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Lesson Transcript

Sherah: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com. This is Lower Beginner Series Season 1, Lesson 4 Talking About Nationalities in Hebrew
Amir: Hello, I’m Amir.
Sherah: And I’m Sherah. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk about nationalities and countries.
Amir: The conversation takes place in Anna’s dorm room in the kibbutz.
Sherah: It’s between Anna and her new roommates.
Amir: The speakers are strangers, and they’ll be using informal Hebrew.
Sherah: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Sherah: So, when you go to Ulpan, there are usually people from all over the world in the class, many of them new immigrants. Let’s look at the different outside influences on Israeli culture.
Amir: Israel is very culturally diverse. The first Jewish people to come to the area were Russians, and this was during the Ottoman empire.
Sherah: The surrounding Arab cultures influenced their music, food, and even their language.
Amir: Later, the British left their influence during the British Mandate. Because of the British, English is a semi-official language of Israel.
Sherah: After the formation of the State of Israel, many people arrived from Europe. Their cultural influence is seen in Israel, but not as strongly other cultures, because they were trying to leave behind their past and begin a new “Israeli” culture.
Amir: The next big influence was the arrival of Jewish people from Arab countries.
Sherah: There are many things that we adopted from these new immigrants in the 1950s, like food, music and even the hamsa, a palm-shaped amulet.
Amir: They had a big influence on the film industry also, and that’s when we saw the emergence of the bourekas films, which played off of the differences between ashkenazi and mizrahi Jews in a comedic way.
Sherah: And in recent years, we have seen many immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia. The Russian culture emphasizes the importance of education and that has transferred to the rest of Israel.
Amir: Ethiopians brought music, and this was seen in the Idan Raichel project, which features Ethiopian singers and instruments.
Sherah: I remember when that came out, it was a big deal. Okay, now it’s time to move on to the vocabulary.
Sherah: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is שותף
Amir: שותף is the Hebrew word for “partner”.
Sherah: Right, this could be a partner in business, in life or in a situation.
Amir: Yes. For instance, if you are a lawyer and you become a partner, you would be called a שותף in Hebrew.
Sherah: A partner in business would be שותף לעסיקים.
Amir: When you want to talk about your roommate, you would say שותף לחדר just like Cornelia did in this phrase when she told Anna that they were going to be roommates.
Sherah: “Flatmates” are called שותפים לדירה.
Amir: Now, let’s say that you are an accomplice to some crime...
Sherah: Wait a minute! I hope our listeners are not committing any crimes.
Amir: (laughs) Me too, but let’s just pretend... if you are an accomplice, you are called a שותף לפשע - “a partner in crime.”
Sherah: In English, a partner in crime is someone who does the crime with you, but in Hebrew you are called that even if you are just an accomplice.
Amir: Our next vocabulary word is חדר. ‘Heder’ is the word for “room”.
Sherah: This is referring to a specific room in a building, and not a general idea like space.
Amir: In the diaspora, a ‘heder’ was the term for the religious school.
Sherah: Now they use the term ‘yeshiva’ for that. Other types of rooms are חדר אוכל which means “cafe” or “dining hall”.
Amir: Or חדר אורחים which is a “guest room”. Another room is the חדר מיון the “emergency room”.
Sherah: And then there is the חדר עבודה or the “study”. Okay, now let’s move on to the Grammar.

