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Hebrew is HARD!

Hebrew makes French look like a walk in the park. Does anyone have advice to advance easier into more advanced lessons? I'm barely getting past letters.

EDIT: I am doing much better now having remastered the alphabet! For people experiencing problems with the words - take time in learning the alphabet! It is a major game changer in understanding the Hebrew language. תודה רבה to you all!

June 22, 2016



i use:




Take the time to learn the alfabet and the pronunciation of the letters.

Use first memrise


for each lesson, before you go to the duolingo lesson.: they are the words of the Duolingo lessons, made by the/a moderator of the hebrew Duolingo course.

I keep a word list in excel.

Sometimes i copy the hebrew word, but i try also the hardware keyboard, with:


on my screen.

It will need some time before you can type blind in Hebrew and before you can read Hebrew.

I focus on typing and reading before i go for more words.


Thank you for this, and for your encouragement!!!


I would recommend learning the letters well before getting too far into the language. Hebrew is actually quite easy, and very structured. The letters are a big hurdle at first, but once that is mastered it becomes much easier. All the languages that don't use the Latin alphabet are "accused" of being hard... but it isn't necessarily the case. Learning a new alphabet is definitely a hurdle, but I wouldn't say it makes a language hard.


Ani softer, you are right, that the study Hebrew isn't hard then other languages. It's only from begining we watch ununderstanding words. Leonid


The thing I am finding difficult with the very beginning of the Hebrew course, is that I have had zero previous experience of the alphabet, and I thought that it would go over, teaching the sounds and the writing as the Japanese and Greek courses do. Half of the early parts of the course (I am doing this on a computer, not a phone, so don't know if it's the same), have no audio, so I am there guessing and learning nothing. The parts with sound I can pick up, but the rest- when vocab, sounds and letters are all strange- I'm just not learning, and have experienced a level of frustration that I haven't had with learning any other new script. I haven't heard of Memrise, so will look that up, but I do think that the course should make it clear right at the start that learning the alefbet elsewhere first is going to be a good idea. I am going to leave the course, learn the script somewhere else, and then come back to it. I would love to see a pre-section right at the very very start of the course, just going over letters and sounds. Personally, that would help me so much. I don't mind learning it very slowly, but I want to be learning it and know that I am moving forwards.


In the beginning, I did the first lesson, then left the course very briefly to learn the alephbet and letter sounds. Should take only about a week or less, I think. Then I returned along with Memrise and Hebrewpod101, both of which provide audio of each word. I would recommend really exploring the Memrise program--it took me many months of using it to discover that it can be used for targeted practice of each lesson. Best wishes!


Thanks for recommending Memrise. I'm getting there, now. Even then, though, I had to Google the differences between Resh and Dalet, and other similar-looking letters. That has been a huge help, and I didn't even realise it was the biggest problem!


I would definitely agree with what Ani_sofer had to say.


I know, right? It made my head hurt after 3 lessons.


learning hebrew for 6 years does something to a person...


תוכל לדבר עברית יותר טוב אם תתאמן הרבה.

Step by step :) I would suggest to start with learning the alphabet. Hebrew script may seem frightening but that's just a matter of habit :) you just need to get the feel of it and... practice makes perfect :)


It is very helpful to learn and memorize the Hebrew alphabet, the different vowel sounds, and how to write in Hebrew script before you start this course. I had to learn how to read Hebrew with vowels and write in script for my Bat Mitzvah course (I didn't actually learn to speak it, just to read and write it), and it really helps to know that vav actually can be a vowel sound, and that yud next to a letter can make the "ee" sound, etc. You should seriously look into learning and memorizing those things before starting this course, because Hebrew is hard to learn even when you know those things. I can't even begin to imagine what a hard time I would have if I didn't already know what I do.


I don't know how I'm going to make it from the basics as well. First I have to memorize the Hebrew alphabet on my keyboard and what each letter looks like x(


Ah, but it is such good brain exercise! Come on! You can do it! You are not alone. ;-)


I'll try, it's gonna be a big struggle, like my Vietnamese learning here


well, of course first you have to understand letters to get into more advanced lessons. my suggestion is that you find the letters with equivalents in english, and try to get those down first, then find the letters with sounds that exist in english but aren't proper letters in english, then the only two letters that don't have an equivalent in english, which are ח and ך/כ! that way you won't be overwhelmed by this whole new alphabet and be able to take it in stride. hope this helps!


