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Lesson Transcript

Shira: Hello everyone and welcome back to HebrewPod101.com, All About Lesson 14. I’m Shira.
Amir: [שלום, אני אמיר]
Shira: In this lesson you will learn five of the most common mistakes people make when learning Hebrew.
Amir: So let’s get right to it. We’ll give you the top five mistakes not to make and then go into more detail a bit later.
Shira: The top five mistakes you don’t want to make are…
Amir: Incorrect noun and adjective agreement.
Shira: Not using the definite article with the adjective, as well as with the noun.
Amir: Mixing up the numbers.
Shira: Incorrect verb conjugation.
Amir: And wrong pronunciation.
Shira: There’s a lot of mixing up in Hebrew, but don’t be scared. We don’t want you guys to get all gun shy or anything.
Amir: Of course these mistakes are not a big deal and since there are so many foreign speakers in Israel, you won’t be the only ones trying to get it right.
Shira: Today we’ll just give you a heads up so you can be aware. And these tips will make things a lot easier.
Amir: Mistake one is noun and adjective agreement. [היא סטודנטית טובה] can be said incorrectly as [היא סטודנט טוב].
Shira: So this mistake probably arises probably from not being used to everything having gender agreement. Everything is gendered in Hebrew. And I mean everything.
Amir: That’s right. And forgetting the nouns and adjectives agree in gender as well is one of the most common mistakes to make.
Shira: So let’s look at our example again.
Amir: The correct sentence is [היא סטודנטית טובה].
Shira: So in English, this is “She is a good student.”
Amir: Yes. [היא סטודנטית טובה]
Shira: So what does the wrong sentence looks like?
Amir: Here, we know from the beginning of the sentence that we’re talking about a girl because he in Hebrew means “she”. If we leave the rest of the sentence in the base form instead of using the right gender, it would sound like [היא סטודנט טוב]. Then we’re saying that she is a good student, but she has become a male student as well.
Shira: The sentence is now confusing because we can’t tell whether you’re talking about a female student or a male student.
Amir: So you need to make sure the word student is also in the feminine form. And that the adjective agrees with the noun by having the feminine ending.
Shira: One hard thing about Hebrew is that plural endings are also gendered. So you need to learn all the gendered endings.
Amir: There aren’t too many. And we went through them in less than three, so you can always go back and double check.
Shira: So now what is the second and most common mistake not to make?
Amir: Mistake number two is not adding the definite article before the adjective and the noun.
Shira: This is quite similar to the first mistake. It can be difficult to remember to add this, because in English, you only have one definite article for the whole noun clause. If you were to say “the good student” in Hebrew, it would sound like “the good the student”.
Amir: Exactly. So a correct sentence would sound like this: [הסטודנטית הטובה לומדת הרבה].
Shira: The good student studies a lot.
Amir: So remember to add the definite article before the adjective, as well.
Shira: Once you get used to the rhythm of it, it becomes second nature.
Amir: You just need to listen to Hebrew a lot. Remember, listen and repeat.
Shira: So moving on to our third most common mistake. Mixing up the number genders.
Amir: This is on even Israelis still mix up.
Shira: To make the gender issue even more difficult, Hebrew has two different number genders.
Amir: When you’re counting, you use the feminine numbers, [אחת, שתיים, שלוש, ארבע] etc.
Shira: But when you’re counting specific, you use the right gender number for that specific noun.
Amir: It sounds similar to what we’ve been doing, but it’s a little counter intuitive, because the feminine numbers end like masculine words, and the masculine numbers end with an [ה], the way that many feminine words in Hebrew.
Shira: It took me a while to get the hang of this, and there are even days now where I go back and forth between the numbers, trying to decide what the appropriate gender of the number is.
Amir: So just laugh it off and try again.
Shira: Right. That’s all you can do. As we said earlier, it’s a mistake that even native Hebrew speakers make. So let’s give you an example with the number three.
Amir: “Three girls” would [שלוש בנות]. And “three boys” would be [שלושה בנים].
Shira: Mistake number four is verb conjugation for masculine and feminine subjects.
Amir: So let’s address this verb situation. English speakers have difficulty with Hebrew verb conjugation for the very simple reason that, in Hebrew, you must conjugate the verb according to the gender of the subject.
Shira: Yes. In English we don’t have to differentiate between masculine subjects and feminine subjects. But in Hebrew, even when you’re speaking in the first person, the verb is conjugated differently if you’re a guy or a girl.
Amir: Again, we addressed this in the third lesson and you can go back and review it there if you don’t remember. We’re now going to go a little further and give you some more examples.
Shira: Let’s give them an example in the second person. “You” this time.
Amir: So the Hebrew word for “you” is the feminine [את] or the masculine [אתה]. So if we want to say “You study Hebrew”, we first need to know who we’re talking to. If I were going to talk to Shira, I would use [את] and the sentence would be [את לומדת עברית].
Shira: And likewise, if I were talking to Amir, I would use [אתה] and the sentence would be [אתה לומד עברית].
Amir: If we were to give the same example in third person, I would say “Shira, [לומדת עברית]”.
Shira: And I would say “Amir, [לומד עברית]”.
Amir: I think we’re getting the idea. Let’s move on to mistake number five, incorrect pronunciation.
Shira: Pronunciation can be the hardest thing with learning a language. And Hebrew is no different.
Amir: Hebrew has many sounds English doesn’t have and vice versa. So practicing them is the best way to really get to know them.
Shira: Talking to as many people as you can, and listening to everyday conversations, like on the radio or on TV, are some great tools that you can use to get the pronunciation right.
Amir: And in Hebrew we love guttural sounds.
Shira: Oh, yes, you do. Many people think that Hebrew is an ugly language because of it, but I’ve grown to like it.
Amir: I think the two worst offenders are [חי״ת] and [כ״ף]. And luckily I have a word that has both of these letters in it, [חכם].
Shira: That’s a good one to practice with. [חכם] means “wise”.
Amir: The other letter that people struggle with is [רי״ש]. It’s a rolled R, but it’s rolled way back in the back of the mouth.
Shira: If you’ve learned German or French, you might have already practiced this sound. You can try it with the word [מר].
Amir: Well said. [מר] means “bitter”. Now keep practicing these words and you should be speaking like an Israeli in no time.
Shira: Just keep at it.
Amir: So those are the top five mistakes to avoid. That should get you on the right track.
Shira: That’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening.
Amir: [שלום]
Shira: Bye.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners!

Do you have any tips for what to avoid?

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Tuesday at 07:41 PM
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Dear John,

Thank you for commenting and sharing your performance on the quiz!

Please let us know if you have any questions 👍👍



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Monday at 07:08 AM
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Sunday at 12:12 PM
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Hi Gary,

That's the right approach!! :smile::smile: Mistakes are very good to learn from if we take the time to review them...



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Thursday at 03:17 AM
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Looking forward to making all these mistakes!

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Tuesday at 11:27 AM
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Hi Kat Marquart,

Thank you for posting.

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Tuesday at 06:42 PM
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Hi Zitlawi,

Thank you for posting!

We are glad to hear that your lessons are going well :thumbsup::wink:

Feel free to ask as often as you need.



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Tuesday at 05:24 AM
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I had to learn elementary Spanish in school, so the rules of Hebrew are familiar: definite article, gender, pronunciation, etc... school pays off again! :smile::thumbsup: