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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BartiBar

Hebrew Time #12 - Articles

Hello everyone!

שָלְוֹם לְכוּלַם

Welcome to Hebrew Time #12! For those of us who are joining now – Hebrew Time is a series of weekly posts about the Hebrew language, Israel, and the Jewish people.

You can see the previous post here

As most of you know, Hebrew for English speakers course is in the incubator and we have started working on it! But don’t worry, we’re going to keep going with these posts in the meantime to give you your weekly Hebrew fix:)

Let’s begin!


Our lesson for today is about Articles in Hebrew. You might want to take a look on Hebrew Time #10 when we covered the Hebrew nouns, adjectives, plural and dual forms.


In Hebrew, adding “the” to a noun is called Yidua (יידוע).

In Hebrew (like in English) there is only one definite article: the letter “ה” (hey) in Hebrew, added to the noun, pronounced as “Ha”. There are no indefinite articles.

We add the letter “ה” to the noun as follows:

A ship = ספינה

The ship =הספינה(HaSfina)

This is the same for every noun.

That was easy. So...when do we have to actually start paying attention ?

Well, in Hebrew, unlike in English, when we have a construct state (a noun modifying another noun) or a noun + adjective, we have special rules for adding “ה”.

We have three cases:

1.Construct state .(Tzeruf smichut).

2.Noun + adjective.(Shem veto’aro).

3.Combined case (i.e. both together).


1. Construct state

The construct state in Hebrew is a way of connecting multiple nouns in a sentence, where some of the nouns modify other nouns. It’s also a form of possessive.

For example, in the phrase “head of the valley”, the noun “head” is modifying the word “valley”, and is also telling us that the head belongs to the valley. In Hebrew, instead of using “of the”, we use “ה” as follows.

Let’s give an example in Hebrew:

Prime minister =ראש ממשלה

This phrase is built from two words: ראש - Rosh(Head) and ממשלה - Memshala(Government).

Which literally means “head of a government”.

Now let’s add ה(hey)

The prime minister =ראש הממשלה(Rosh HaMemshala)

As you can see we added the letter ה(Hey) to the second (the last) word.

When we use the definite article to talk about nouns in a construct state no matter how many nouns we have, we always add the letter ה to the last word.


2.Noun + adjective

When we have a noun and an adjective, we add the letter ה(Hey) to both of them.

For example:

Smart guy = בחור חכם

The smart guy = הבחור החכם(HaBachur HaChakham)

When we have more than one adjective we keep adding ה to them(both the noun and its adjectives).

For example:

Smart and beautiful guy =(VeYafe) בחור חכם ויפה

The smart and beautiful guy = הבחור החכם והיפה(HaBachur HaChakham VeHaYafe).

(Ve is the Hebrew word for “and”).


3.Combined case

When we have a combined case (a construct state that act as a single noun and it has an adjective), we use the same rules.

For example:

Smart prime minister = ראש ממשלה חכם

The smart prime minister =ראש הממשלה החכם (Rosh HaMemshala HaChakham)

Multiple adjectives act the same.

That’s it! You now know how to use articles in Hebrew!


We can't finish without telling you:

להתראות!

See you later!


That was the 12th Hebrew Time, thanks for joining us!

Join our facebook group here!

You can follow the progress of the Hebrew for English speakers course and get some updates here.

Thanks MaeMcA for helping me write this post!

That's it!

עֶרֶב טוֹב

Erev Tov! (Good Evening!)

Hebrew Team :D

March 29, 2015

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evankenyon2

I never knew how that worked until now! Good luck with the Hebrew course!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirLFC

מצויין כרגיל :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loolitay

זה מאד שונה מאנגלית אבל זה גם די פשוט לדעתי.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wladamac

So pretty much just like Arabic then


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sepharadit

You should mention that the construct/possessive also exists in English, but in reverse order, like in "valley's head". In English you also add just one article before the same word: the valley's head.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CMcV1

although sometimes it could be translated to a possessive phrase the construct is not a possessive phrase it is something that exist in semitic languages and dosen't exist in the hindu-european languages


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brina431719

Toda! Another great post about the way Hebrew grammar works.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CMcV1

if you see a sentence with an article on the noun but without article on the adjectives it is a case of omitted auxiliary verb e.g. הבחור חכם (habachur chakham) - the guy is smart


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolinekoosh

how might you say something like "The boy IS smart"

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