Yes, it is! lol I don't have any advice for that except study and hard work. But maybe you can help me with the lesson I'm stuck on, if you don't mind...? How do you type the word for "wine"? I can't figure it out. What are those letters?


The word for wine has three letters. י-י-ן Using latin letters it is nyy. יי looks like a comma but it is really two letters next to each other and ן is the longer nun letter not the short ו vav letter. It goes below the line when writing text. It is pronounced yayin. Hope that helps.


Oooooh! Thanks, yes! Finally got it! I kept using what I thought yod, but it wasn't right. I'm not used to using this keyboard, so I can't tell some of the letters apart yet. Sure appreciate your explanation! Are you a native speaker?


I am not a native, but I have been studing hebrew for more than 7 years and I know the language pretty well. I am in Israel right now and I love it here. I also created the modern hebrew complete course on memrise if you need explanations on so topics.


ha HA! I actually looked for Hebrew on Memrise just now, but did not see it. lol Wow! Thanks so much! Are you just visiting or living over there?


Visiting for the first time. I love speaking with the locals. It is fantastic here. I wish I could stay forever!


Don't be discouraged. This may not be what you want to hear, but Hebrew is one of the most phonetic languages in that there are never any exceptions to rules. Once you get the hang of it it will stay with you forever. Also, don't be discouraged by people who are so far ahead of you on DuoLingo. Many of us already have a Hebrew background.


What do you mean by "most phonetic languages"? And, really, no exceptions to rules? (Are there really proper rules for everything, pronunciation and grammar?) :-)


Really? Hebrew is easier for me than French


Hebrew is in many respects easier than French or the likes of German, but it has a certain quality to it that makes it harder to get a foothold on. It took me two months to become efficient at predicting plurals for German nouns, declining adjectives, understanding the entire verbal system, memorising irregular verbs and logging enormous excel documents of vocab. In Hebrew I accomplished far less in over a year! Vocabulary acquisition is difficult as there are few sources. I am trying to build a vocabulary that is at least half as flexible as that of my English and that means vocabulary in many technical fields. Where do I get these? I have 4 dictionaries and none of them are adequate. Online sources such as Morfix are at best 6/10 for fulfilling my needs. If only there were something akin to Dict.cc for German, that other site which declines words. A nice reference. Hebrew has fewer resources. I can find over 30 great grammar texts for German, only 4 in Hebrew - 6 if you include the two verb books. The language is explained poorly and it leaves you with too many questions and uncertainties. Then there is the added issue of Biblical Hebrew, which is far more prevalent online. You'll find resources which makes no distinction between which of these it is aimed towards. You'll find lots of new words but without vowels or gender and you cannot find what these are anywhere else. I have a huge document from a source from Microsoft with lots of computing terms, but no vowels and hardly any of them are recognised on a dictionary and if they do, they have no vowels. Even Google translate can be like that. So Hebrew is most usually quite frustrating! It's hard to keep making steady progress. I have put an enormous amount of time into Hebrew, it's ridiculous and I have had to put in 5% of the time in at least 5 other languages to gain significantly more ground. This time it seems that I might actually gain achieve enough of a breakthrough to begin using the language as I'd like.



I agree with you. Hebrew is very frustrating, as we have invested many years to learn very little. I've been studying Hebrew for over 7 years and I still can not read almost anything. I tried with the Masoretic, and their lack interfered. I tried without the Masoretic ones, and now their presence is in the way ... At Duolingo, the phrases are pronounced with the speed of light! At first I gave up. But I came back. I continue to insist on the Course, but using certain stratagems, to be able to write the Hebrew letters: I copy the text and transfer it to the automatic translator of Google, and I copy and adjust the answer ... This is not so honest, but it is the only way to walk on this stony path...


I wrote out the vocabulary for each section of the Duolingo course, from Memorise. So now I am adding in other details like transliteration, gender or binyan. I intend to memorize them and progress through the course.

Last year I got the book Hebrew Verb Tables. I listed all the verb table numbers from each page in excel and calculated the total number of occurrences for each table. I then ordered them by frequency and made a PDF of each tables example conjugation. I intend to work through them now. I wrote out all the words for the top 90 tables so each tables verbs were isolated. This was a painstaking process. I took a break from this as I was significantly burnt out by Hebrew and other issues at the time. My hope is that I can develop an innate sense of determination the conjugation for each verb I'll encounter in future.

I also have a list of prepositions that I have declined in tables in excel. I PDF'ed that too. I need to sit down and memorize them.

