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Lesson Transcript

Shira: All About Hebrew Lesson Number 5 – Top Five Must Know Hebrew Phrases. Welcome back to HebrewPod101.com, the place to learn and to love Hebrew. In this lesson, we're taking years of experience in Israel and boiling it down to a few essential phrases that are a great place to start.
Amir: These are real life Hebrew words that'll help you every day.
Shira: They are guaranteed to be the best things you ever learn in Hebrew. Amir, where should we begin?
Amir: Well, we want to make a good impression from the very beginning, so I think the place to start is with a simple greeting. [שלום] (Sha'lom).
Shira: And if you don't know [שלום] (Sha'lom) yet, we don't know where you've been. We would be remiss if we didn't teach you "hello."
Amir: Remember, [שלום] (Sha'lom).
Shira: And to be even more polite and friendly, just add [?מה שלומך] (Ma shlom'kha?).
Amir: [?שלום, מה שלומך] (Sha'lom, ma shlo'mekh?). It means "Hello. How are you?"
Shira: I don't know whether you noticed, but the way I asked "How are you?," [?מה שלומך] (Ma shlom'kha?), and the way Amir asked it, [?מה שלומך] (Ma shlo'mekh?), was different. Maybe you should explain that, Amir.
Amir: Well, in Hebrew there's a masculine and feminine form of "you." So when I asked you, Shira, how you were, I used the feminine form. And when you asked me, you used the masculine form.
Shira: Wow. I bet our listeners are thinking that sounds kind of complicated.
Amir: It's not so bad. You'll get used to it the more you hear it.
Shira: That's true. For me, it was a little unusual in the beginning, but after a while I did get used to it. [שלום] (Sha'lom) has other meanings as well, doesn't it?
Amir: It sure does. It's one of those useful phrases you can use. It not only means "hello" and "goodbye," but even "peace."
Shira: That's so cool. So while you're greeting people, you are actually wishing them peace at the same time. So you really just need to learn one phrase for a greeting, and you'll get along just fine.
Amir: Next, I think we need to mention [תודה] (To'da), which is the Hebrew for "thank you."
Shira: Showing good manners is very important. And a simple "thank you," [תודה] (To'da), will do the job.
Amir: Indeed. This phrase can be used at any time just to show manners and appreciation.
Shira: And if you want to show that you really appreciate something, you can stick a [רבה] (Raba) on the end.
Amir: That means "many thanks" or "great thanks."
Shira: [תודה רבה] (To'da raba) While we're on the topic of politeness, a "please" will really come in handy.
Amir: Well, in that case, you can just say [בבקשה] (Be'vakasha).
Shira: [בבקשה] (Be'vakasha) is used for both "please" and "you're welcome," right?
Amir: Correct, it is. And here's another phrase for when you're in doubt. [אני לא מבין] (A'ni lo me'vin).
Shira: Now that's one that I would say differently because I use the feminine form. I would say [אני לא מבינה] (A'ni lo me'vi'na), which means "I don't understand."
Amir: Native Israelis don't like to say this phrase too often. They like to make you think that they know everything and understand everything. But it's very useful for when you're learning Hebrew because in the beginning there are going to be a lot of things you don't understand.
Shira: It's also perfect when you want help reading Hebrew.
Amir: That's right. Israelis always appreciate enthusiasm and will be more than willing to help you out.
Shira: Here's another phrase that can come in handy - apologizing.
Amir: You mean [סליחה] (Sli'kha). Literally it means "forgiveness" but it's used for sorry or even "excuse me."
Shira: Yes, this is also used when you need to get someone's attention, right?
Amir: Right. You can use it when someone gets in your way and you need him or her to move, or when you're looking for someone to help you in a shop.
Shira: You're likely going to need to use [סליחה] (Sli'kha) a lot in your travels in Israel when asking the locals for directions and advice.
Amir: You'll use it a lot, but you'll also hear it a lot.
Shira: It may be good to use it often just to be on the safe side of [סליחה] (Sli'kha). What are some other occasions when [סליחה] (Sli'kha) will come in handy?
Amir: Maybe when you accidentally bump into someone?
Shira: Yeah, that's good. Or when you need to interrupt someone. Ok, we know that's five already but hey, some of them were pretty sort. So we're including a bonus phrase just because we want to give you one more tool when speaking Hebrew. So you'll be off to a good start.
Amir: So the bonus phrase is [שמי] (Shmi), meaning "My name is." [שמי] (Shmi) Amir.
Shira: [שמי] (Shmi) Shira. Being able to present your name will be highly appreciated and help you on your way.
Amir: I think those are all great phrases, Shira. We've really given you a good head start.
Shira: I agree.
Shira: So everyone, get started with these and keep coming back for more essential and fun Hebrew here at HebrewPod101.com.