Commonly Used Hebrew Words and How to Say Them
This article will teach you some commonly used phrases in Hebrew. I may not make a "Native" Hebrew speaker out of you right away but it will give a "taste" of this beautiful language!
While Hebrew is not a common language to be heard around the world, you would be surprised how many Hebrew words you may already know.The language is over 4000 years old but has had many changes throughout the years. In this article, I will be talking about modern Hebrew. Hebrew ican be a difficult language to learn. It uses a different alphabet system and different sounds. It takes many years of intense lessons to master Hebrew (Ivrit). I learned in an intensive absorption program in Israel caled Ulpan but my real knowledge came from my day-to-day encounters.
Common Hebrew Words
- Boy- Yeled (yell ed)
- Girl- Yelda (yell dah)
- Children-Yeladim (Yell ah deem)
- Friend (masculine)- Chaver (khah vare)
- Friend (feminine)- Chavera (khah vare ah)
- Come with me- Bo iti (boe ee tee)
- Come to me- Bo alay (boe ah lie)
- Yes- ken
- No- lo
- Please-Bevakasha (Bah-vah-kah-shah)
- Thank you- todah (toe-dah)
- the bathroom- Hasherutim (Hah sher-oo-teem)
- the restaurant- Hamisadah (Hah miss a dah)
- the bank- Habank (Hah bahnk)
Common Hebrew Phrases
- Hello, good-bye and peace- Shalom (Shah-lome)
- My name is______- Kareem li____________(Kah reem lee)
- or more simply:
- I am_________- Ani_________ (Ah-knee)
- Thank you very much- Todah raba! (toe-dah rah bah)
- Good Morning- Boker Tov (Boe kehr tohv)
- Good Evening- Erev Tov (Eh rehv tohv)
- How are you (Masculine)-Ma Shlomka (Mah shlome khah)
- How are you (Feminine)- Ma shlomech (Mah shlome mech)
- I am fine- Ani Beseder (Ah-knee beh seh der)
- Where is...?- Eiffo (Ay-foe)
- I am from America- Ani mi America (Ah-knee me America) or insert where you are from.
- Do you speak English (Masculine)-Ata medeber Anglit? (Ah tah meh deh behr Ahn gleet)
- Do you speak English (Feminine)- At medeberit Anglit? (At meh deh behr it Ahn gleet)
Examples of Written HebrewClick thumbnail to view full-size
Familiar Hebrew and Yiddish words
chutzpah // shlemiel // shlamazal
mazal tov // bar/bat mitzvah
goy // oy vay // boychick // mensch
kvetch // shpulkies // yenta
tushy //ferklempt //
The Use of Cognates to Expand your Vocabulary
As in most languages, there are several "Hebrew" words that have been borrowed. I have compiled a list for you along with pronounciations:
- Sweater- svedder
- Jeans-jean seem
- University- ooh nah verse ee tah
- Jacket- Juh ket
- Television- televisia
- Radio- rah dee oh
- Battery- bat uh ree uh
Electronic Language Translators
Although I had a slightly diffeerent one, I really appreciated being able to hear the word.
If you are traveling in Israel
In Israel, all students must learn English from the early grades on. All university students must pass an English proficiency test. Street signs, as well as most other signs, are also in English. You would not have much trouble finding someone to speak in English with. There are so many dictionaries and electronic translators available, as well. You can also download translators but, beware, many of them are not accurate. A popular, accurate one is Babylon. You can download the free version to your computer here.
Where in the world is Israel?
Hebrew is the Official Language of the State of Israel
Examples using a root word
An Interesting Fact about Hebrew
Most Hebrew words have a three letter root. All grammatical forms of the word come from that root. For example:
- Gadal- He grew (verb)
- Lgdol- To grow (V)
- Godol- Large (adjective)
- Godel- Size (N)
- Mgdal-Tower (N)
Hebrew is also a much more logical language in terms of grammar. Unlike English, there are 7 definitive ways to conjugate a verb and very few exceptions to the rule.
If you are at a loss for the conjugation or the word itself, knowing the shoresh (root) of word will help you or the person you are speaking to.