The "vav" conjunction has a lot of sounds: Ve, U, and Va. There is a rule for when do we use each sound?
Yes there is, it's rather complex. Basically, "ve" is the default. It becomes "u" before a schwa, and before bet, vav, mem and pe. I think that's the most frequent change. At school I learned to memorise it as "bumaf" בומ"ף and it sound as silly in Hebrew as it does in English. :-) Before אני it becomes "va" because the alef in אני has a diacritic sign that sounds just like any other "a" sound but it does that thing to the vav of conjunction because it just does. There are a few more changes but there are not so frequent.
Oh, and, I forgot: in daily spoken language we usually don't bother with all that and just say "ve".
Thank you for the answer. I knew that Vav has a "U" sound before labial (M, P/F, B/V) consonants. But the "Va" is kinda trickier to understand. I have studied it a year ago (and I forgot it all, lol), but I did it using niqqud. So now, I am very very confused on how the natives can distinguish so many grammar things which are distinguished with niqqud, but they still do it, but without niqqud.
Almog, thank you so much for all of this. I've got some formal hebrew training from synagogue and university and am using other resources as well as duolingo but have been confused by how often the male speaker in this course pronounces Vav in ways other than ve. Perhaps duolingo should address this in some way? Either way, I wrote down everything you explained as it's very useful. תודה רבה
I thought the vav could also be translated 'but' depending on the context... Is that true or not? It was marked wrong in the exercise. Thanks!
In classical/biblical Hebrew it can mean "but". It seems it's not the case for modern Hebrew.
That must be where I picked up the idea, I'm learning Biblical Hebrew as well. Thanks for your reply!
To my knowledge, no. There are several words that serve this function such as אבל, which means "but" in the common sense of "however," as well as אלא, which is used like "rather."
Is it correct to say הילדה רעבה והילד לא, or do you have to say הילדה רעבה והילד לא רעב?
How weird is this? The same question came up and I repeated the answer the way I did it before, without the redundant noun, just so that I could report it as "should have been marked right." But it was accepted as correct this time -- same lesson!
When you have a vav before a pronoun like "אני" doesn't it function as a disjunctive (e.g. "but)? They rejected my answer
I knew Duolingo would be happy with "She is hungry and I am not hungry." Just for fun I tried putting in "She is hungry and I am not," because that is perfectly good English. Its meaning cannot be misunderstood, and in fact is probably preferable because we prefer to leave out redundant words. Unfortunately they marked it wrong.