I call myself The Hebrew Warrior because let’s face it, Hebrew can be a fight to learn. When I made Aliyah, my Hebrew education consisted of Hebrew school after school that focused on learning to write and read (mostly the prayer-book), and a few semesters of basic Hebrew at an American university.
I somehow tested into advanced Ulpan, and felt the struggle from day one. My mom noticed it too and said I could always go to intermediate, but one thing kept me stubborn to stay in there and survive: I didn’t want to miss any of the tricks I was learning, tricks most native Israelis had never heard of. Today, I’m going to share a few of those tricks with all of you.
1. How do you know if a word has א or ע in it? Say the פועל (infinitive) out loud. If you hear an “ah” sound at the end, it’s ע. If you hear no sound at the end, it’s א (it might be ה, but infinitives with ה at the end are rare).
לא שמעתי את החדשות–I didn’t hear the news
.is lishmo-a, we hear the ah שמעתי The infinitive of
הם מצאו את המחברת–They found the notebook
The infinitive of מצאו is למצוא limtso, no ah sound.
2. Many words related to time have ע:
Notice the eh-ah sound pattern in the last three words, this sound will have ע, not א
3. Sometimes, some letters go in pairs.
ק–ט: קטן- small שקט–quiet
Now we know cafeteria is spelled קפטריה, not קפתריה
ת–כ: תוכי- parrot תורכיה- Turkey
I have also seen it spelled טורקיה, which still uses an acceptable pair of letters.
4. When we use a word from a foreign language that has “th” in it, we spell it with ת.
mathematics-מָתֶמָטִיקָה Did you notice ק and ט here too? (see trick 3)
5. When you hear an “ah-ah” sound in a word, ע is in the middle.
6. You will also see ע in words that express negativity.
anger-כַּעַס, זַעַם, זַעַף
7. If you hear the sounds ooakh or ehakh, a ח will be in the word.
Did these tricks help you? Leave a comment.