I was crazy enough to go through my dictionary and list out adjectives and adverbs and have done most of the verbs. I still need to fully complete these tables, but the bulk of them have been completed.

Aside from that, I have no plan. I'm hoping to reap the rewards this time around. For German I was able to achieve more than this in a few months. When helping my sister with Japanese I was able to put together strong foundation (without even knowing the language) more easily. Very frustrating to say the least.


Kind regards back at you, Markus. You have the same name as my dear husband (though he spells it with a “c”), so you must be a great guy :-D!

Yes, I’ve finished all the levels on the Hebrew Duolingo course-I’ve been at it awhile-but, that doesn’t mean I have all the vocabulary memorized. And, there’s a big difference between being able to translate sentences in the course, when I see them over and over, and being able to understand spontaneous conversations or Hebrew movies. In fact, most of the time, I still can’t understand the female speaker in this Duolingo course. I understand written Hebrew much better than spoken Hebrew, anyway. (The same applies in my understanding of French). I keep reviewing on Duolingo and visiting the forums, always looking for new helps for practical learning. So, please keep posting any helps you find, and I’ll do the same. In the meantime, I’m thinking of signing up with Duolingo to host a Duolingo Hebrew Event in the Omaha, Nebraska area. It’s an intimidating thought because I’m not a native Hebrew speaker, nor do I feel extremely confident in my grasp of the spoken language. In any case, I suppose I’ll find out if there are other Duolingo Hebrew students in the area, or if I’ll be the only one sitting in that coffee shop :-).

All the best to you too, Markus. Keep up the good work! Valorie


Is there a way to contact you to practice Hebrew? I don't live in Nebraska.


In order to reply to me here, you simply reply to your post instead of mine. It gets a bit technical when people upvote some posts. The paragraphs get out of order. But if you ever have trouble replying, just go up to the first reply you can find above the paragraph your replying to. Hit that and usually you end up in the right spot. It's funny though, because now you can reply to me, but before you couldn't. Reply buttons appear randomly!


Heilswahrheit: I would like to acquire your study material, for I see that your difficulties are the same as I have. Of course we can agree on some financial compensation for your work.


Interesting proposition. Which in particular are you interested in?


I am also interested! I don't have a way to pay, but if you would have links to anything on Duolingo, I would appreciate it. Lingot you.


Heilswahrheit, your tenacity and disciplined approach astounds me! As it says in Hebrew כל כבוד! (Literally “all respect or honor,” or Way to go!) Are you familiar with pealim.com? I often go to it for quick reference for declining verbs, rather than picking up my copy of Hebrew Verb Tables.

I don’t have the aptitudes, like you do, for creating and managing spread sheets and PDFs-they drive me crazy! All the more reason for why I’ve appreciated your work! I am an “old school” student (I’m 59): I was taught to learn vocabulary and grammar first, before attempting to listen to and speak a language. But after pursuing Hebrew for several years, off and on again, I’m discovering that what sticks most is hearing the words, especially verbs, in context in sentences. I wouldn’t neglect the vocabulary and grammar-it’s too ingrained in my psyche-but I think it’s important to take advantage of opportunities to hear Hebrew, with Hebrew subtitles when possible. It’s finally beginning to make the leap from academics to functionality for me. For example, some verbs I just have a hard time remembering, like ״מתגעגע״ (to miss: HITPA'EL, present/masc/singular). Last week, I heard it used in an emotional context in a Netflix series, and now I can’t get it out of my head, nor am I likely to forget it!

I just wish I had someone in my local area to practice speaking with, especially if they were as dedicated as you. Again, “my hat’s off to you,” though I’d rather buy you a cup of coffee or send you a bag of beans (if you even like coffee). If you ever set up a blog with a “tip jar,” please let us know! :-)


That's very kind of you Valerie. Hebrew is a very special language to me, so I am particularly determined to crack it once and for all. The last ten months have been very rewarding and I've been able to unlock a lot of way troubled me in the past. I'm guilty of paralysis by analysis if I'm not careful, and have changed tact to manipulating large quantities of words to really develop a feel for how to use them. It's been systematic and allowed me to make the most progress. My goal was to produce material that would allow someone to get a foothold onto the language without being worn down by linguistic terms etc. This was patficulary aimed at my mother, who is now beginning to use the language.

I must say that pealim and reverso have been the most useful online resources by far. Reverso has been especially useful for nouns and adjectives, as well as determining context.

I'd also love to have someone to practice with. I don't have any Jewish relatives in the country and I don't know any native speakers. I did download a couple of shows - Mossad, Fauda and Sgurim - which have been useful.

