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 proununced.

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
  • Good morning – boker tov
  • How are you? – ma schlomcha? (not pronounced shlomka, but shlom-kha [the “ka” hbeing forced out of the back of the throat]
  • Good, thank you – Tov, bevakasha
  • What is your name? – ma shimcha?
  • Welcome – baruch haba
  • Please (also You’re welcome) – bevakasha
  • Thank you (very much) – toda (raba)
  • See you soon – lehitraot
  • Sorry – mitztaer
  • Breakfast – aruchat boker
  • Dinner – aruchat erev
  • Table – shulcan
  • Plate – tzalachat
  • Fork – masleg
  • Glass – kohss
  • Spoon – kahf
  • Knife – suhkeen
  • Beef – bakar
  • Chicken – off
  • Fish – dag
  • Coffee – kafeh
  • Tea – teh
  • Bread – lechem (Bet Lechem, or Bethlehem = house of bread)
  • Water – mai’im
  • Juice – meats
  • Salad – salat
  • Dates – t’marim
  • Hummus – not pronounced like it is spelled, but pronounced “who-moose” with the “who” being forced out of the back of the throat
  • Wine – yayin
  • Without sugar – blee sukar
  • Tasty – taim
  • More – od
  • How much is it? kamah zeh oleh?
  • May I pay with…? – ha’im ani yachol leshalem im?
  • House – bayit
  • Swimsuit – beged yam
  • Money – kesef
  • Hat – kova
  • Shoes – naalyim

Numbers:

  • 1 – achat
  • 2 – shtaim
  • 3 – shalosh
  • 4 – arbah
  • 5 – hamesh
  • 6 – shesh
  • 7 – sheyvah
  • 8 – shmone
  • 9 – tesha

English-sounding words with different Hebrew meanings:

  • Come – boy (i.e. in Hebrew, “boy” means “come”)
  • Juice – meats
  • He – who
  • She – he (yes, it’s true: In Hebrew, “he” actually means “she”)
  • Who – me
  • What? (as in “I didn’t understand”) – ma?

Common slang words (feel free to use these):

  • Peace be to you – shalom aleichem
  • Great, groovy, cool – Sabbaba (adj.)
  • “Bro” (when you cannot remember someone’s name) – Achi
  • The real thing – Achla (n.) ie. “That was achla hummus.”
  • Hello – Ahalan (n.). “Ahalan, achi ma koreh?” (Hi, bro, what’s up?)
  • Literally, an explosion, but more often used to describe a pretty girl or something great – Petzatza!
  • What’s up? (exclamation) – Ma Koreh?
  • No way! (exclamation) – Ma Pitom!
  • (What a) downer – Eze Ba-sa
  • Great! Outasight! (exclamation) – Sof Ha Derech!
  • A big mess – Balagan
  • Move on now (or, Let’s go!). Ya-lah
  • Wait just a minute! (or, “chill out”!), expressed with first two fingers of right hand pressed against thumb and pointing upward – Rak Regah!
  • Patience – Savlanut
  • An embarrassing situation – Fadeecha
  • Goodbye! (very friendly) – Yallah Bye!
  • Quit (doing that)! Said with exasperation to a child when you want him to stop what he is doing – Die!

 

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