Hebrew Time #17 - Possessives
Welcome to Hebrew Time #17! 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.
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Today we are going to learn about how to express possession. There are two ways of doing this in Hebrew - today, we are only going to learn how to use the less formal, more everyday (and easier) version, which is using the word “of” - של. (The second way is that Hebrew does actually have a genitive case for nouns, where you change the ending of the noun to indicate possession). The word של itself is originally a contraction of the words “-ש” - “that” and “-ל” - “to”.
The word של uses suffixes to signify person and number as follows:
My - שלי
Your (s.m.) - שלךָ
Your (s.f.) - שלךְ
His - שלו
Her - שלה
Our - שלנו
Your (p.m.) - שלכם
Your (p.f.) - שלכן
Their (m) - שלהם
Their (f) - שלהן
When talking about a noun being possessed - we add the word "ה" (the) to the noun. When we are talking to the noun, no "ה" is needed. We will use כבשה - sheep as an example noun:
Talking about the sheep:
הכבשה שלי אוכלת - My sheep is eating. Literally: "the sheep of mine is eating".
Talking to the sheep:
בוקר טוב, כבשה שלי! - Good morning, my sheep! Literally: "Good morning, sheep of mine!".
There is another case when we don’t need to use the word “ה” - certain nouns don’t require its use, even when we are talking about them. The most common example of such nouns is family members - for example, when talking about your:
אבא - father/dad
אמא - mother/mum/mom
אח - brother
אחות - sister
you don’t use “ה”. For example, “אמא שלי חכמה” - my mother is smart.
We can't finish without telling you: להתראות!
See you later!
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Thanks DvirBartov for helping me write this post!