All the best to you in your studies Valerie. I see you've completed a sizeable amount of work on Duolingo alone.

Kind regards, Markus


You inspire me to keep going!


I would avoid rushing, and maybe do some independent work on the alphabet. I haven't actively studied Hebrew in a while (and I was never remotely advanced), but simply having a fair grasp on the alphabet has made it much more fun and less frustrating for me. I suspect it's less the language at this point and more simply the writing system you're finding hard/alien - get your head around that a bit, and you will find you can concentrate on learning how the language works instead of trying to decode a bunch of alien squiggles ;D


Yeah, however I've mastered the alphabet. It's just that there are so many foreign words with no connection to English that I find frustrating. I also, when you have to listen and record what the voice is saying, nearly always get it wrong. I'm not trying to rush.


I was misled by you saying you hadn't got past the alphabet lessons. Besides that, I'd have to just say have patience with it. A language where you don't know any related languages is always going to be tougher.


Just a little while ago I finished the letters and relearned the alef beit.


That's what I'm finding. Spanish, French, Italian and German all have some semblance to English. They all share some roots. And even Russian sounds similar in some ways, but of course the alphabet is different. Hebrew is a completely new ball park. I already knew something of the letters when I started. I am still getting the grasp of it. For example חמ is what we call Ham in English from Shem, Ham and Japheth although it's not pronounced that way in Hebrew. So there is spelling, pronunciation, words, meanings and of course grammar to learn.

Check this out for a few Biblical names you may know that are similar to some Hebrew words!


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I don't get the impression it is that hard as a language, but the writing system is a complete pain with its lack of clear marking of vowels. Abjads are some of the worst writing systems in my opinion: you know all the letters in a word but you still can't read them together before knowing the word's full pronunciation beforehand, because crucial information is missing (vowels!).


Since Hebrew is a consonant-based language, rather than a phonetic-based language, you will discover that the majority of words in Hebrew follow various identical phonetic patterns. It can make it difficult to learn in the beginning, since you'll have hundreds of words that sound virtually the same apart from one or two consonants, and they'll mean entirely different things. However, because of these common patterns that you'll come across constantly, once you are more advanced, you'll be able to make pretty good guesses at the pronunciation of the words, until the vowel markings are truly unnecessary. Try to get into a state of mind where you focus on the consonants, rather than the phonetics. That will really help you.


Thank you, sam.eckmann. This is very enlightening ... and encouraging. One lingot for you.


At least abjads give you some idea, with Chinese characters there are no hints whatsoever. Japanese is a sadistic mashup of 4 different writing systems (including the Latin alphabet which they sometimes stick in for no apparent reason). As you may have guessed I'm also learning Japanese, going to Hebrew is like "a vague approximation of the sound, how wonderful!"


At least abjads give you some idea, with Chinese characters there are no hints whatsoever.

Not true: the vast majority (90%+) of Chinese characters contain phonetic hints of some kind. Of course, in many cases the pronunciation has changed over the centuries to make words that were originally homophones sound very different, but there are still thousands in which there is a noticeable phonic similarity between a character and the phonetic indicator within it. Even so, if the sounds haven't drifted apart at all, one still has to guess as to the tone, but 1 in 4 odds of getting it correct seem rather better than having to guess which and where to put vowels in an unfamiliar multi-syllabic word written in an abjad.
(I'm talking about guessing the Mandarin pronunciation of an unfamiliar character here, obviously; in Japanese these things would only be of any help with regard to on readings derived from originally Chinese pronunciations.)


but hebrew does give phonetic hints. some words at least have letters which are also vowels. for example, ו corresponds to oo as in food or o as in orange, ה and ח at the end of a word will always be -ah and -ach, respectively, and י is always i or e. it's daunting, but not entirely without hints here and there.


You're quite right (and I'm very glad to hear it!) I was comparing Chinese with an hypothetical 'pure abjad', not Hebrew in particular. I'm sure an advanced speaker could make very good guesses at the pronunciation of unfamiliar words; it does make it a lot more difficult for the learner, however, who cannot.


ah, i see.

and yeah, abjad-using languages aren't normally a breeze to pick up at first if you aren't already a native speaker of one. i find that it helps to read siddurim in order to get an idea of what kind of patterns there are, i think that's the main contributor to my understanding of nikud-less hebrew.


Not that it is any easier to guess the correct pronunciation of a new word in English, even with the presence of the vowels.


