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Lesson Transcript

Shira: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com’s Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 11 - What is this Delicious Israeli Dish? I’m your host, Shira.
Amir: Shalom, I’m Amir.
Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask what something is in Hebrew.
Amir: The conversation takes place at David and Sarah’s house.
Shira: And it’s between Sarah, David and Peter.
Amir: The dialogue is informal.
Shira: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Sarah: בבקשה, תתכבדו!
Peter: יופי!
Sarah, David and Peter: בתיאבון.
Peter: מממממ... טעים. שרה, מה זה?
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation with English translation.
Sarah: בבקשה, תתכבדו!
Shira: Be my guest. Help yourselves!
Peter: יופי!
Shira: Great!
Sarah, David and Peter: בתיאבון.
Shira: Bon Appetit!
Peter: מממממ... טעים. שרה, מה זה?
Shira: Mmmm, delicious. Sarah, what is this?
Amir: So what cultural point can we talk about in this lesson? בתיאבון?
Shira: That sounds good to me. Saying בתאיבון is like saying “ Bon Appetit.”
Amir: But Israelis have this habit of saying בתיאבון whenever and wherever they see you eating.
Shira: Right. Normally, you would say “Bon appetit” when you sit down and eat with other people. At least that’s what I was used to before coming to Israel.
Amir: No, no, you could be sitting on a bench somewhere, thinking that you’re all by yourself eating a sandwich and suddenly, out of nowhere, you will hear בתאיבון.
Shira: Or maybe you’re at work and you’re sitting at your desk, having your 10 o’clock snack and one of your co-workers walks by and says בתאיבון.
Amir: For us it’s totally normal. If you see someone eating, you call out בתאיבון.
Shira: For me it was weird to be interrupted all the time in the beginning. I was there, minding my own business and stuffing my mouth and then someone comes and says בתאיבון. So then I have to stop and say תודה.
Amir: But eventually you did get used to it!
Shira: Yes, I did. But I don’t say it to everyone I see eating of course. In some things I just have to stay American.
Shira: Now let’s go to the vocabulary for this lesson. First we have:
Amir: להתכבד/התכבד [natural native speed]
Shira: To help one’s self
Amir: להתכבד/התכבד [slowly - broken down by syllable]. להתכבד/התכבד [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: מה
Shira: What.
Amir: מה [slowly - broken down by syllable]. מה [natural native speed]
Shira: Next.
Amir: יופי [natural native speed]
Shira: Great or beauty.
Amir: יופי [slowly - broken down by syllable]. יופי [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: בתאבון [natural native speed]
Shira: Bon appetite.
Amir: בתאבון [slowly - broken down by syllable]. בתאבון [natural native speed]
Shira: And last:
Amir: טעים [natural native speed]
Shira: Delicious.
Amir: טעים [slowly - broken down by syllable]. טעים [natural native speed]
Shira: Let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of these words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is להתכבד.
Amir: להתכבד is an interesting word because it literally means “to be honored” but it has come to mean “help yourself”.
Shira: Well, another translation of it is “to be entertained”, and that would be by food, of course.
Amir: In the dialogue, Sarah uses the future form of this verb, which is sometimes used in place of the command form to invite people to do something.
Shira: Our next word is יופי and this is both a noun and an interjection.
Amir: In our dialogue, it means “great”.
Shira: It can also mean “beauty” like the “beauty” of something.
Amir: So, the next word we want to discuss is בתאיבון.
Shira: We talked about this word in our cultural insight. So here we want to break the meaning down for you.
Amir: This phrase is broken down into two parts, ב- which means “with” and תאיבון which means “appetite”.
Shira: So the literal translation is “with appetite”.
Amir: Our last word is טעים meaning “delicious” or “tasty”.
Shira: Okay, let’s move on to the grammar section.

Lesson focus

Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask what something is in Hebrew.
Amir: When asking what something is in Hebrew, we say מה זה?.
Shira: Mah means “what” and zeh means “this”.
Amir: Remember that the present tense of “to be” is understood in Hebrew if there isn’t another verb, so what you are saying is “what is this?”
Shira: Zeh refers to something that is masculine, but since you probably won’t know the gender of what you’re asking about, you can use zeh all the time.
Amir: That’s right. The feminine for zeh is zot.
Shira: The only time that you won’t be able to use zeh is when you have more than one thing that you’re asking about.
Amir: In that case, you would need to use אלה, which is the plural equivalent to זה.
Shira: So when you want to ask about more than one thing, you would say מה אלה?
Amir: Yes, מה אלה. There’s also a feminine version for the plural, אלו, but don’t worry about that for now. You won’t need that very often.
Shira: Right, all feminine plural forms of words in Hebrew you won’t use as often as all the others.


Shira: Okay, that’s it for this lesson. See you next time!
Amir: Le-hit’ra’ot!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone!

Have you ever tried Israeli food?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:08 PM
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Shalom Sunil,

Thanks for commenting and for the positive feedback!

And a "יום נפלא" to you too 😄😄😉❤️️



Team HebrewPod101.com

Friday at 03:54 PM
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Toda for the lesson which is yofi.yom nifla

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:16 PM
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Hi Franco,

Thanks for your comment!

Well, this is a question of grammar vs. "real" use of the language. Grammatically, one should have actually said "התכבדו" - as you wrote - as this is the correct imperative form of the verb. However, this form is rarely spoken in modern Hebrew. Most people commonly replace the imperative with the future tense - perhaps because it sounds a little 'friendlier'...

This is a common topic in Hebrew, and we as teachers must make sometimes the choice between grammatical correctness and real application in the language. In this case, the "real application" version was chosen.

I hope this helps :) please let us know in case you have further questions!



Team HebrewPod101.com

Monday at 08:37 PM
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There is written תתכבדו. Double ת.

Shod not be הת. ?

Thank you

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:25 PM
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Hi Victor,

You are right, nowadays, Hebrew speakers often use the future tense as an imperative. Sometimes using the imperative form seems harsh or outdated, and unfitting the situation, sometimes it's out of habit.

Hope this helps,


Team Hebrewpod101.com

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:35 AM
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Hi Isabelle Midy,

Thanks for commenting! good catch - it's true that both options are used.

Both are perfectly valid, but when using regular script (without voweling signs) it's better to use בתיאבון to make sure the word is pronounced correctly.



Team Hebrewpod101.com

Isabelle Midy
Tuesday at 03:09 PM
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I have a question concerning the spelling of Bon appetit in Hebrew. Sometimes I see it written with a yod and sometimes without it. Are both accepted?



Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:58 PM
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Hi Michelle,

Thanks for posting :)

How is translated as you said - איך. Hebrew cannot be translated word by word from English sometimes, so in situations like that try to rephrase the sentence to match... Better to stick with the semantic meaning of the phrase than to the direct translation.



Team Hebrewpod101.com

Monday at 11:38 AM
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I would like to know why the word "how" changes in some sentences. Akh khoreem at? vs. Eizah tay'im!

Victor P
Sunday at 01:51 PM
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One thing I have noticed, but I wish it were confirmed. I've noticed often that often the future tense is used to substitute the imperative.

For example, in this lesson's dialog, Sarah says "Help yourselves!", but the verb in usage is in the future tense - תתכבדו. I checked here: http://www.pealim.com/dict/879-lehitkabed/

Other times, I've noticed the imperative is used as would seem the logical usage.


Thank you!