Lesson focus

Sherah: In this lesson, you’ll learn the different words for countries and nationalities.
Amir: In Hebrew, someone’s nationality is usually similar to their country’s name or the adjective used to describe something from that country.
Sherah: As with other things in Hebrew, there are four different versions of nationalities used to describe people - masculine, feminine and the plural forms.
Amir: When it comes to the feminine endings there are two variations, those that end in -ה and those that end in -ת.
Sherah: Sometimes a country’s name and the feminine form of the nationality are spelled the same but they are pronounced a little differently.
Amir: We saw this in the dialogue with the country of “Germany” גרמניה and the feminine nationality גרמניה.
Sherah: The difference is where the stress is placed in the word. It’s the same with “Russia” רוסיה and the female form of “Russian” רוסיה.
Amir: We also had the “United States” ארצות הברית and “American” אמריקנית in the dialogue, but those are not close.
Sherah: No they’re not. We want to give you some other examples of country and nationality. We’ll give you both the masculine and the feminine forms of the nationality. For instance, “China” is סין and a “Chinese person” is סיני or סינית.
Amir: “England” is אנגליה and an “english person” is אנגלי or אנגליה.
Sherah: “Brazil” is ברזיל and a “Brazilian” is ברזילאי or ברזילאית.
Amir: “Finland” is פינלנד and a “Finn” is פיני or פינית.
Sherah: Let’s give a couple examples of both the country and the nationality in a sentence. You start, I’ll translate.
Amir: Okay... הוא פיני.
Sherah: He’s Finnish
Amir: How about - היא סינית.
Sherah: She’s Chinese. .
Amir: I think the important things to remember is that many of the words surrounding the country and the nationality are similar.
Sherah: The pronunciation and the endings are what will determine if it’s the country or the nationality a lot of the time.
Amir: That’s right.
Sherah: Now let’s look at the sample sentences from the dialogue as well. In the beginning, Anna says אני אנה, אני אמריקנית. “I’m Anna. I’m American.”
Amir: This is correct form in Hebrew. Israelis wouldn’t use ‘amerikanit’ as often as they would use אמריקאית, which is technically not correct in Hebrew.
Sherah: Right. So after this, Cornelia says אני גרמניה “I’m German”.
Amir: And then she talks about Yulia, saying היא מרוסיה. “She’s from Russia.”
Sherah: Right!


Sherah: So, that’s all for this lesson.
Amir: Now that you’ve listened to this lesson, please visit HebrewPod101.com and tell us your nationality.
Sherah: And we’ll see you next time. Bye everyone!
Amir: להתראות


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! Can you name your nationality and country in Hebrew?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:25 PM
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Shalom ian,

Could you please be a bit more specific as to where you found that error and what error message, if any, you see? I have just checked all our Lesson Notes PDF files and the section mentioned by you is there. Could you please double check it? Thank you! 😇

Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Friday at 12:03 PM
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For the last three lessons, the section titled “vocabulary phrase usage” in the lesson notes has a technical error and cannot be read. Is there a plan to fix this?


-Ian V

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:59 PM
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Dear Barbara,

Thank you for posting your question!

The word "שותפות" (shutafot) is simply "roommates" in the plural feminine form. The singular form is "שותפה" (female roommate).

Therefore, the complete sentence "anakhnu shutafot la-kheder" translates as "we are roommates (feminine)"

I hope that helps 👍😄



Team HebrewPod101.com

Friday at 03:26 AM
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Confused about dialog line: Anachnu shutaFOT laheder. ??? Meaning? prosody?


HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 05:06 PM
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Shalom Chaya,

Thank you so much for your heart! ❤️️❤️️

We are very happy that you like to study with us.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Thursday at 05:30 PM
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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 11:05 PM
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Hi Evette Katlin,

Thanks for posting your question!

There are two possible endings for talking about a feminine person from a particular country - either "-it" (as in "Amerikanit"), or "-iya" (as in "Angliya").

While for some nationalities only one option is valid (i.e "Amerikanit" - "Amerikaniya" sound very wrong!) for others both options are used interchangeably.

One important note in this context is that the stress (on a specific syllable) is what creates the difference between the country and a person.

For example, "England" is pronounced "Angliya" - with the stress on the first syllable ("An") while "English" (the person) is pronounced "AngliYA" - with the stress on the last syllable ("ya"). The same is true for Germany and other nationalities as well.

I hope that helps clearing things a little :) please let us know in case you have further questions 👍



Team HebrewPod101.com

Evette Katlin
Thursday at 07:04 AM
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I have a question. I thought that when you are talking about a person from a particular country the ending would be like it is in line 1 (for a woman) Americanit. I am confused that the lesson says Germania which i thought was the name of the Country—Germany, is being used instead of Germanit in line 2. Otherwise I would have thought it would say Meh-Germania as it does in line 4 when is says Meh-Russia. I am also studying from a book, Ivrit Min Ha-Hatchalah and they make the distinction between these. How can Germania and Germanit be used in the same way which is what this lesson indicates?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 03:35 AM
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Shalom David,

You can find the line-by-line audio on the top of this lesson page.

If you have any questions, let us know. 😉

Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Sunday at 05:13 PM
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At the end of the lesson audio, reference is made to "line by line audio" which, as a premium member, I should be able to find on the lessons page under "Premium Member Resources". I can't find it there, and your search function didn't help either. Could you tell me where I can find "line by line audio"?