Native Hebrew Speaker Here to Help!

Hello there, everyone! מה נישמע? I have realized that one of the best ways to learn a language is to have someone native to that language help you with your studies. So hi, my name is Neta-Li, and I am willing to answer all your questions if you need. נדבר!

August 24, 2016


I study Biblical Hebrew at the university. What is the biggest trap for a beginner when it comes to Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew? I know words like "shel" doesn't exist in Biblical Hebrew, and the grammatical endings of the words, instead of other words that exists in Modern Hebrew.

I'm well, by the way.

August 30, 2016

Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew are not that different if you understand biblical Hebrew you will understand Modern Hebrew there are only a few words the are different, for example "i" in Biblical Hebrew is אנוכי but in Modern Hebrew its אני they are different but not that different.

August 31, 2016

An old number is Modern Hebrew is 80% Biblical Hebrew. However אני is getting used in Biblical Hebrew as well, according to the teacher and the ones who wrote the course literature.

August 31, 2016

only god says אני in Biblical Hebrew there are a few other times

August 31, 2016

How can you determine the gender of nouns?

August 24, 2016

That's a tricky one. As in all languages, there are irregulars, but since I grew up speaking Hebrew it was a lot of trial and error for me. Usually, the rule is that when a noun ends with either "ה" or "ת" it's female, such as when you compare the word "איש" (man) to the word "אישה" (woman); or, alternitavely, when you compare the word "סופר" (author-male) to the word "סופרת" (author-female). It also helps trying to make the noun plural, and see how it ends.

If a plural noun ends in "ים" then it is usually, but not always, male. If it ends in "ות" then it is usually female.

ילד אחד, הרבה ילדים. Yeled ehad, harbe yeladim. (One boy, a lot of boys) ילדה אחת, הרבה ילדות. Yalda ahat, harbe yeladot. (One girl, a lot of girls)

Now, as I said, there are irregularities. That is why it is not unusual to hear people, both adult and children, who are new to the language say "נמלות" (nemalot / ant) instead of "נמלים" (nemalim / ants). In these cases it's basically trial and error. After enough practice, you get the hang of it.

Last note: mixed plural nouns were once said as male. However, since the Academy of the Hebrew Language dictated otherwise, it is common that you go according to what gender there is a majority of.

I am not sure how we handle gender neutrality to this day.

I guess we just don't.

Hope this helped!

August 24, 2016

The Academy says to still use the male form for mixed plural nouns, regardless of the distribution of the genders in the group:

"צורת הזכר בעברית משמשת לא רק לזכר... היא גם הצורה הסתמית, הלא מסומנת. על כן צורת הזכר יפה גם לנקבות, מה שאין כן צורת הנקבה."

August 27, 2016


August 27, 2016

When it comes to mixed genders I simply use the masculine grammar, but then I'm a beginner.

August 30, 2016

You aren't making a mistake, so you're pretty well off!

August 31, 2016

Can you describe to me how (et) works exactly? I'm having a little trouble with direct objects.

August 25, 2016

I will try my best to explain. The word את ("et") is usually placed between a verb and an object upon which an action is being done. For example, the sentence, "My dog ate my homework." would be translated like so:

הכלב שלי אכל את שיעורי הבית שלי. HaKelev sheli akhal et shi'urey ha'bait sheli.

What did the dog eat? My homework.

In this case, the word "את" will follow the verb "אכל" (akhal / ate) and precede the object that is being eaten, a.k.a. my homework (שיעורי הבית שלי).

מה הכלב אכל? את שיעורי הבית שלי.

Ma ha'kelev akhal? Et shi'urey ha'bait sheli.

You can try by practicing with sentences. Basically, את is used when an action is being done to an object. In sentences, you have a subject and a predicate. So when you divide sentences, try to find the object that is doing the action, the action, and ultimately the object on which the action is being done.

I hope this helped. I tried explaining it the best I could.

