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Lesson Transcript

Shira: All About Hebrew Lesson 2 – Cracking the Hebrew Writing system. [שלום] everyone. Welcome back. In this lesson, Amir and I are going to explain the Hebrew alphabet.
Amir: Or the [אלף בית] as we call it in Hebrew.
Shira: The first thing you need to get used to is reading the letters from right to left.
Amir: Is that really difficult?
Shira: After reading from left to right my whole life, I still sometimes start writing Hebrew from the wrong side.
Amir: I guess that would be a challenge.
Shira: The Hebrew alphabet hasn’t always looked the way it does today. The form we know today emerged 550 B.C.
Amir: The original Hebrew script was closely related to ancient Fenitian. It was used in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and is preserved in the Samaritan’s script.
Shira: So what replaced that alphabet?
Amir: As we talked about in the last episode, during the Hebrew’s exile to Babylon, they not only adopted the Aramaic language, but also the alphabet.
Shira: That’s interesting. What I find really interesting about the Hebrew alphabet is that there were traditionally no vowels in it.
Amir: That’s right. All 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet were consonants. For many centuries, Hebrew existed without any notations of [vowel] sounds. It was only around 200 A.D. that they felt the need for vowel notation. And the system of dots placed under and around the letters was developed.
Shira: These dots are called [ניקוד], but you won’t see them in most Hebrew texts. Hebrew speakers are perfectly fine reading Hebrew without [ניקוד].
Amir: True. I think I stopped reading text with [ניקוד] around third grade. Hebrew is so structured that a seasoned Hebrew speaker will know the vowel pattern from the context of the word and its placement in the sentence. Text with [ניקוד] is only found in poetry, children’s literature and religious texts.
Shira: And although the Hebrew alphabet is made up of consonants, today four of those consonants can behave like normal vowels.
Amir: For example, וו] is sometimes used as an [או] sound, and [יוד] is sometimes used as an [אי] sound.
Shira: We should point out that once you get used to the block letters of the Hebrew alphabet, you should quickly move on to learn the cursive system.
Amir: The block letters are another thing that we leave behind in elementary school. Israelis write almost exclusively in cursive script.
Shira: It did take me a little while to make that transition from block letters to cursive. Speaking of letters changing form, we forgot to mention the [סופית] letters.
Amir: Right, Shira. Five letters of the alphabet have a [סופית] form that we use when the letter comes at the end of the word.
Shira: Although this sounds complicated, you only have to worry about learning one case for the letters as there are no uppercase letters in Hebrew. So, Amir, let’s introduce them to the Hebrew [אלף בית].
--
Amir: Here we go. [, אל"ף,בי״ת, גימ״ל]
Shira: [דל״ת, ה״א, ו״ו]
Amir: [זי״ן, חי״ת , טי״ת]
Shira: [יו״ד, כ״ף, למ״ד]
Amir: [מ״ם, נו״ן, סמ״ך]
Shira: [עי״ן, פ״א, צד״י]
Amir: [קו״ף, רי״ש, שי״ן, ת״ו]
Shira: That’s it. So before we finish, I think there’s one more interesting aspect of the alphabet that is worth mentioning.
Amir: What’s that, Shira?
Shira: That the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are also used to represent numbers.
Amir: That’s right. Letters are used to signify numbers when it comes to dates, grades in school and chapters and verses in the Bible.
Shira: It helps to learn them at least up to about 30, so you won’t be in the dark when someone tells you that they’re in [כיתה דלת], which is actually fourth grade.
Amir: And remember, the Hebrew alphabet is not as hard as you might think.
Shira: And a lot of people really enjoy learning it and learning to write it. It’s something new and different. Learn the Hebrew alphabet with us, here, at HebrewPod101.com.
Amir: Thanks for listening.
Shira: Bye.
Amir: [להתראות]

97 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Who has ever tried to read in Hebrew? For that matter, who has ever tried to write in Hebrew?

How was it? What did you notice?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:19 PM
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Shalom Hamid,


Nice to meet you! We are sorry for the difficulties you are facing. 😞 Nevertheless, we would like to help you to join our program. Could you kindly drop us an email to contactus@HebrewPod101.com and get in touch with our Customer Service department to figure out an option?


Looking forward to have you here with us!


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

zev
Monday at 10:49 PM
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👍

Hamid
Wednesday at 11:01 PM
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Shalom,


It's Hamid from Iran, I love to learn Hebrew which is the language of the God's chosen people (Beni Israel) and a necessity for everyone who loves Israel as well; But here it is very difficult to learn Hebrew because of lack of any Hebrew classes here, and I cannot even buy premium from your website because we can't transfer money from Iran!


I hope I can study Hebrew here as much as possible with these very clear audio files together with other written files online.


Elohim bless you and Israel

Toda

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:49 AM
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Shalom Laura,


Thanks a lot for your feedback. We are continuously working on improving our site, app, and materials, therefore the opinion of our students is highly valuable.

I will forward your message to our team for consideration! 😇


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Laura
Tuesday at 01:23 AM
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Amir: The original Hebrew script was closely related to ancient Fenitian (should be Phoenician on the transcript of the lesson).

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 07:54 AM
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Shalom Elaine Regier,


Lesson PDFs are currently available on our website for our audio and video lessons. For these lessons, you can download PDFs by clicking on the 'Download PDFs' button below the title which is the third round-shaped button. In most cases, we have downloadable PDFs, available for our premium members, which include Lesson Notes and Lesson Transcript. However, there are certain lesson series (particularly the advanced audio series) which do not include Lesson Notes onpurpose, and we have some lessons where there might be additional PDF resources, such as ebooks, to be downloaded.

Please note that downloadable and printable PDFs are also not available for vocabulary lists. If you have a Free Lifetime Account, please have a look at our detailed Help Center page at: https://www.HebrewPod101.com/helpcenter to get an overview of what your account entails.


Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Elaine Regier
Wednesday at 02:14 AM
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I wrote down the last word I can remember learning after your opening talk. I was unable to submit it and did not receive the free PDF.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:57 PM
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Hi Jo Ann Bethune,


Thanks for your post and for sharing your appreciation for the Hebrew language! ❤️️


We are happy to be able to help you learn how to read in Hebrew! Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance 😉


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Jo Ann Bethune
Thursday at 08:09 PM
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I'm trying to learn hebrew alphabet and tried to write it several times. I'm really enjoying the beauty of the language.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 01:05 AM
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Dear Dirk Boshoven,


Thank you for posting your feedback.


First - just in case you missed it - to access the lessons that deal with fundamentals of Hebrew writing, please use the lesson library to start the series "Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy" or use this link - https://www.hebrewpod101.com/lesson-library/hebrew-alphabet-made-easy-video/


To answer your question - the letter "י" in the word "בית" is not pronounced. It occurs often that when a letter is voweled with a tzere (as the ב in בֵּית), a "י" appears right next to it. This is a relic from the past. As you know, Hebrew is an ancient language and it is very much possible that this word (and other similar words with this same issue) used to be pronounced differently than it is pronounced today.


I hope this explanation helps, please let us know if you have any further comments or questions - we're happy to assist. 😄👍


regarding the technical question - I'm actually not sure about this right now. I will contact the technical team and will write another comment when having an answer to this.

Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com