@Ani_sofer Agree, I think it's mostly a psychological thing. I've been acquainted with English for quite a long time now but I'm not a native English speaker and when I think about my first steps and how much time it has taken me to reach this level, I must agree it's not been any easier.


Honestly as a native English speaker, English is the most illogical language I've ever seen. But it does make up for that by sounding elegant.


Agreed. Anglophones tend to assume our language spells things logically, but it really, really does not!


I am a native English speaker, and I thought about this with the English language. One word comes to mind for pronunciation, "Live", it is pronounced two ways with subtle different meanings.


Hebrew has vowels. If your reading texts without vowels its beacuse theyre intented for someone who has spent years studying with viwels and now recognizes them through contex. Search up a table of hebrew vowels and apply them. It will change your whole expierence


How does that work on the long run? Does one have to learn the words mostly by heart? Or is there a system / are there rules, so that one can see where and what kind of vowels are needed?

(Does an advanced user know by looking at the word, via rules, how to pronounce it; or via knowing the word itself (which makes it so much harder)?)


Fnnly engh, y cn ndrstnd lts f nglsh wtht th use (that was an exception) f cnsnts :-)


hi everyone, i'm a native hebrew speaker and i'll be DELIGHTED to help you learn my language... i know it's hard and strange... but it's a holy and ancient language (though here we learn only the modern one which is a lot differnet...) and i LOVE it. to those who are interested, we already have a competition! https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16275271 בהצלחה behatzlaha- good luck


I originally started with Rosetta Stone. A great way to start learning Hebrew. But I also use the free version by Transparent, called Byki. You download the free application, and you go to the Hebrew word lists and download, for free all the lists that you want. And it is almost all the words spoken.

I also upgraded to their middle package, I think, and have learned a great deal about how to read and write Hebrew.

If you go to most Hebrew language sites, they have a printable sheet to practice the Hebrew letters. I got mine from a paid course,

I practiced day and night learning to write Hebrew and to follow it "backwards".

here is a link to the aleph bet http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/aleph-bet.html

And here is a catchy tune for learning the order of the Hebrew Aleph bet, it is a children's song, similar to the English learning the alphabet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD2AGCXqpr4

Or type in Hebrew alphabet and tons of stuff come up on youtube.


I'm a native speaker of Hebrew, and a proofreader and editor and would love to share my love of this special language with you guys. :) If you have any questions, about colloquial or "proper" Hebrew, or you're stuck with some class and can't figure out something, message me and I'll do my best to help. בהצלחה


I had absolutely no knowledge of Hebrew. I started learning this language right when it came out and the first lessons were the hardest for me, but now it seems it became a bit easier for me since I finished the three letters skills so now I am able to read Hebrew. Getting used to the right-to-left writing was the easiest thing to me, though. Also I think learning without the niqqud might be a good way to learn this language since Hebrew is normally written without it. If niqqud was included in this course, then we would rely on niqqud too much. The Memrise course (http://www.memrise.com/course/1031737/hebrew-duolingo/) has been helping me. Practice makes perfect!


Just saw your edit about remastering the alphabet! Doesn't it just make everything a million times easier?? :D


For such a language, one has to revise new words very often.

Sometimes mnemonics help. I learn חם and לחם in Letters 1, and I have found them easy to remember: ם looks like a loaf of bread, ח like a toaster, and ל like a cable for the toaster. Putting them together --- hot bread!


Okay, that sounds like a good idea. However, when learning a whole load of words, how is lne to remember them all?


You might want to drop back and punt at this point - & learn the alphabet first. I don't see Hebrew on Memrise, but there is Hebrew4Christians and HebrewPod, among other resources. I studied the alphabet two years ago, and could sound out words enough to read the prayers, but without much comprehension besides easy words. Now I have to relearn the sounds. lol


There certainly IS Hebrew on Memrise. In fact, the Hebrew team created a memrise course specifically to help Duolingo users get used to the alphabet :)


I was alpha tester on the Hebrew course - starting from zero knowledge (not even alef-bet). It was challenging at first, but once you're familiar with the alef-bet, it starts to come together quickly.

Good luck and have fun!


THANK YOU. This was exactly what I was looking for. Kudos to the team, great idea to make this. I definitely helps for the prononciation (plus no Words tab for me in Hebrew yet)


Ah - the words tab... Unfortunately that only is available on the staff-made courses (French, Spanish, German etc). The incubator courses (made by volunteers) don't have it.


So I quickly found out! lol Wonderful! Thanks for the encouragement!


