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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Hebrew Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn about stress in Hebrew.
WHAT IS STRESS?
But what exactly *is* stress?
Stress, refers to the prominence or relative emphasis placed on certain syllables in a word.
When you say the word "unbelievable" for example, do you notice how the "lie" is accentuated?
That's because it's pronounced longer and louder than any other syllable in the word, and this is what we refer to as stress.
How is stress important?
Stress is essential for proper pronunciation and communication because it affects the meaning of a word or sentence.
Consider some examples in English.
If you were to say DEsert (noun) when you meant deSERT (verb),
or PROject (noun) when you meant proJECT (verb),
or how about PREsent (noun) when you *actually* meant preSENT (verb),
do you see how confusing it could be?
Let's compare that with Hebrew.
שבו (returned)
שבו (captured)
Clearly stress is just as important in Hebrew as it is in English.
Do you see now how important it is to stress the right syllable in Hebrew?
Hebrew stress rules
Now that we've *stressed* the importance of stress, let's take a look at some of the stress rules in Hebrew.
Hebrew is an old language. A *very* old language. And like many old languages, it's littered with many complex and contradictory rules; certain rules may be lost or simply forgotten throughout the ages, while others survive to the present day. As languages evolve, new rules take form, which can sometimes conflict with older ones. Because of this, the language can seem much more unordered and random.
Learning the exact rules about why stress is placed where it is in Hebrew, is a very long and complicated endeavour. For the purposes of learning modern day Hebrew however, all of these stress rules can be simplified down to two main principles:
- Stress falls on the very last syllable, and,
- Stress falls on the *second last* syllable
The first principle however, is much more prevalent than the second.
While some exceptions *do* exist, for all intents and purposes, these two simple principles cover more than 95% of all stress placement rules in Modern Hebrew.
Knowing which principle to follow and when, however, can't be determined without further intensive study of the language. The only surefire way way is to listen to a native speaker's pronunciation, or look up words in a stress marked dictionary. At least you can be sure that it's very likely the stress will be on the last syllable, and if not there, then on the second last syllable.
Let's practice!
Let's take a look at some words that are stressed on the last syllable. Try repeating after (host name) so that you can get a feel for the rhythm.
דבר "thing"
כבד "heavy"
לבן "white"
אביב "spring"
חשבונית "invoice"
Are you repeating the words aloud after (host name)? The only proper way for you to get a sense for the rhythm is to pronounce it yourself. Try it!
סבלנות "patience"
פסגה "summit"
בעיה "problem"
עגבניה "tomato"
שמלה "dress"
Now let's hear a few words that are stressed on the *second last* syllable. Remember to repeat after (host name).
נוח "comfortable"
חורף "winter"
צעצוע "toy"
צלחת "plate"
And the final example for this lesson is...
"female speaker" דוברת
In this lesson, you learned about stress in Hebrew
In the next lesson, we'll learn about two Hebrew diacritics.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to tackle stress? Let us know in the comments.
See you in the next Ultimate Hebrew Pronunciation Guide lesson!

27 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have any tips or tricks on how to tackle stress?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 03:57 PM
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Hi Stuart,


Thank you very much for posting this and thanks for the tip! 👍👍👍


This can be very useful information for many Hebrew learners, we appreciate your help 😉


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Stuart
Sunday at 12:28 PM
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Hi there - I saw a comment below bout stress marked dictionaries. I am new to studying Hebrew and my goal in doing this course is to study Biblical Hebrew. I know Biblical Hebrew is different from Modern Hebrew, but Zondervan is a publisher who sells Hebrew textbooks and they also sell Hebrew flashcards that have a small accent (

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 07:01 AM
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Hi Mel Finney,


Thanks for posting!


I really tried to find a good recommendation for you, but for some reason, it is really hard to find out online... none of the dictionaries I looked online specify this information... I guess the best way would be to look for the dictionary section in a bookstore and peek inside the dictionaries in order to find out 😞


Sorry for not being able to help more... Please let us know in case you have other questions, and enjoy learning Hebrew!


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Mel (Melvyn) Finney
Wednesday at 10:20 PM
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Hi.

I am a native English speaker from the UK. In lesson 8 the importance of stress in pronouncing Hebrew correctly is covered. In that lesson it was mentioned looking up a word in a stress marked dictionary. Could you recommend one to me. I would be very appreciative if you could.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 09:49 PM
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Hi Pat


Thanks for posting and for bringing this issue to our attention.


You are correct, there is a mismatch here between the audio and the romanization text. The issue is that the audio is using the feminine form "shelakh", whilethe text uses the masculine "shelkha".

The corrected romanization should be updated to "Eyfo ha-d'varim shelakh?"


We will make sure to fix this asap 👍👍


Thanks!

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Pat
Monday at 06:40 AM
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In example: Where are your things?

check romanization against audio

HebrewPod101.com
Tuesday at 12:24 AM
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Hi kris,


Thanks for posting your question.


The word "sometimes" (לפעמים) is pronounced "lif-a-mim", when the first vowel is an "ee".


Happy to assist 😄👍


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

kris
Sunday at 01:04 AM
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I've got a question re the example sentence of khoref. The word "sometimes" is phonetically speld as lefa’amim but I hear leefamim. I went to look it up in the dictionary(reverso context : no idea if it's trustworthy) and found both possibilities.

I'm confused, are both pronounciations correct?


Thx


Kris

HebrewPod101.com
Saturday at 01:32 AM
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Hi Glauco,


Thanks for commenting!


Architecture vocabulary... well, that's not a bad idea :) we'll keep it in mind for when we'll plan new vocabulary lessons. 😄😄


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Glauco
Thursday at 11:07 AM
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I need to learn about architect vocabulay