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Lesson Transcript

Sherah: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com. This is Lower Beginner Series Season 1, Lesson 9 - Talking About Illnesses in Hebrew. I’m your host, Sherah!
Amir: And I’m Amir.
Sherah: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk about being sick.
Amir: The conversation takes place in the dining hall of the kibbutz, in the morning.
Sherah: It’s between Anna and her new friend Ofir.
Amir: The speakers are acquaintances, so they’ll be using informal Hebrew.
Sherah: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Sherah: Going to the doctor is Israel is really convenient.
Amir: Healthcare in Israel is universal, so every citizen must be a part of one of several healthcare providers.
Sherah: Each person pays a small monthly fee for basic care, and if you want to expand to non-essential treatments, you can get an extended package.
Amir: Finding a doctor is usually not a problem, because there are clinics all over the country, even in very small villages.
Sherah: In the bigger cities, there are several different doctors in the clinics for different needs, like a pediatrician, a family doctor and a geriatric doctor.
Amir: There is usually a pharmacy in the bigger clinics as well.
Sherah: If you do need to see a doctor, you can make an appointment or you can come at a time when appointments are open.
Amir: In general, people in Israel are quite healthy. We have the fourth longest life-expectancy in the world.
Sherah: I think that that is because Israel practices a good mix of traditional medicine with preventative medicine.
Amir: That’s true. If they can cure something without medicine, they will try that first rather than giving you medicine right away.
Sherah: That’s why I really appreciate the medical system in Israel. Okay, now Let’s 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 phrase is על הפנים.
Amir: That is a funny expression in Hebrew, the literal translation is “on the face”.
Sherah: But it means “terrible” or “horrible”.
Amir: You can use it to describe how you feel just like Anna did.
Sherah: You can also use it to describe other things, like terrible food or a terrible day.
Amir: You will hear it used a lot too.
Sherah: the next phrase that we want to talk about is מה הבעיה?
Amir: This is “what’s the problem?”
Sherah: You can ask this in a positive or a negative tone.
Amir: Right, if someone is struggling with something you can ask them מה הבעיה?
Sherah: Or when someone is bothering you, you can ask them מה הבעיה and if you ask it with a שלך at the end, it really becomes negative.
Amir: מה הבעיה שלך?
Sherah: The last word that we want to talk about is בטן and this can refer to your abdomen, belly, stomach or even your bowels.
Amir: Some common phrases that we use with this word are כאבי בטן which is “stomachache” and כפיפות בטן which are “sit ups”.
Sherah: A funny expression I’ve heard is that someone עושה בטן גב. Literally translated, this means that he “does stomach back”.
Amir: It sounds funny, but it comes from the idea that someone is lying on the beach and tanning all day, going from the belly to their back over and over again. It basically means that someone is bumming around.
Sherah: It’s a very interesting phrase! Okay, let’s move on to the Grammar.

Lesson focus

Sherah: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to describe how you feel physically.
Amir: The main focus of this lesson is the sentence כואבת לי הבטן.
Sherah: Right, we are talking about our aches and pains today.
Amir: The structure of this sentence is a little different from other sentences in Hebrew, since the verb comes first and the subject last.
Sherah: It begins with the verb כואבת or likh’ov, which still agrees with the subject, even though the subject is at the end of the sentence. בטן, the subject, is a feminine noun, so לכאוב is conjugated to agree with it.
Amir: The next word is לי or “to me”, and this is important.
Sherah: Yes, the preposition -ל follows the verb לכאוב. At the end of the sentence we find our subject הבטן. So we say “hurts to me the stomach” in Hebrew instead of “my stomach hurts” the way we do in English.
Amir: you could say it with the same word order as in English, הבטן שלי כואבת, but this would sound like something a child might say.
Sherah: So, something that you may be wondering about is why בטן is a feminine noun even though it doesn’t have the normal feminine ending.
Amir: There are some irregular nouns that don’t have the normal endings for feminine nouns. Oddly, many of those are body parts.
Sherah: Right, all of the double body parts are also feminine in gender even though they don’t end in -ה or -ת.
Amir: Right, “legs” רגליים and “hands” ידיים and also “eyes” עיניים are all feminine.
Sherah: So, this sentence that we learned from the dialogue, you can apply it to other body parts. You could say כואבות לי העיניים. “My eyes hurt.”
Amir: or כואב לי האף “my nose hurts”.
Sherah: There is also another way to express pain, and Ofir showed this when he asked Anna יש לך כאב ראש?
Amir: “Do you have a headache?”
Sherah: This uses the word יש to show possession. We have talked about this before, so we are not going to spend a lot of time on it here.
Amir: There are some words that form a smichut and others that don’t.
Sherah: Right, for the words that don’t form a ‘smichut’, like כאב ראש, you would add a -ב before the body part like כאב ברגל. Here are some examples of aches taken from those we talked about earlier, but in this alternative form.
Amir: The first is יש לי כאב ברגל. “I have a pain in my foot.”
Sherah: The next one is יש לי כאב בטן. “I have a stomachache”. This is how Anna could have said it.
Amir: The last example is יש לי כאב גרון. “I have a throat ache”.
Sherah: As you can see, in the first example the two nouns don’t form a ‘smichut’ and in the last two examples they do.
Amir: So, now you know two different ways to talk about how you feel physically.


