Dialogue

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Vocabulary

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תודה [תּוֹדָה] todah thanks
מה [מָה] ma what
שלום [שָׁלוֹם] shalom Hello, goodbye or peace
שלומך [שְּׁלוֹמְךָ] shlom’ħa your peace or your condition
בסדר [בְּסֵדֶר] beseder fine or in order

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson Is Asking "How are you?" in Hebrew.
מה שלומך?
Mah shlom’cħa?
"How are you?" 


This phrase is the most basic and formal way to ask someone how they are, but you don't need to use it only in formal situations. You can use this phrase with your family, friends, or colleagues.

Using This Phrase for All Genders and Numbers


מָה שְּׁלוֹמְךָ/מָה שְּׁלוֹמֶךְ/מָה שְּׁלוֹמְכֶם/מָה שְׁלוֹמְכֶן. Hebrew often divides people into four main groups in dialogue: masculine singular, feminine singular, masculine plural, and feminine plural. In this phrase, you have מה or "what" followed by שלומ- , meaning "peace," followed by a possessive ending. You are literally saying "What's your peace?" or "what's your condition?" What you are really saying is "How are you?" You put the appropriate ending on the last word according to who you are talking to. Here is the breakdown:

"Your" Suffix

Suffix in Hebrew

Transliteration

Masculine singular

-ךָ

-cha

Feminine singular

-ֶךְ

-ech

Masculine plural

-כֶם

-chem

Feminine plural

-כֶן

-chen

You will see these endings repeated in other words and phrases as you learn more Hebrew. The feminine plural is seldom used in Israel anymore. Most often, Israelis opt to use the masculine plural for any group of people, whether male or female. The reason for this is that using the feminine plural is a very specific case where you have only women. If there is one man present, you must use the masculine plural.

Here are some examples with these second person possessive endings using the word for "uncle," דוד.

For Example:

Gender

Hebrew

Transliteration

"English"

Masculine

דּוֹדְךָ

Dod'kha

"your (singular) uncle"

Feminine

דּוֹדֵךְ

Dodekh

"your (singular) uncle"

Masculine

דּוֹדְכֶם

Dod'khem

"your (plural) uncle"

Feminine

דּוֹדְכֶן

Dod'khen

"your (plural) uncle"


And now let's look at the breakdown with the example from our dialogue. In the dialogue, we heard "How are you?" in the masculine singular, because the speaker was speaking to a man. You need to change the ending of shlom- depending on who you are talking to. Here is the list of possibilities in the second person "you."

Gender

Hebrew

Transliteration

"English"

Masculine

מה שלומך?

Mah shlom'kha?

"How are you?" (singular)

Feminine

מה שלומך?

Mah shlomekh?

"How are you?" (singular)

Masculine

מה שלומכם?

Mah shlom'chem?

"How are you?" (plural)

Feminine

מה שלומכן?

Mah shlom'chen?

"How are you?" (plural)

Cultural Insights

What to Expect on the Job in Israel


The work culture in Israel is different from other cultures you may be familiar with. Work is relationship oriented in Israel, which means that having a warm, open, and friendly workplace is more important than efficiency or strict deadlines. Since the workplace is such an open place, friendships in the workplace are common. Unlike other countries where work and personal life are separate, in Israel the two often overlap. Colleagues will meet together during their work breaks and talk about their personal lives. Work relationships frequently extend to life outside of the workplace as well, with colleagues meeting for dinner or drinks after work. Discussions about your personal life in the workplace may be uncomfortable for some, but for Israelis it's normal. Conversations may even extend to how much rent you pay or how much debt you owe to the bank. This open and blunt atmosphere may be new for you, but if you take the time to get to know your co-workers, they will appreciate it.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Shira: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com, Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 1 - Saying Hello in Hebrew. I'm your host, Shira.
Amir: Shalom, Ani Amir.
Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to greet people in Hebrew.
Amir: The conversation takes place at the office.
Shira: It’s between two colleagues who work together daily.
Amir: Although this is an informal conversation, the same conversation could be used in a formal setting as well.
Shira: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Female: שלום.
Male: שלום.
Female: מה שלומך?
Male: בסדר, תודה.
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Male: שלום.
Shira: Hello.
Male: שלום.
Shira: Hello.
Male: מה שלומך?
Shira: How are you?
Male: בסדר, תודה.
Shira: Fine, thanks.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Amir: So, what cultural gem are we sharing with our listeners in this lesson?
Shira: I was thinking about office friendships.
Amir: The office can be a great place to make friends in Israel.
Shira: There is much less separation between your personal life and professional life like there is in other countries.
Amir: Work in Israel is very relationship oriented.
Shira: That means that although you are there to work, your relationship with your colleagues goes before work issues.
Amir: That’s right. Israelis value a warm and open workplace, more than they do efficiency or rules of the work place. Many colleagues share their break time together with a cup of coffee and conversation about their personal lives.
Shira: Others may meet up after work for a drink or dinner with the rest of their families.
Amir: Israelis are curious about each other and their families, so conversation in the work place may extend to discussions about home life or raising children.
Shira: That’s right! They are also curious about how much money you pay for rent or how much debt you have.
Amir: Yes, those are topics that are not considered off limits in Israel.
Shira: Actually, you may find it difficult to keep your private life to yourself sometimes!
Amir: That’s true, if you find yourself in an Israeli work environment, make sure that you take some time to get to know your colleagues, even if it’s a little outside your comfort zone.
Shira: They will appreciate that and they will hold you in higher esteem for it. Okay, now let’s go to the vocabulary for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Shira: First we have:
Amir: שלום [natural native speed]
Shira: Hello, goodbye or peace
Amir: שלום [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: שלום [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: מה [natural native speed]
Shira : What
Amir: מה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: מה [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: שלומך [natural native speed]
Shira: Your peace or your condition
Amir: שלומך [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: שלומך [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: בסדר [natural native speed]
Shira: Fine or in order
Amir: בסדר [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: בסדר [natural native speed]
Shira: And finally:
Amir: תודה [natural native speed]
Shira: Thanks
Amir: תודה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: תודה [natural native speed]
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Shira: Now let's take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases from this lesson.
Amir: Let's start with the word שלום.
Shira: Shalom is a word that can have several meanings. The main meaning for Shalom is “peace,” but we also use it for both “hello” and “goodbye”.
Amir: You heard it used as “hello” in the lesson’s conversation. It can be used as “goodbye” in the same way.
Shira: Let’s give an example of the word shalom as “peace”.
Amir: Okay, what about ?מתי יהיה שלום
Shira: Great! That means "when will there be peace?"
Amir: The next word is בסדר.
Shira: בסדר is actually made up of two words, be- and seder.
Amir: Some words in Hebrew are attached to other words as prefixes. The be- in beseder is one of these.
Shira: Be- means “in” in this situation, but it can also mean “at” or “by”.
Amir: The rest of the phrase seder means order.
Shira: When you put these two words together, they mean, “in order”.
Amir: Be-seder is used to express the English words “fine” or “okay”.
Shira: You will use it and hear it used a lot in everyday conversation.
Amir: One of the most common phrases using this word is הכל בסדר! or “Everything is fine!”
Shira: Right, you can use this word when somebody asks you how you are. Or you can use it if you fall down and someone asks you if you're okay. Okay, let’s move on to the Grammar section.

