how are you suposed to learn how to translate hebrew!

i mean like it is written backwards (for people who read left to right) and as far a si know they arent showing me any vowels. please help me if you know how to pronounce anything!

December 10, 2018


Sorted by top post

There are vowel markers called the nikkud. However, they are only used in children's books, poetry, and religious texts. Israeli children stop using them in grade school. You can find sources to learn using the nikkud. However, they aren't very common. As you learn you'll get used the patterns of the language and become more familiar with the vocabulary.

If you remove the vowels from English you can still read it because you know the language.

Th brwn cw wlkd thrgh a fld.

Personally, I think it's just lazy on the language developers part because the nikkud is a pain in the butt to type and there are less sources available for them to pull from so it's easier to just leave it out. The reason Israeli children don't have to use the nikkud is that they've been immersed in the language since birth. An English-speaking adult is going to have a much harder time reaching that point of understanding without ever knowing the nikkud in the first place.

This book was very helpful to me. It will teach you all the vowel markers and their sounds:

There is an audiobook for it too. If you've never used audible you get your first book free so I got this one as a companion.

You can also find nikkud in grammar books too. I'm using this one currently:

This tool is also very helpful after you learn to read the vowel markers. It will add the vowel markers to words so it can help when you're not sure how to pronounce something. It doesn't always recognize the correct tense with verbs. So, it isn't perfect. But, verbs mostly follow the same patterns anyway based on what group they're in and the tense. Here it is:

Go to this link.

You can take something like this:

הגבר מדבר אל האישה

Copy and paste it in the large box.

Check the box מלא (full) and then click the נקד (dot) button.


הָגֶּבֶר מְדַבֵּר אֶל הָאִישָּׁה

When you're more comfortable reading with the nikkud you can always look for children's books to practice. There are even some places online such as this one:

December 10, 2018

Unless you are planning to learn Biblical Hebrew, it is pointless to learn nikkud as it is only for children and religious books, and also dictionaries. It is entirely possible to learn without them, and in my opinion, it is a handicap. With the exception of Biblical Hebrew. I started out not using nikkud and now face having to remember the annoying vowel points ( I never liked them!) because I want to read the Bible in Hebrew. The way I learned the alef-bet, is by writing out the letters, learning the alef-bet song, and using a flashcard course from Memrise ( I would assume Tinycards and Anki also have one).

This will teach how to write the aleph-bet and if you look around the website, you will find the nikkud if you so wish. It also provides the cursive script, which while not necessary at the moment, Israelis themselves do not write much in block script. After you get the hang of it, you could try to write cursive, which by then won't take much learning.

December 10, 2018

I don't understand why it's pointless to learn. Children's books and dictionaries are both resources I often learn when learning a new language. Taking away the nikkud is fine when you already know how to speak the language but when you're learning new vocab it's much easier to read it and have an idea of how it's said rather than looking up every new word on a website like Forvo where you can hear it pronounced.

December 10, 2018

I believe mostly its a matter of preference. My point is that a person will have to learn to read without them anyway, so why not start out that way? And it takes extra time to learn nikkud... it's all in how you want to do it I guess.

December 10, 2018

Most modern Hebrew is written without vowel markers (nikkudot). However, their near complete absence in a language-learning course like Duolingo is kind of baffling to me. Of course, with time, one should eventually manage to read Hebrew without the aid of vowels, but expecting new speakers to be able to do so - especially if they have absolutely no foundation in Hebrew - is really asking a lot. What’s even worse is that there are several exercises each lesson with absolutely no audio forcing you to rely purely on visual consonant memorization in order to translate. There's a reason nikkud marks are used in things like children's books: because they are extremely useful for those still learning to read, comprehend, and speak the language!

Although I really wish Duolingo would do something to fix this, like EndlessCascade said, leaving the nikkudot out was probably decided as a time-saver when designing the course which is a real shame. Like, to be really honest, if you’re COMPLETELY new to reading and pronouncing Hebrew, it might be best to access other Hebrew-learning resources aimed at beginners first, familiarize yourself with word structure, pronunciation, alef-bet, and nikkudot, and THEN return to Duolingo once you feel more comfortable.

As for your difficulties with reading right-to-left, unfortunately you’re just going to have to get used to that overtime as you familiarize yourself with the language. I promise it gets much easier; it just takes a lot of practice!

December 11, 2018

I absolutely agree with you about the nikkud. When you know the language and just need to know how to read it you can get by without nikkud but when you're learning as an adult and learning to read and speak at the same time it is beneficial to learn it. Especially with Duolingo where audio is hit or miss.

December 11, 2018

I have learned how to pronounce words using the audio from Duolingo, creating flashcards (with romanized sounds in brackets), and using to hear the sounds of words for which no audio is available. This has helped me enough that I am slowly but surely learning how to pronounce Hebrew.

December 10, 2018
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