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Lesson Transcript

Shira: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com’s Absolute Beginner Series. This is Season 1, Lesson 17, Talking About Age in Hebrew. I’m your host, Shira!
Amir: Shalom, I’m Amir.
Shira: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk about age in Hebrew.
Amir: The conversation takes place at David and Sarah’s house.
Shira: The conversation is between Peter and Sarah.
Amir: It is informal.
Shira: Let’s listen to the conversation

Lesson conversation

Peter: שרה, איפה תמר הקטנה?
Sarah: היא שמה.
Peter: (בקול רך) אה, איזה חמודה. היא כל כך קטנה, לא? בת כמה היא?
Sarah: היא בת שנה.
(תמר מתחילה לבכות)
Peter: אוי, אני מצטער, כל כך מצטער! אנחנו עושים רעש? סליחה!
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation with English translation.
Peter: שרה, איפה תמר הקטנה?
Shira: Sarah, where is little Tamar?
Sarah: היא שמה.
Shira: She's over there.
Peter: (בקול רך) אה, איזה חמודה. היא כל כך קטנה, לא? בת כמה היא?
Shira: (In a soft voice) Ah, how cute! She's so little, isn't she? How old is she?
Sarah: היא בת שנה.
Shira: She's a year old.
(תמר מתחילה לבכות)
Shira: (Tamar starts to cry)
Peter: אוי, אני מצטער, כל כך מצטער! אנחנו עושים רעש? סליחה!
Shira: Oh, I'm sorry, so sorry! Are we making noise? Excuse me!
Shira: In this lesson, I want to talk about birth rates in Israel.
Amir: We definitely have a lot more kids that in other places like Europe.
Shira: Yes, the ratio of children to adults is a lot higher.
Amir: The birth rate is Israel is 2.97 in the Jewish population and 3.75 in the Muslim population.
Shira: So that means that having three kids is pretty normal in Israel.
Amir: It is, I think that having three kids is very normal in Israel.
Shira: Religious families and many Arab Israelis will have more than three usually.
Amir: Religious families usually have many kids, depending on what stream of Judaism they follow.
Shira: Yes, the bible tells you that you should be fruitful and multiply. For some religious families, that means that they are required just to replicate themselves, having one boy and one girl, while for others that means that you need to keep having children until you can’t anymore.
Amir: That’s true. There are families with ten or twelve kids or maybe even more.
Shira: I think that one thing that is really nice about Israeli society is that they seem to really love children. Children are a big part of the culture in Israel.
Amir: Children are welcome in most restaurants and stores, so it’s never a problem to take your kids with you places.
Shira: In fact, they are also included in most family activities. They are invited along to parties and even to weddings along with their parents.
Amir: Since there is so much focus on children, it means that there are lots of activities for children, especially during holidays and summer vacations when children are out of school.
Shira: Yes. We once took our infant daughter to the museums during Passover because they were all free. Even museums, like the Museum of Japanese Art -someplace you wouldn’t normally find kids, was packed with children on that day. I was surprised that the museum guards didn’t have a heart attack.
Amir: Well, there is one drawback to all this focus on children. Children tend to have more control in their families than in other countries and they tend to be able to do whatever they want, which isn’t always a good thing.
Shira: Yeah, I can totally agree with that. Sometimes it seems like kids in Israel have a little too much freedom. Now let’s go on to the vocabulary for this lesson.
Amir: איזה [natural native speed]
Shira: How or which.
Amir: איזה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: איזה [natural native speed]
Amir: בת [natural native speed]
Shira: Daughter.
Amir: בת [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: בת [natural native speed]
Shira: Next.
Amir: כמה [natural native speed]
Shira: How much or how many.
Amir: כמה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: כמה [natural native speed]
Amir: שנה [natural native speed]
Shira: Year, one year.
Amir: שנה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: שנה [natural native speed]
Amir: אנחנו [natural native speed]
Shira: We.
Amir: אנחנו [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: אנחנו [natural native speed]
Amir: לעשות/עשה [natural native speed]
Shira: To make or do.
Amir: לעשות/עשה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: לעשות/עשה [natural native speed]
Amir: רעש [natural native speed]
Shira: Noise.
Amir: רעש [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: רעש [natural native speed]
Amir: בן כמה [natural native speed]
Shira: How old? (Masculine)
Amir: בן כמה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: בן כמה [natural native speed]
Amir: בת כמה [natural native speed]
Shira: How old? (Feminine)
Amir: בת כמה [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Amir: בת כמה [natural native speed]
Shira: Let’s take a look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Amir: Let’s start with the word איזה.
Shira: In the dialogue, איזה is used like an interjection and means “how”.
Amir: Right, you can use it to express how great something like איזה יופי.
Shira: Or how beautiful someone like איזה יפה.
Amir: Or how much of pity it is that something doesn’t work out איזה חבל.
Shira: איזה also means “which” when you want to ask a question about something.
Amir: Like איזה קפה את רוצה?.
Shira: Right, Amir asked me “which coffee do I want?”
Amir: And now we have לעשות which means “to make” or “to do”.
Shira: This word can cover a lot of things. You can use it for making food, crafts or creating things. You can also use it for when you want to say things like “I made a mistake”.
Amir: That would be עשיתי טעות. If there is another verb that can cover the action though, Israelis are more likely to use the correct verb for it. Like with making food, they would probably use the verb for “cook” לבשל or “bake” לאופות.
Shira: But you can still use לעשות instead like עשיתי עוגה “I made a cake” or עשיתי קוסקוס “I made couscous.”
Amir: One common expression that we use with this word is מה לעשות? meaning “what can you do”.
Shira: Technically, it means “what to do?” We use it a lot when you are in a situation that you can’t do anything about. Like when you have to pay for a ticket you got speeding or something like that.
Amir: ?מה לעשות The last word is רעש.
Shira: רעש means “noise”, but in the negative sense of the word.
Amir: Yes, it’s almost always used to describe a type of noise that bothers you.
Shira: Like the traffic in Tel Aviv, the noise never stops when you live there. Okay, let’s move on to the Grammar section.

