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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Yana here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of your most common Hebrew questions.
The question for this lesson is…
How can you possibly read Hebrew if it doesn't have any vowels?
The simple answer to this question is that people who are fluent in Hebrew know which vowels go with different words. For someone who knows any language well, it's really not as hard as it sounds.
Try it! Here's a famous quote in English translation, with the vowels removed.
Tht whch s htfl t y, d nt d t yr fllw.
Take a minute to read this. Can you figure it out?
(After a minute) That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.
Was it easier than you thought? Most English speakers don't practice this skill much, but imagine if you did this all the time!
In reality there are a few characters used sometimes to indicate vowel sounds in Hebrew, and even native speakers use them. I'll explain more about this in a later lesson.
You now know how native speakers can read Hebrew without vowels, but what about Hebrew learners? There are a couple systems available to help non-native or beginner speakers read Hebrew text. The most common of these is the niqqud. Here's an example.
תּוֹךְ מִסְפָּר שָׁבוּעוֹת הַחֲנוּת נִסְגְּרָה
regular Hebrew text
תוך מספר שבועות החנות נסגרה
Do you see these dots and marks? They represent the vowel sounds, and are called niqqud.
We go over this system in more detail in our Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy Series. But for now, take comfort that there is help!
There's also a number of systems of Roman transliteration. These almost always include vowels to help you read.
For example, the sentence above can be read
Tokh mispar shavuot ha'khanut nisgera
All beginner materials at HebrewPod101.com include this kind of romanization!
How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
lehitraot!

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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Check out our writing series, the Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy, for more information.

What Hebrew learning question do you have?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:00 PM
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Hi Oluwadarasimi Femi-olagundoye,


Thanks for commenting!


Learning how to pronounce words in a new language is one of the first challenges in the process of learning it... One must know all the letters and vowel marks, and then start to gain experience with reading to develop a "feel" (intuition) for the language.


For now, whenever in doubt about pronunciation, you can refer to the romanization that we add to most phrases - that is, writing Hebrew in Latin characters. At some point in higher levels, however, these will become less frequent as students can rely on it less.


I hope that helps. Please let us know may you have any further questions!


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Oluwadarasimi Femi-olagundoye
Wednesday at 08:44 PM
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how do we pronounce words in hebrew

i know the alefbet but i still dont know how to pronounce the words from english to hebrew

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 06:44 PM
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Hi Carla,


Thank you for posting your questions about Shavuot!


The literal meaning of the word "Shavuot" is simply "weeks". This is the name of a Jewish holiday that takes place exactly 7 weeks after Passover, hence its name.


The word "Shabatot" is "Saturdays". I believe it has a different meaning, as I'm not familiar with it being a second name for it.


I hope that helps :)


Sincerely,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Carla
Sunday at 05:31 PM
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Hi,


I am really interested in knowing a little bit more about the word Shavuot. I saw that here its spelling is שבועות, however in Leviticus 23:15 it is written in the Tanakh as שבתות, why is that?


Thank you.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 02:40 AM
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Shalom Alexis,


We are sorry if you didn't find it useful and toda raba for your tips, we will consider them for the future development of our materials! 😉😇

If you have any further remarks or questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Alexis Lacecastle
Monday at 08:28 AM
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That didn't really teach anything. That phrase isn't common in English and you basically just said you have to memorize every single word instead of giving tips for predicting vowels or emphasizing that most words tend to use the consonant vowels like vav, yud, and alef. Another example is when words start with ayin or alef how that can affect the vowel or restrict common word construction.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:22 PM
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Shalom Ammar,


Thank you for your kind feedback! 😉 We are very happy to have you here studying with us. If you ever have any questions, please let us know!


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Ammar
Tuesday at 01:47 AM
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Thank you so much Yana and thank you to All of Hebrewpod101 Producers🌸

Seriously, this website is the best and easiest way to learn hebrew ,Hundreds of free lessons are available to everyone!


Wish you all the best💖💜

Jordan🌹

HebrewPod101.com
Monday at 01:36 AM
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Hi David and sunil,


Thank you for commenting and for the feedback on the lesson! We hope you've enjoyed it 😄


Please feel free to let us know may you have any questions!


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

sunil
Friday at 03:19 PM
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Todah Rabah, and ken its good practice to read as it seems the speed increases and the niqqud is indeed helpful as the sentences in the lessons do have it and another method which helps is to construct sentences of english which you normally want to express to translate it in hebrew as that way the structure of the sentence is remembered and engrained more.