A Little Hebrew

As you practice the following Hebrew words, keep in mind:

1. Place the emphasis on the last syllable as this is the way most Hebrew words are pronounced.

2. A “ch” within a word makes a guttural sound. It is not pronounced like the English “ch” as in “chat”, but more like a “kha” made by forcing air out of the back of the throat.

Common words you may use every day:

  • Hello/goodbye/peace (be to you) – shalom = sha-LOHM
  • Good morning – boker tov = (actually “morning good”); both “o’s” pronounced as in “cove”
  • How are you? – ma schlomcha? (not pronounced shlomka, but shlom-CHA with the -“cha” being forced from the back of the throat)
  • Good, thank you – Tov, toda (tov means “good”; toda means “thank you”),
  • What is your name? – ma shimcha? = mah-shim-CHA
  • Welcome – baruch haba = ba-ROOK ha-BA
  • Please (also You’re welcome) – bevakasha = bey-vak-a-SHAW
  • Thank you (very much) – toda (raba) = tow-DAH rah-BAH
  • See you soon – lehitraot  (Pronounced in 4 syllables but in 3 when said quickly) = lay-hee-tra-OAT
  • Sorry – mitztaer = mits-ta-AIR (although I have never heard Israelis say they were sorry so I have never actually heard this pronounced)
  • Breakfast – aruchat boker (remember that the “ch” is not pronounced as in “chat” but as a sound forced from the back of the throat. Also, boker means “morning”) = aru-CHAT bo-KER
  • Dinner – aruchat erev (erev means “evening”) = aru-CHAT e-REV
  • Table – shulcan = shooul-CHAN
  • Plate – tzalachat = tsa-LA-chat
  • Fork – masleg = maz-LEG
  • Glass – kohss = (as one sound. Do your best with this one)
  • Spoon – kahf (as one sound)
  • Knife – suhkeen = saw-KEEN
  • Beef – bakar = ba-KAR
  • Chicken – off = (just like it sounds)
  • Fish – dag = dog
  • Coffee – kafeh = ka-FAY
  • Tea – teh = TAY
  • Bread – lechem (Bet Lechem, or Bethlehem means house of bread) = bet-LE-chem’
  • Water – mai’im = my-EEM
  • Juice – meets = MEETS
  • Salad – salat = sa-LAT
  • Dates – t’marim = te-MARIM
  • Hummus – (not pronounced like it is spelled nor as everyone says it, but the “who” sound if forced from the back of the throat almost as if you are clearing your throat) = choo-MOOSE
  • Wine – yayin = ya-YIN
  • Without sugar – blee sukar = blee su-KAR
  • Tasty – ta’im = tah-EEM (2 sylables, said quickly)
  • More – ode
  • How much is it? – KA-mah?
  • May I pay with…? – ef-SHAR le-sh-LEM-eem (“ef-SHAR” precedes any request such as borrowing a chair from a table and can be followed simply by pointing to the item being requested as in showing American dollars or your credit card)
  • House – bayit = bey-EET
  • Swimsuit – beged yam = bey-GED yam
  • Money – kesef = ke-SEF
  • Hat – kova =ko-VAH
  • Shoes – naalyim = nah-ah-LIE-eem

Numbers:

  • 1 – achat – a-CHAT (with the “ch” forced from the back of the throat)
  • 2 – shtaim – SHTA-yeem
  • 3 – shalosh – sha-LOSH
  • 4 – arbah – AR-bah
  • 5 – hamesh – ha-MESH
  • 6 – shesh – (as one word)
  • 7 – sheyvah – SHAY-vah
  • 8 – shmone – SHMO-nay
  • 9 – tesha – TAY-shah
  • 10 – esser – EH-ser

English-sounding words with different Hebrew meanings:

  • Come – boy (yes, “boy” means “come”)
  • Juice – meets
  • He – who
  • She – he (yes, “she” means “he”)
  • Who – me
  • What? (as in “I didn’t understand”) – ma?

Common slang words (feel free to use these):

  • Peace be to you – shalom aleichem = sha-LOHM all-lek-CHEM
  • Great, groovy, cool – Sabbaba (adj.) = sah-BAH-ba
  • “Bro” (when you cannot remember someone’s name) – Achi = AKEE
  • The real thing – Achla (n.) ie. “That was achla hummus.” = ahk=LAH
  • Hello – Ahalan (n.). “Ahalan, achi ma koreh?” (Hi, bro, what’s up?) = ah-ah-LAN
  • Literally, an explosion, but more often used to describe a pretty girl or something great – Petzatza! = Pet-saht-SAH
  • What’s up? (exclamation) – Ma Koreh? (as it sounds)
  • No way! (exclamation) – Ma Pitom! = ma pee-TOM
  • (What a) downer – Eze Ba-sa = ezeh ba-SA
  • Great! Outasight! (exclamation) – Sof Ha Derech! = sof ha-DEREK
  • A big mess – Balagan = ba-la-GONE (a very popular way of saying something is a mess, as in traffic or any situation)
  • Move on now (or, Let’s go!) = Yeh-LAH
  • Wait just a minute! (or, “chill out”!), expressed with first two fingers of right hand pressed against thumb and pointing upward while looking intently at the person to whom you are exasperated– Rak Regah! = RAK-RAY-gah (often “raygah-raygah” which is said twice and with exaggerated exasperation). If you are simply asking a person to “wait a minute”, you use the hand signal
  • Patience – Savlanut = sah-vlah-NOOT
  • An embarrassing situation – Fadeecha = fah-DE-cha
  • Goodbye! (very friendly) – Yallah Bye! (as spelled)
  • Quit (doing that)! – Die! (often spoken to a child when the parent has become exasperated with the child’s behavior and is telling the child he/she had best quit)

6 thoughts on “A Little Hebrew

    • Honestly, I didn’t think anybody would care. I put this page up just for fun, but your suggestion will probably cause me to do what you have asked. So, when are you going to join us? Chris

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