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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]

103 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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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
Tuesday at 08:40 PM
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Dear Haley Faulhaber,


Thank you for commenting and sharing this with us!


Trying and failing is better than not trying at all! 😉😉😄


Please let us know if you have any questions about it or if there's any way that we can assist 👍


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Haley Faulhaber
Thursday at 11:33 AM
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I have tried writing in Hebrew and failed miserably... 😂

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 12:52 AM
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Dear Bastian and John Wiebe,


Thank you for commenting and sharing your feedback and suggestions with us!


@Bastian - could you be a little more specific about what you find not so well-visible, and what would be the improvements that you would suggest?


@John - to type in Hebrew, you can use an online Hebrew keyboard. Just search these words and you will find several very good options 😄👍


Happy to assist!


Enjoy learning Hebrew ❤️️

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 08:21 AM
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Shalom zev,


Thank you very much for your like! We hope you enjoy studying with us.😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

John Wiebe
Saturday at 04:04 PM
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It would be nice if the Hebrew Alef Bet was available so we could use those letters to write comments and such in the future lessons.

Bastian
Saturday at 07:33 AM
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Hi,

Wonder if it is also possible to make things visible as it is much easier to take it in that way for me

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