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Lesson Transcript

Sherah:Hello and welcome back to hebrewpod101.com. This is Lower Intermediate Season 1, Lesson 11 - Talking About Your Roots in Hebrew. I’m your host, Sherah!
Amir:And I’m Amir.
Sherah:In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use hypothetical conditional sentences in Hebrew
Amir:The conversation takes place in a cafe in the morning.
Sherah:It’s between Gadi and his wife Ma'ayan.
Amir:The speakers are married so they’ll be using informal Hebrew.
Sherah:So unfortunately, many Israelis find it easier to make a living outside of Israel.
Amir:This is particularly true of academics, science professionals and engineers.
Sherah:Because of this, this exodus has earned the name, “the brain drain”, because many of the brains of Israel leave for better opportunities.
Amir:Right, there are two reasons why people choose to leave. One is the lower wages that people make in Israel.
Sherah:The other reason is that there are not so many jobs available in these careers.
Amir:Many of Israel’s smartest head overseas when they finish university, and there is really not much that can entice them to come back.
Sherah:And in the past few years, around 17% of people who have received doctorate degrees have left the country to seek jobs elsewhere.
Amir:The government now has a program to try to bring some of these Israelis and their families back home.
Sherah:Let’s hope it works.
Sherah:Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word that we want to talk about is שורש.
Amir:שורש means “source” or “root” in Hebrew.
Sherah:There are several different things this can refer to. It can refer to the root of a tree or the source of a river.
Amir:Right, and you can also use it when talking about the roots of your family genealogy.
Sherah:At some point in school kids have to trace their “shoreshim” to see where they come from, because Israelis have come from all over the world.
Amir:Interestingly, the wrist is called “the root of the hand” or שורש היד in Hebrew.
Sherah:Yes and if you are going to get a thorough treatment for something, it’s called טיפול שורש or “root treatment”.
Amir:The next word we want to talk about is ממשלה or “government”.
Sherah:There is so much talk in Israel about the ממשלה. Israel’s government is a democracy made up of many different parties.
Amir:There are so many parties that different parties need to unite to make a coalition. They call this a ממשלת אחדות or a “unity government.”
Sherah:so the last phrase we are talking about in this lesson is יושב על כוס קפה
Amir:This is what you say when you have a coffee date with someone.
Sherah:Technically, it is translated as “to sit over a cup of coffee.” Or you could also translate this as “to sit on a cup of coffee, but that’s not what it means. This is something that Israelis love to do. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Sherah:In this lesson, you’ll learn about hypothetical conditional sentences in Hebrew.
Amir:Can you explain what that is a little more?
Sherah:Okay… This is a special case that you have in Hebrew. In this lesson, we are talking about “what if” situations that couldn’t possibly happen in reality.
Amir:I think that explains it a little better. In Hebrew, we use אם, meaning “if”, for conditional sentences
Sherah:Right, but with these sentences you can’t use אם. You use a different word for “if”, and that is אילו.
Amir:You can also use לו but this is more of a biblical form.
Sherah:Amir, let’s start with the example sentence from the dialogue. Can you give us a sentence?
Amir:Sure. Ma’ayan says אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ, הייתי גודלת ברומניה
Sherah:She says, “If my grandfather hadn’t come to Israel, I would have grown up in Romania.” The sentence opens with אילו or if.
Amir:Then you have your first clause with a verb in the past tense. סבי לא עלה לארץ
Sherah:Here the situation doesn’t exist because her grandfather couldn’t have stayed in Romania at the time, he had to immigrate. So the second clause has the verb להיות in the past tense and then another verb conjugated in the present tense.
Amir:The second clause of that sentence was הייתי גודלת ברומניה
Sherah:Right, the first word הייתי is in the past tense and גודלת is in the present tense.
Amir:So, this is the basic structure of these sentences, what did you call them again?
Sherah:Hypothetical conditional sentences.
Amir:Right, how about we look at some examples.
Sherah:Sounds good, let’s start with another sentence from the dialogue.
Amir:Later in the dialogue, Gadi says אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ, הייתי שותה כוס קפה בפריז עכשיו
Sherah:He says, “If my grandfather didn't come to Israel, I would have been drinking a cup of coffee in Paris right now.”
Amir:Here we have אילו and then the verb עלה in the past and in the second clause הייתי שותה which is להיות in the past tense and לשתות in the present.
Sherah:We should tell you that the order of the clauses really doesn’t matter - you can put either clause first.
Amir:So, if we reversed the clauses in the last example sentence, it would be .הייתי שותה כוס קפה בפריז עכשיו, אילו סבי לא עלה לארץ
Sherah:I would be drinking a cup of coffee in Paris right now, if my grandfather had not immigrated to Israel.
Amir:Now for another example - this one is not from the dialogue - what is it Sherah? אילו היה לי כנפיים, הייתי עפה כמו ציפור
Sherah:That was “if I had wings, I would fly like a bird”. Good one.
Amir:And this one אילו אמרתם לנו על המסיבה, היינו מגיעים.
Sherah:If you had told us about the party, we would have come.
Amir:So, just remember, if it is something that could be possible, use אם and if it’s something that isn’t plausible, use אילו.
Sherah:And that’s it for this lesson on hypotheticals!


Sherah:Be sure to visit us at HebrewPod101.com and leave us a comment tellin us what you’ve learned here. And make sure you check the lesson notes too.
Amir:Thanks for being with us, everyone,