Lesson focus

Shira: In this lesson you will learn how to ask someone how old they are in Hebrew.
Amir: In the dialogue, Peter asked Sarah how old Tamar is by saying בת כמה היא?.
Shira: This is the key phrase, when you ask someone how old they are you always begin with בת כמה or בן כמה depending on whether the person you are asking about is a boy or a girl.
Amir: It’s kind of a weird phrase to translate because it’s kind of like asking how many years have you been a son or a daughter.
Shira: Right, בן and בת mean “son” and “daughter” and כמה means “how much”.
Amir: The last phrase of the sentence is the subject that you are asking about. In the dialogue, that was the baby Tamar, so Peter used היא in Hebrew or “she” in English.
Shira: Let’s go over different examples of asking people how old they are. I’ll start by asking Amir.
Amir: And if I were to ask Shira, I would say בת כמה את?.
Shira: When I want to ask about someone else, I would ask בן כמה הוא if I were asking about a guy and בת כמה היאif I were asking about a girl.
Amir: Or you could use their name בן כמה יואב or בת כמה קרין.
Shira: So knowing how to ask how old someone is is not all you need to know, you also need to know how to answer this question as well.
Amir: In the dialogue, Sarah answered היא בת שנה meaning, “she’s one year old”.
Shira: She began with the subject היא or “she” in English, and then she said בת and then her age.
Amir: This example is a little different because you don’t need to use a number. When you say בת שנה or בן שנה it means that they are “one year old”. For one year and two years old, we use the word שנה for “year” and שנתיים for “two years”.
Shira: For any other age we use the number of years old the person is. The number will be in the feminine because the word שנה is feminine and numbers must agree with the noun they describe.
Amir: For instance, I would say אני בן שלושים וחמש.
Shira: Here are some other examples of answers to our earlier questions. I could answer אני בת עשרים if I were really 20.
Amir: Or if someone asks about your 2 year old daughter, you would say היא בת שנתיים.
Shira: Remember Yo’av, well יואב בן חמש עשרה.
Amir: Now, if you are asking about a baby, the answer is going to be a little different because the word חודש or “month” is in the masculine form.
Shira: Right, that means that the number is going to have to be masculine as well. You will also include the word חודשים in the answer so that the person asking will know that you are talking about months instead of years.
Amir: So, we asked about Karin in our sample sentences. It turns out that Karin is only three months old.
Shira: So, the answer would be קרין בת שלושה חודשים.
Amir: “Ah, how cute!”


Shira: Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Amir: After listening to this lesson, please visit HebrewPod101.com and say hello to us in Hebrew!
Shira: Attention perfectionist! You're about to learn how to perfect your pronunciation.
Amir: Lesson review audio tracks.
Shira: Increase fluency and vocabulary fast with the short effective audio tracks.
Amir: Super simple to use, listen to the Hebrew word or phrase.
Shira: And then repeat it out loud in a loud and clear voice.
Amir: You'll speak with confidence knowing that you're speaking Hebrew just like the locals.
Shira: Go to HebrewPod101.com and download the review audio tracks right on the lesson page today. It's a great way to practice. See you next time!
Amir: Shalom!