I think you're right, even in Israel, kids start learning the letters by the niquud, although after first grade, they aren't using it at all and no one using it in israel even not in the literature
Trust me, the niquud isn't that necessary. Once you have a good knowledge of vocabulary in Hebrew, you will automatically recognize the words in any Hebrew text.
I have question, i wrote: הים אבא ואמא?
Earlier I learned formal questions are preceded with הים, but because the voice did not say it, it shouldn't be there? Even when transcripting someone?
It's האם (ha-im), not הים (which would mean "the sea" - hayam). But it can only be used to turn a sentence into a yes/no question. "אבא ואמא" is not a complete sentence, so you can't add האם here.
Can "Dad and mom?" be "Dad or mom" and sound the same? I wrote the same in the answer box and both were correct!!! Does this mean that writing this language is not and exact art??? I am sooo confused!!
No. "And" and "or" are written differently and pronounced differently. "And" is "ו" and is pronounced "va". It is always attached to the word that follows it. "Or" is "או" and is pronounced "o/oh". It is a separate word. You got over your confusion pretty quickly. It's only been four months and you are already Level 12. Congratulations!
One of the early challenges for me with this course is the pronunciation of aleph, which seems to have a myriad of different pronunciations depending on what other letters it's paired with.
Would I be correct in understanding that aleph sounds like quite an open "ah" when appearing before and after bet, and also before chet, but more like an "ee" when preceding mem and a sort of "aw" sound when it comes before vav?
"א" is a silent letter. Look at it as a resting place for vowels. More often than not, it seems to have an "ah" sound. But, it can have the other vowel sounds, as well. If it has a "vav/ו" following it "או", it will have an "o/oh" or an "u/oo" sound like in the word "boot". If it has a "yod/י" following it, it will usually, it seems, be pronounced "i/ee" and other times "e/ai". In these examples, vav and yod are acting as vowels. These are the only rules I'm aware of off the top of my head. Remember, though, that "א" can be a "resting place" for the vowels without another letter in association with it, e.g. "אבא /abba", "אמא /ima", "אגוז /ehgoz" (nut).
Update: I just went through all the "א" entries in my dictionary. As a rule of thumb, it seems that in modern Hebrew, "א"s by themselves will virtually always be pronounced "ah" or "eh". For an "o/oh" or "u/oo" sound, alef will be followed by vav "או", and for an "i/ee" or "e/ai" sound alef will be followed by yod "י".
Boy, that was a lot of work! But, I learned something, too.
I find it diffucult to sound a word and expect to be able to write the Hebrew. Could be learn the alphabet and the letter sounds first. Seeing it is easier but writing is a challenge