No problem - hope you enjoy the course. The beta phase is all about getting feedback, so report anything that isn't working for you.

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If you're familiar with the devs - do you know when they are going to enlarge the memrise course? At the moment it covers ~40% of original DL course.

And it DOES have audio for separate words!..


Yeah, the Memrise course has audio for each individual word. If we could work out how to use that audio for the individual words in the Duolingo course, that'd be great, but apparently not currently doable.

The memrise course and its audio were created by the course moderator who goes by the username Mazzorano on here (and I reckon he's done a great job, has a very clear voice). He's adding more to it as he has time.


how do you get the keyboard to write in hebrew because I can't do it with my computer because its english not hebrew


What Operating System do you have? (i.e. Windows 7, Ubuntu 16.1.4, Mac OSX Snow Leopard, etc.)


Take your time! Practice makes perfect, that's what I was told in school learning English ;)


I know it's hard, I know exactly how it feels. I just take notes, and do the Memrise courses as most people suggested.


There are some good courses for Hebrew on Udemy if you need some help. I use them for review along with Memrise.


I agree with you that Hebrew is hard. They should actually have lessons on the letters.


I've been stuck on the first exercises forever because I could not figure out how ' aba' and ' ima' could both start with א !!! :O I'm doing a little better now, but reading is difficult, no doubt!!


Yeah I removed the course from my Duolingo because the course doesn’t even try to teach the alphabet... Seems it was made for people who can already read. Mainly wanted to learn a bit of a language used in the Middle East but I see Arabic is close to done so I’m hoping that course is made better!


Do you know about the “Tips and notes” that accompany the first three “Letters” lessons? They explain the letters and the sounds, but can only be accessed through the web browser version of Duolingo, not the App version. Click on the Lesson, then you will see a picture of a lightbulb. Click on the lightbulb, and you’ll be able to read the notes/explanation of the letters. If Arabic is finally offered on Duolingo, I suspect the letters will be explained in the same way: through an expanded document in the “Tips and notes.” When I took first year Arabic at university, my professor taught the letters by using them in simple sentences-the same way as Duolingo does it in this Hebrew course. Absolute beginners can familiarize themselves with the aleph-bet through studying the Tips and notes, while others who have already learned the letters won’t get bogged down with repetitive aleph-bet lessons. I hope you give Hebrew another try, either here or on another site. It really is a delightful language. So many words are connected by having the same root letters. And, I like how it often takes only about half the words to say in Hebrew as saying the same thing in English :-).


I think you should give Hebrew another try. The Aleph-Bet is easy. Certainly, it is much easier than Arabic (I learned to read both, and study foreign scripts in general). The Arabic course, which I am very excited about, will be no different to Hebrew: its going to have a sharp climb from the very beginning. You will still have to learn the script, and as stated, it's much mkre difficult than Hebrew. It is perfectly understandable that Duolingo doesn't cover new scripts, as it is very basic and can easily be learned with resources online. It's the most basic requirement in any none Latin scripted language.


The trick is focusing on the sounds and articulation movements to sound as accurate as possible. Forget about the new alphabet and about reading for a while. Just repeat the phrases from memory. Soon enough it will make sense. There is nothing to understand in order to advance, you just have to get used to stuff.


טודה רובה!


טודה רובה!


This is the BEST alef-bet exercise I've ever seen... LOVE THIS!!


I really recommend spending some time learning all the Hebrew letters (name & sounds) first before the lessons. In particular the ones that have alternative pronunciations (for example ב - that can be B & V) so as to not get confused down the line. This will allow you to focus on learning vocab, and not let your letter learning skills undermine your general language learning skills.


I am finding it hard as well. I don't find the duo method for teaching other alphabets working for me personally. (It has nothing to do with the course itself as it has been a problem for me with all the different scripts I've tried on here). I think I will put the Duo course on hold and try the memrise alphabet course first then come back to this. I think it will be more fun once it is not overwhelming.


If you want to revise words you learn regularly you can use Anki. It's probably the best and the most effective way to learn words (using SRS), it's free and you can use it everywhere (the mobile app is of very high quality). I've used it for some time now and I highly reccommend it.

Unfortunately, I only have time to rely on Duolingo so I hope I'll somehow manage to finish the tree without some external revising.


