ? I've mixed those letters several times and I wonder if it's just my lack of attention to details or it's a common mistake?
@jarrettph You just have to get used to the minor differences. The reason the letter "i" has a dot is because centuries ago, the style of writing made it almost impossible to distinguish words with sequences of "i"s, "m"s, "n"s and "u"s (I've lost my reference for that, unfortunately). E.g. "minimum" might look like "ııı ı ıı ı ııı ıı ııı" (with exaggerated spaces) or "ııııııııııııııı". Adding a dot makes it slightly easier to work out: "ıııiııiıııııııı".
There are other scripts that have very minor details separating some letters: ව ච - the letters "wa/va" and "cha" in Sinhala, for example. "cha" has a tiny extra stroke on the left-hand side. Over time, you become aware of what part of the letter is important for accurately identifying it.
In hebrew, you can say olmost everything in few different ways. "Does the love coming?" Can be "האם האהבה באה?" "האהבה באה?" "באה האהבה?" And more. In this case, this is not a real sentence, so you won't hear people saying it, but you can switch the words (but even that has it own rules...)
The first three lessons are called "Letters 1", "Letters 2" and "Letters 3"! If you are on the website, these lessons show the entire alefbet before you start the lesson, and which letters will be taught.
All new words are highlighted. If you hover over them (web site) or press them (apps) it will give you up to three translations per word. You can also do the same for any words you have already been exposed to.
ahava (love) is also a woman's name, that's probably the content.
Ah-hah-vah (love) bah-ah (comes) with a question mark at the end. It means "Is love coming?" We sometimes do that in English, too--ask a question by making a statement with your voice going up at the end. "You're new here?" :)
Don't give up! Keep doing the same exercises until you understand. You can do it! Duolingo uses a "natural" method of teaching, like a baby would learn his own native language. You try, make mistakes, and eventually learn. Are you using a computer to do the lessons? If so, when you first click on a skill, click on the lightbulb, and it has helpful tips. They don't make much sense when you first read them, but they begin to make sense as you go through the lesson. (Actually I do not see them today (1/1/2020), so they may be working on them or something). I don't know if they are available if you are using a tablet or phone. At first you feel like you will NEVER get it, but slowly you will understand more and more. Keep trying, and keep asking questions. Best wishes!
Look up memrise.com and tinycards.duolingo.com Both have Hebrew alphabet practice. Also, keep trying. You will catch on. Are you using Duolingo on a computer? If so, there are "tips and hints" available for each skill. I'm not sure if they are available if you are doing the lessons on a phone.
I think somewhere there was an explanation for why the Hebrew lessons don't have as much audio as the other language lessons have, but I forget the reason. Anyway, it was explained that they did their best at the time & were trying to get the lessons available as soon as they could. Yes, it is hard. But don't give up! In time you will see your progress!