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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript


Michael: What is the difference between handwritten and printed Hebrew?
Lenny: And do I have to learn both?
Michael: At HebrewPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Ben Lee is buying some groceries for his elderly neighbor. He cannot read the shopping list, which is handwritten. He says to his friend Keren,
"It's hard to read."
Ben Lee: .קשה לקרוא את זה (Kashe likro et ze.)
Ben Lee: .קשה לקרוא את זה (Kashe likro et ze.)
Keren Cohen: .זה כתב יד עברי (Ze k'tav yad ivri.)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: .קשה לקרוא את זה (Kashe likro et ze.)
Michael: "It's hard to read."
Keren Cohen: .זה כתב יד עברי (Ze k'tav yad ivri.)
Michael: "It's handwritten Hebrew."

Lesson focus

Michael: As a Hebrew learner, you will have many opportunities to see printed Hebrew in books, magazines, and newspapers. The print version is called "Assyrian script"
Lenny: הכתב הארמי (Ha-k'tav ha-arami.)
Michael: as well as "block or square script"
Lenny: כתב דפוס (k'tav d'fus)
Michael: The latter name of the script indicates the main characteristic of printed Hebrew and the way in which it differs from handwritten Hebrew—namely its square, angular shape with sharp edges. Handwritten Hebrew or
Lenny: כתב יד עברי (k'tav yad ivri)
Michael: is much curvier, and flows more easily when written with a pen or a pencil on a piece of paper. Hence, its alternative name,
Lenny: כתב עגול (K'tav agol)
Michael: which literally means "round or circular script." The letters' shapes make them easier to write, but harder to read. Isn't it the same in most languages though? We don't have so many opportunities to get used to handwriting, plus, unlike the printed standardized version, there are countless variations of handwriting, different from person to person. Unlike English cursive though, in handwritten Hebrew letters do not join together—each of which remains a separate symbol.
Cultural Insight
Michael: Did you know that handwriting plays a special role in the Jewish tradition? The Torah scrolls or
Lenny: תורה (Torah)
Michael: as well as other religious texts and objects that need to be written by hand, though the process takes several months.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Lenny: !להתראות (lehitra'ot!)
Michael: Bye, see you next time!