Thank you to those that recommended memrise to learn the alef-bet,it's a great help and I'm understanding the letters more now! (=


I'm Italian and these are the difficult things for me:

1) The entirely new vocabulary that has almost nothing to do with European languages. 2) The "encoded" writing in use that doesn't include vowels and that requires a lot of reading exercise. 3) The root + pattern system that is especially articulated in verbs. 4) That there really are at least two Hebrew languages, the "everyday"/"street" Hebrew and the "high" Hebrew of the news, politics, cultural institutions etc. (then of course there is also Biblical Hebrew that is not spoken).

I think the "so hard" feeling is caused by the combination of the above things but there are others that are not so difficult: apart from the verbs the grammar is not hard and the alphabet is a bit strange but in the end there are only a small number of letters (try Chinese...). I must also add that a lot of idiomatic phrases of everyday speech have the same identical structure in Italian and in Hebrew (very unexpectedly!) so this helps me a lot.

In general I think you have to take your time and, if at all possible, try to live in Israel for a period. More specific suggestions can be (in addition to Duolingo of course):

1) For the vocabulary consider building your own flash card sets (there are many apps for that, both mobile and web), draw schemes of words that are related by roots, create stories to connect them in your head, listen to radio and TV and try to speak with a (patient) native speaker as much as you can. 2) You'll master the reading by... Reading, a lot :) 3) For the verbs a good modern and concise grammar can be helpful, together with a lot of practice. 4) Start with the everyday Hebrew and only then spend more time with "high" Hebrew.

Most importantly... Be patient and enjoy the process :) That's what I've been suggested by people that learned Hebrew long time ago and I'm trying to do the same.


I hope I can find someone to help me practice Hebrew on here. It would be good to try to have a conversation in it as a way to familiarize and cement the words in my mind outside of my lessons and of course think up some new sentences!


@Corinnebelle, There wasn't a way to reply to your most recent comment/question, so I'm doing it here. כל הכבוד for keeping at studying Hebrew! You can contact me via our Event page: https://events.duolingo.com/omaha-hebrew/


Thank you Val! How did your groups go? Are you a host or global ambassador or both?


What's the difference between high Hebrew and normal Hebrew.

[deactivated user]

    I usually don't take notes but I think for this course I may have to. I'll start tomorrow and see if that helps me. I'm done for the day. I'm also going to try and master the alphabet on Memrise. I know a lot of the alphabet but not all yet.


    Good for you! Good luck my friend!


    I actually find a lot of similarity between Hebrew and French. A lot of rules, objects having gender, placement of adjectives and others make it very different from English. What I do is practice the low levels over and over until I feel ready to advance.

    Good luck! בהצלחה!


    It is hard. It docent teach you about the symbols before it gets in the words so when learning it I didn't understand one bit. The symbols all look the same to me please help.


    Hi. Heres a link for a chart for hebrew vowels called Nikudot. Personal opinion is it is WAY BETTER to begin learning with them and gradually wean urself off. http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_Two/Transliteration/vowels_transliteration.gif

    Not recomending the Christian part of the site, just the chart. Good practise is to apply each letter of the aleph bet to a vowel For eaxample, kumatz, the 1st vowel, to the first letter. Then second letter, and on It takes time, its hard, u have to really work but it is so so worth it If you need any help please ask Also, this is for when youve mastered the vowels, some reading worksheets http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_Two/Transliteration/vowels_transliteration.gif Good luck!


    I for one take my hat off to Duolingo. For something that is provided for free, it is a really good course to at least get to a "high beginner - low-intermediate level. I like the fact that the course (like all the Duolingo courses) is structured in a way that strongly encourages you to go back over lessons already done (i.e., the "bar" concept). I also like the "Health" concept (i.e., when you run out of "Health" you can't continue until you practice (or have enough gems to refill). Or it works as a cue to stop for the day and resume the next day (or later).

    I am coming to this with a background in Hebrew (Hebrew school as a kid, ulpan in Israel), so I am not a raw beginner. I agree with what others have said here and elsewhere that those starting from square one really need to learn the alphabet, vowels, and some very basic vocabulary first.

    The negatives? The "repairing the streak" concept is silly. (Come on! If you break a streak, it is broken. Paying $4.99 doesn't change that fact.). The purchase of lingots also doesn't make sense from a didactic viewpoint (i.e., if you run out of "Health," it really makes sense to either practice or stop for the day); being able to constantly refill as a result of purchased lingots is probably not going to help you acquire mastery). I find the advertising irritating also.

    But these are all quibbles. The site has a right to earn money. In that regard, offering a "premium membership" that eliminates the ads might be a way to go.

    I would be interested in comments to this post from others seriously engaged in the Hebrew course.


