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Lesson Notes

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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…
What's the difference between niqqud and ktiv male systems of writing vowels? And which one should I learn?
Let's start at the beginning! Originally, Hebrew was written without any vowels or vowel symbols at all. All the letters were consonants. This is called Ktiv Haser, and you may be familiar with it if you've seen the Torah written out in its original form.
Reading this can be very challenging for people new to Hebrew or unfamiliar with the vocabulary in a given text. Because of this, Ktiv Menukad was introduced. Ktiv Menukad involves a series of dots and other forms of notation called Niqqud. They're added to words and fully represent their vowel sounds. You'll see this writing system in language textbooks, as well as in children’s books or poetry.
For people who know Hebrew well, or who use it in their everyday life, though, this Ktiv Menukad is very labor intensive and inconvenient.
The Academy of the Hebrew Language has established a set of rules to write without niqqud, but still indicate some vowels using the letters Alef, He, Vav, and Yud. This is commonly called Ktiv Male, and it's the most widely used writing system in Israel today. You'll see it in newspapers, books, on signs, and in TV subtitles.
Here is an example of a word Shulkhan (table) written with the three different systems:
When learning Hebrew, you should study all of these systems to some degree. When starting out, you can use the Ktiv Menukad to help you develop your pronunciation and build your vocabulary. As you become a more proficient Hebrew user, though, you'll want to get familiar with Ktiv Male, as this will be the most common system you'll use as an adult in your everyday life! In fact, it's becoming more common recently to teach Hebrew with Ktiv Male, and skip Ktiv Menukad altogether.
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!


Please to leave a comment.
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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Hebrew learning question do you have?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 01:57 AM
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Shalom Frances,

I'm sorry to hear that! Do you have a Free Lifetime Account or are you a subscribed member? If you have a subscription, are you experiencing this issue for other lessons and lesson series too? Let us know and we will try to figure out what happened. 😉

Kind regards,


Team HebrewPod101.com

Saturday at 07:17 AM
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Not able to view videos

Tuesday at 08:42 PM
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Hi Joshua,

Thanks for commenting.

Unfortunately, it's impossible for a Hebrew learner to read correctly without Nikkud in the early stages of learning Hebrew. I recommend you to take the time and learn the Nikkud system thoroughly and to start reading easier and simpler texts than the bible at this point, as the Bible's language is complicated and grammatically different from the modern one we focus on here.



Team HebrewPod101.com

Friday at 03:43 AM
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I have hebrew english Tanakhs on my I-Pad my phone and my Tablet now how can i set up the tanakh on My I-Pad to be without tge vowel system so i cant start trying to read it that way now?.?

Friday at 03:38 AM
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You see on this one for me the Kativ Hasir was easier for me to read.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:35 PM
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Hi Ewelina,

Thanks for sharing with us! Let me know if you have any questions.



Team HebrewPod101.com

Sunday at 04:18 AM
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A great video! I had no idea that it was possible (and correct) to write some words without using the consonants which function as vowels-

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:34 PM
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Hello Mohd Farhan,

Thank you for posting.

We’ll consider your suggestion for our future development.

Let us know if you have any question.


Team HebrewPod101.com

Mohd Farhan
Tuesday at 08:24 PM
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Can you make a video on how Ktiv Male works?


HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 11:03 PM
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Hi Mary Jane Card,

Thank you for posting! We’re glad you liked the lesson :smile:

Keep enjoying Hebrew!



Team HebrewPod101.com