August 25, 2016

Please note that the usage of את depends on the definiteness (יידוע) of the object being acted upon. את appears only when acting upon definite objects. Definite objects are specific objects known to those participating in the conversation. Fortunately, definiteness in Hebrew and English are very similar.

The following cases are definite in hebrew: (מיודע)

  1. Definite article ה ('the' in english) : הכלב אכל את התפוח. (The dog ate THE apple).

  2. Possessive: (my your etc.) הכלב אכל את שיעורי הבית שלי. (The dog ate MY homework, like Neta wrote.)

  3. Proper nouns (names): הכלב אכל את דוד. (The dog ate DAVID).

  4. Pronouns (you, me, him etc.): הכלב אכל אותי. (The dog ate ME). Note the word אותי which is את + אני. Each pronoun has it's own combination with את.

  5. Demonstrative pronoun (This, that, those etc.) : הכלב אכל את זה. (The dog ate THIS/THAT).

For an indefinite noun, which does not indicate a specific instance of an object, we do not use את:

הכלב אכל תפוח

(The dog ate AN apple). Note the indefinite article, this is not a specific article.

August 31, 2016

That dog is too hungry!

April 14, 2017

Thank you for the addition!

August 31, 2016

Hi Neta-LiBar!

I know this is kinda late but I just found my old screenshot from a Duolingo lesson and then I found this discussion. A coincidence?

In the screen shot, it seems that there is "li" after "akhal" and your example above does not have "li". So, is both correct?

March 31, 2018

It helped. It makes a lot more sense. :) I'll put this into practice this coming week.

August 26, 2016

Do you think the course offers by Duolingo (Hebrew for English speakers) is a good one? Thanks

August 26, 2016

I think it's not bad. Obviously, people learn differently. It's a great course to help you learn the basic stuff. Once you finish it, you can easily learn using other methods, too, such as reading or television.

August 26, 2016

Are there any groups that chat in basic Hebrew for practice?

August 31, 2016

This is an Israeli Facebook group that communicates in both Hebrew and English. You can easily ask people there for more help if needed:

September 1, 2016

Hey! I've made a survey for my research project about the current Jewish languages orientated either towards Jewish people or people who have some connection to Judaism and Jewish traditions. Do you think you could help me by answering these questions? It'll take you just a couple of minutes! This is the link:

Thank you very much!

August 22, 2017

I already speak arabic, which makes hebrew a bit easier. BUt are there any specific tips for arabic speakers that are learning hebrew

May 3, 2018

There's a website for Arabic speakers learning Hebrew,

January 6, 2019

Do you have suggestions for Hebrew language movies and kids books? Anything will be gratefully appreciated. Visiting your magnificent county in March 2019. שלום

December 12, 2018

Hello :)
I made a compilation of some Hebrew resources, including kids' books, that you can use.

Hope it helps!

January 22, 2019

I am in Virginia and would like to know how I can speak to someone in Hebrew who is a native speaker. I am trying to learn but speaking with someone would be a wonderful help. Do you know how I could do that?

March 3, 2019

Hello. I sympathize with your plight. I spent some time hunting around for somebody who would be willing to do video chats with me in elementary Hebrew for money. There was only one person willing to do so but it was not feasible because of the time difference (I live in Japan). It seems there is a ton of material available for all of the functions EXCEPT speaking. For example, I am the first and only response you've received in the two weeks since you posted (and I only started here 8 days ago).

March 18, 2019

Hello Neta-Li, one question? Are you from Israel ?

August 24, 2016

Yes, I am

August 24, 2016

i am also from israel

August 24, 2016

Awesome! What area are you from?

August 24, 2016

i live in the מרכז

August 25, 2016

are you speak spanish?

August 25, 2016

No, sorry. Not really. I speak some Italian, though, if that helps?

August 25, 2016

Lovely to find this discussion and I have already benefited from reading questions and the excellent answers. Thank you!

September 1, 2016
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