Sherah: Okay. That’s all for this lesson. Make sure you check the lesson notes, and we’ll see you next time.
Amir: Now that you’ve listened to this lesson, please visit HebrewPod101.com and tell us how you feel.
Sherah: Thanks everyone, bye!
Amir: להתראות


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

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! What did you think of this lesson? Useful, isn't it?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:41 PM
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Hi Elana,

Thanks for posting this question!

The "usual" ending to feminine plural nouns is "ות" ("ot"). A few examples are:

girls (ילדות - yeladot), glasses (כוסות - kosot), countries (מדינות - medinot) and so on...

In some cases, the ending is "irregular", as mentioned in the sentence you have mentioned. There, the ending "ים" ("im") that characterizes masculine plural nouns is used for feminine nouns.

The example is given for the word "בטנים":

One "stomach" is "beten" ("בטן"), and it is a feminine noun in Hebrew. Despite that, the plural is "btanim" ("בטנים").

Is that clearer now? 😄

Happy to assist,


Team HebrewPod101.com

Thursday at 11:35 PM
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I am just reading through this sentence:

"בטן (beten) is unusual when it comes to its gender. Although it's feminine, it doesn't end in the usual feminine ending. It's one of the few feminine words in Hebrew that are irregular.

And it has confused me! Please could you let me know what are the usual feminine endings?

Thank you,

Thursday at 04:50 PM
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Hi קמילה and Yitzchak,

Thanks for posting! Glad you liked the lesson 😄

@Camilla - the smikhut "בעיות הבריאות" is correct (good job!) but the verb that you used before doesn't work so much in this context, and the word "כמו" also doesn't function there properly...

I will fix it as: אני חושבת שזה חשוב מאוד לדעת איך לתאר את בעיות הבריאות שלנו בעברית.

Note the usage of "לתאר את" instead of "להסביר", and "איך" instead of "כמו".

We could use "כמו" if we write: אני חושבת שזה חשוב מאוד לדעת לעשות דברים כמו להסביר את בעיות הבריאות שלנו בעברית.

Keep up the diligence! you're improving with every phrase 😉😄



Team HebrewPod101.com

Tuesday at 09:58 PM
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Thank you

Friday at 01:39 AM
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השיעור היה שימושי מאוד! אני חושבת שזה חשוב מאוד לדעת כמו להסביר בעיות הבריאות שלנו בעברית.

😅 I hope I got the smichut right

Thursday at 08:06 PM
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Hi Yitzchak,

Hahaha you got me there for a minute 😅😅

Glad you like the lesson 👍

Note that "אני מצחיק" is actually "I'm funny". In order to say "Just kidding" we could write "!סתם, בצחוק" or "אני צוחק".

Happy learning


Team HebrewPod101.com

Thursday at 02:33 AM
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חשבתי ששיעור הזה על הפנים.

אני מצחיק! רציתי להשתמש באחת מהמילים מהשיעור הזה.

כמו כל השיעורים כאן, היה ממש שמושי.


I thought the lesson was terrible.

Just kidding! I just wanted to use one of the vocab words.

Like all the lessons here, it was very useful.

Thank you!

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:07 AM
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Hi John Nahaliel,

Thanks for posting!

I'm glad you feel good thanks to this lesson! The correct way to write this phrase will be "אני מרגיש טוב בגלל השיעור הזה". (ani margish tov biglal ha'shiur haze). 😄😄



Team HebrewPod101.com

John Nahaliel
Friday at 04:27 AM
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בגלל זה שעור.

John Nahaliel
Friday at 04:26 AM
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שלום! שמי יון. אמי מרגיש תוב. בגלל זה שיור.