    Those starting from square really need to learn the alphabet, vowels, and some very basic vocabulary first. It is necessary and essential also to teach the handwritten alphabet, and the transliteration of sentences for beginners.


    How should one go about learning these things?


    I suggest that the Hebrew characters (א, ט, ל, י, ת ח, ב, ו, ק ...) are arranged below the table for translating the sentence. In Portuguese this is already done in the following cases: ç, é, ê, õ, ã, for example.


    Wait!!! Verbs makes alphabet look like a walk in the park :/ I just can't advance in learning them!


    The course needs to be redesigned. Moves too quickly and fails to teach. Should be completely redone using the newly released Arabic as an example. The Arabic course is brilliant.


    The Arabic, Japanese and Greek courses deal with different scripts very well, as far as I have found so far. The Hindi one uses a very confusing system for putting the letter sounds into English, and that doesn't work for me, but I'm amazed how fast I have picked the Arabic up. The Hebrew one could put in a section at the start working patiently on the letters and sounds and anyone knowing that can just skip it- then it caters for everyone- the utter noobs, like me, and the ones who know a fair bit already.


    An initial section dealing with Hebrew letters and sounds (including handwriting) would be most welcome. Transliteration of all sentences would be extremely useful.


    Sure it might be hard at first, but don't give up. It's a really beautiful language and a joy to learn...


    I am facing the same problem in this regard , quite hats to remember all the letters from the first time.


    the binyanim kills me always . habinyanim horgecha


    For those wanting a good resource for learning the alphabet, http://www.cartoonhebrew.com/ does a great job at teaching it.


    I feel like a words tab would be really, really helpful :( Does anyone know if there's a way to get one made even though this isn't a staff-created course?


    I know, the Hebrew letters and language are hard


    For me, they ask me to type the English translation in Hebrew and I can't.


    There are lots of online Hebrew keyboards that you can use. If you find that that doesn't work for you, you can purchase Hebrew letter stickers for your keyboard and download the DuoKeyboard add-on for your web browser. Here are the links to a couple discussions that talk about keyboard options if you need further assistance: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16251269, https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17767515.



    I am interested in everything about Hebrew. Everything that can help me to learn reading without masoretics (vowels).


    What books do you have? I'll put some stuff together on Dropbox. If there's a book I can include in that which you don't have, I'll add that too.


    I do not have any books. I study by Duolingo only. I do not know what Dropbox is. Thanks for the understanding. Are you a native to the Hebrew language? I studied that language for about 7 years, then I forgot everything, now I'm remembering. I could never read anything without the Masoretics. I'd love to read a magazine, a newspaper, an ad ...


    I'm basically half German, half Jewish. Both family lines going many, many generations back. I have been studying Hebrew on and off for a few years. I was beating my head against a brick wall trying to crack the patterns through analysis. I'm doing things differently now.

    Dropbox is a site where one can upload files that can be shared. I'll zip a collection to be uploaded to Dropbox for you.


    Here we go, I uploaded the files in a new thread. Hope it's helpful


    I was able to install Dropbox. Now, how can I access the files you've downloaded?


    I saw that there was a problem with Dropbox and my rar file. Everything was setup fine, so I don't know why. I reuploaded it on the linked thread via Google Drive. It's accessible without an app. Apologies for the inconvenience.


    I liken learning Hebrew the Duolingo way to learning to read English using "whole language" methods rather than phonetically. Whole language depends very much on rote memory initially; however the brain soon learns patterns--quite passively--and some "rules" are appreciated by the learner.

    Memrise is great supplemental work for this course as it drills the learner's rote memory.

    However, keeping a list of EVERY new word introduced in each Duolingo lesson has been very valuable to me. After writing the word on the list, I look it up on Hebrewpod101's dictionary, where I find the word transliterated. In other words, if you enter מיץ in the search bar, you will see the word "mitz" in the results and hear an audio of how it is pronounced. Take time and memorize it.

    After all, English learners must take the time to understand the difference between knit, knight, and night!


    whats the chance of starting off with phonics?


    Yes Hebrew is hard and wonderfull at the same time. It warmes my heart to do the exercises. Hebrew is the best medicin to a stress, when you study hebrew you can't think of anything ells.


    Yes, it is the same problem with Russian. Whoever sets up the language learning in other scripts should learn from the excellent Hindi course and concentrate on each individual symbol and how they sound and then put them together to form words.

    Learn Hebrew in just 5 minutes a day. For free.