Is there a way to sound out whether to spell או or עו ? Or do they sound just alike, and we just have to memorize the spelling? Native English speaker, so I understand having to just memorize which letter to use when more than one makes the same sound! but I was just wondering.
In ancient Hebrew, the sound was different; in modern Hebrew, they are both silent (except for attached vowels, which are usually not marked anyway).
(Wikipedia says that ‘some older Mizrahi speakers’ distinguish the two, pronouncing ע with its ancient deep gutteral sound. This sound is also preserved in many dialects of Arabic in the cognate letter ﻉ.)
In Hebrew, and a lot of other languages, there is no difference between the "simple present" and the "present progressive" with "-ing". Context lets you know what is meant. In English, however, the simple present means you do something in general. i.e. "I eat meat" means I am a meat eater. "I am eating meat" means I am eating meat right now. "Do you eat breakfast?" "Yes, I generally eat breakfast everyday." "What are you doing right now?" "I'm eating breakfast right now."