Welp... listening exercises are going to force me to memorize which words have ע and which have א, since you can't hear the difference. Though I've heard tell that native speakers do, in fact, put a hint of vocalization on them. Is that true?
For the most part they do not differentiate... but there are still some who do.
what? no it's not! XD the letter ה' sounds a lot like the letter H. altough this days most of the Hebrew speakers don't pronounced ע' as it is ought to be pronounced, it's usually sounds like the letter א (that sounds a lot like a/e/i/u/o, depends on the Niqqud)..