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Lesson Transcript

Shira: All About Hebrew Lesson 2 – Cracking the Hebrew Writing system. [שלום] (Sha'lom) everyone. Welcome back. In this lesson, Amir and I are going to explain the Hebrew alphabet.
Amir: Or the [אלף בית] (A'lef be'it) 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] (Ni'kud), but you won't see them in most Hebrew texts. Hebrew speakers are perfectly fine reading Hebrew without [ניקוד] (Ni'kud).
Amir: True. I think I stopped reading text with [ניקוד] (Ni'kud) 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] (Ni'kud) 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] (U) sound, and [יוד] (Yod) is sometimes used as an [אי] (I) 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] (So'fit) letters.
Amir: Right, Shira. Five letters of the alphabet have a [סופית] (So'fit) 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] (A'lef be'it).
--
Amir: Here we go. [, אל"ף,בי״ת, גימ״ל] (A'lef, be'it, gi'mel)
Shira: [דל״ת, ה״א, ו״ו] (Da'let, he'i, vav)
Amir: [זי״ן, חי״ת , טי״ת] (Za'in, khet, te'it)
Shira: [יו״ד, כ״ף, למ״ד] (Yod, khaf, la'med)
Amir: [מ״ם, נו״ן, סמ״ך] (Mem, nun, sa'mekh)
Shira: [עי״ן, פ״א, צד״יק] (A'in, pe, tsa'di)
Amir: [קו״ף, רי״ש, שי״ן, ת״ו] (Kof, Resh, shin, tav)
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 representA 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] (Ki'ta da'let), 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] (Le'hit'ra'ot)

163 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
Wednesday at 04:28 PM
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Hi عبدالرحمن,


Thank you for your message.

We have a whole video series: Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy

https://www.hebrewpod101.com/lesson-library/hebrew-alphabet-made-easy-video/


Also, you might find this page useful:

https://www.hebrewpod101.com/hebrew-alphabet/


Have a great day!😄

Cheers,

Lena

Team HebrewPod101.com

عبدالرحمن
Friday at 06:25 AM
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How am I supposed to learn the Hebrew alphabet from this so called lesson? You haven't even written it down for us to memorize, you just talk about it and then recite it but when I look at the transcript you didn't even have the courtesy to write the letters. Shame on you.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 05:00 PM
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Hi Mira, Fanny,


Thank you for studying with us.😄❤️️

We hope our lessons will make your Hebrew learning easy and fun!


Let us know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Lena

Team HebrewPod101.com

Fanny
Sunday at 04:10 PM
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Its very challenging for me to take more assessment and learn new language.❤

Mira
Monday at 05:40 PM
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Very interesting, but a lot to take in

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 04:15 PM
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Dear Amy,


Thank you for commenting on this lesson!


For the Hebrew alphabet with the letters' names parallel English letters, please check out this webpage and download our following guide -

https://www.hebrewpod101.com/hebrew-alphabet/


Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions!


Happy to help 😄


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Amy
Friday at 09:15 PM
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Would like to see the alphabet written with name and what letter as well possibly in English?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:56 PM
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Hi David S,


Thank you for posting.

Please check this page:

https://www.hebrewpod101.com/hebrew-alphabet/


Let us know if you have any questions.👍

Cheers,

Lena

Team HebrewPod101.com

David S
Thursday at 09:37 AM
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Would be helpful to show the alphabet along with each letter pronounced with English spelling.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 11:44 AM
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Hi Anne,


Thank you for taking the time to leave us a comment.😄

Keep up the great job! 👍


Looking forward to seeing you often here.❤️️

Cheers,

Lena

Team HebrewPod101.com