Lesson focus

Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to greet someone in Hebrew.
Amir: Alright, so for that, you can use Ma shlom’kha?
Shira: Exactly. This phrase is a little bit complicated for our first lesson in this series, and it is one that you'll use when you're talking to a single male, whether young or old. But bear with us, listeners, and we will break it down for you so you'll understand it really well!
Amir: What you are saying when you say ma shlom’kha is essentially, “how are you?”.
Shira: But what you are literally saying is, “what is your peace?” or “what is your condition?”.
Amir: The first word in the phrase is simple. Mah means “what”.
Shira: The second word in the phrase is where it starts to get a little more complicated. But you guys can handle it, right?
Amir: Of course they can!
Shira: So shlom’kha is broken down into two parts. The first part you already know, although you may not recognize it.
Amir: The first part is shalom, but you say it a little differently, shlom. I am sure that you remember from the beginning of the lesson that this means “peace”, as well as “hello" and “goodbye”.
Shira: In this context, it means “peace”. The second part of the word kha is a possessive suffix, which means “your”.
Amir: When you put it all together, it’s mah shlom’kha or “what’s your peace?”.
Shira: Better yet, “what’s your condition?”.
Amir: But don’t worry about the literal translation, it simply means, “how are you?”.
Shira: Like we said, all of that is fine if you are talking to one man or a boy, but what happens when you need to ask a girl how she is?
Amir: Then you would just need to change the ending of the second word, mah shlom’kha becomes mah shlomekh when you are talking to one girl.
Shira: And what happens when you want to ask more than one person how they are?
Amir: You change the ending again, but the ending depends on whether you are talking to all girls or guys and a mixed bunch of people.
Shira: When you are talking to guys or a mixed bunch of people, you would say, mah shlom’khem, changing the suffix of the word because of who you are talking to.
Amir: You would use this even if you are talking to a group of mostly girls and there is only one guy in the crowd.
Shira: And if you are talking to a group of all girls, you would say, mah shlom’chen.
Amir: But keep in mind that the feminine plural form is used much less often these days.
Shira: True, many people don’t bother to use this form. Instead, they will use the masculine plural form for all groups of people instead of bothering to think whether they are just talking to girls.
Amir: But you should learn this form anyway, because you will find these endings in other places in Hebrew, and you will need to know all four of these.
Shira: That’s right. So, let’s demonstrate how to use these endings for other words.
Amir: We’ll use the word, דוד, which is the word for “uncle.”
Shira: When you want to say “your uncle”, you add the same endings depending on who you are talking to, as demonstrated with shalom.
Amir: Masculine singular is,“דודך” Feminine singular is “דודך.”
Shira: Masculine plural is, “דודכם” and Feminine plural is “דודכן.” Okay, before we go, we want to make sure that you get a chance to practice our main phrase in all the forms we taught you.
Amir: So listen and repeat after me as I go through the four forms of how to say, “how are you” in Hebrew.
Shira: First is a masculine singular, please listen and repeat after Amir.
Amir: מה שלומך?
Shira: Feminine singular
Amir: מה שלומך?
Shira: Masculine plural
Amir: מה שלומכם?
Shira: Feminine plural
Amir: מה שלומכן?

Outro

Shira: Okay, so that’s it for this lesson. Thanks everyone!
Amir: After listening to this lesson, come and visit HebrewPod101.com and say hello to us in Hebrew!
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Amir: Please let us know...
Shira: ...by clicking the like button next to the lesson or series! See you next time!
Amir: Shalom!