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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Hebrew.
My name is Alisha, and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Idit
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Hebrew grammar.
Word Order
"Word order" refers to the order in which words are structured to form a sentence in a given language. The first thing you must remember when reading Hebrew is that it's read from right to left.
Consider the English sentence "He ate an apple." But first, let's remove the article "an" here for simplicity, so we're just left with "He ate apple."
The basic word order for English is subject, verb, object, or SVO for short.
If we break down the English sentence "He ate apple," we can see that the subject "He" is presented first, followed by the verb "ate." And then finally the object "apple" is positioned last.
This is the basic word order for sentences in English.
Now let's compare that same sentence, "He ate an apple," in Hebrew.
הוא אכל תפוח.
Hu akhal tapu'aħ.
"He ate an apple."
In Hebrew, you only need an article for definite articles. Here we have only an indefinite article, so we don't need a word like "a" or "an."
If we break down the Hebrew sentence, we get the subject הוא, meaning "he." Then comes the verb אכל, meaning "ate." And finally, we have the object תפוח, meaning "apple."
The word order for Hebrew is the same as English, subject, verb, object or SVO for short.
In Hebrew, for simple sentences with a verb, the order is the same as in English.
Word order varies in Hebrew for emphasis and in more complicated sentences. You don't have to worry about that until you learn the basics.
For now, use the basic subject, verb, object form when making sentences in Hebrew.
Okay. Let's move on to the next section.
How to Form Basic Sentences
In Hebrew, you want to begin with the subject of your sentence. Let's start with the pronoun "I."
In Hebrew, that's אני.
Next you need your verb. In the present tense, there are four forms for verbs according to masculine, feminine, masculine plural and feminine plural.
When your subject is "I," the verb is conjugated either in masculine or feminine, depending on who is talking.
Using the verb "to love" לאהוב as an example, the masculine is אוהב, and the feminine is אוהבת.
"to love"
"love" (masculine, singular)
"love" (feminine, singular)
So, what do we have so far?
I'm a woman, so I would use the feminine. אני אוהבת.
ani ohevet
"I love" (feminine, singular)
The last thing we need is an object, something you love. How about "dogs?"
כלבים... אני אוהבת כלבים.
"I love dogs."
k'lavim... Ani ohevet k'lavim.
"dogs... I love (feminine, singular) dogs."
If I were a man, I would say: אני אוהב כלבים
Ani ohev k'lavim.
"I love (masculine, singular) dogs."
So, it's as simple as that and very similar to English.
So, now it's your turn. See if you use these words to make the sentence, "The boy loves dogs."
"the boy"
Did you succeed? First you need the subject, "the boy." In the present tense in Hebrew, the verb is determined by the number and gender of the subject. Here we have one boy.
"the boy"
Then you need to add the verb, "the boy loves."
This verb will be conjugated in masculine singular for "the boy." That's אוהב
"love (masculine, singular)"
הילד אוהב
ha-yeled ohev
"the boy loves"
Finally, you add the object. Altogether, "the boy loves dogs."
הילד אוהב כלבים
Ha-yeled ohev k'lavim.
"The boy loves dogs."
How to Form Negative Sentences in Hebrew
But what if you're not a dog lover, and you want to express that in Hebrew?
Forming the negative in Hebrew is very easy. You just need to know one word.
To make the sentence negative, you add this word before the verb.
אני לא אוהבת כלבים.
Ani lo ohevet k'lavim.
"I don't love (feminine, singular) dogs."
How to Form Questions in Hebrew
Great! Now that you know how to make a sentence in Hebrew and you know how to say it in the negative. Next, we're going to teach you one more thing. How to ask a question in Hebrew.
This is really difficult... are you ready for this?
You don't have to change a word in the sentence. To ask a question in Hebrew, you change how you say the words in the sentence. Lets hear "The boy loves dogs?" as a question.
הילד אוהב כלבים?
Ha-yeled ohev k'lavim?
"Does the boy love dogs?"
Let's hear the difference between the normal sentence and the question.
: The normal sentence is: הילד אוהב כלבים
The question is: הילד אוהב כלבים?
Ha-yeled ohev k'lavim.
"The boy loves dogs."
Ha-yeled ohev k'lavim?
"Does the boy love dogs?"
The formal way to ask this as a question is to add a word to the beginning of the sentence. But this way is not used very often in speech.
You say האם before the rest of the sentence.
האם הילד אוהב כלבים?
"if? (does?)"
Ha-im ha-yeled ohev k'lavim?
"Does the boy love dogs?"
If you want to ask "who loves dogs," you replace the subject with the word for "who."
That word is מי.
מי אוהב כלבים?
Mi ohev k'lavim?
"Who loves dogs?"
Well done! Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that Hebrew sentences are formed using a subject, verb, object, or "SVO" word order, just like in English.
Secondly, you learned how to make a sentence negative by adding one word before the verb.
Lastly, you learned that asking questions in Hebrew is easy because you only have to change the way you say the sentence to ask a question.
We've covered only the very basics of Hebrew grammar. If you're interested in learning more, check out our "Hebrew in 3 minutes" video series. In that course, we teach you useful phrases while covering the fundamentals of Hebrew grammar, and each lesson is only 3 minutes long!
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Hebrew writing.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!