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Commonly Used Hebrew Words and How to Say Them

This article will teach you some commonly used phrases in Hebrew. I may not make a "Native" Hebrew speaker out of you right away but it will give a "taste" of this beautiful language!

My personal favorite Hebrew-English, English Hebrew dictionary.

My personal favorite Hebrew-English, English Hebrew dictionary.

While Hebrew is not a common language to be heard around the world, you would be surprised how many Hebrew words you may already know.The language is over 4000 years old but has had many changes throughout the years. In this article, I will be talking about modern Hebrew. Hebrew ican be a difficult language to learn. It uses a different alphabet system and different sounds. It takes many years of intense lessons to master Hebrew (Ivrit). I learned in an intensive absorption program in Israel caled Ulpan but my real knowledge came from my day-to-day encounters.

Common Hebrew Words

  • Boy- Yeled (yell ed)
  • Girl- Yelda (yell dah)
  • Children-Yeladim (Yell ah deem)
  • Friend (masculine)- Chaver (khah vare)
  • Friend (feminine)- Chavera (khah vare ah)
  • Come with me- Bo iti (boe ee tee)
  • Come to me- Bo alay (boe ah lie)
  • Yes- ken
  • No- lo
  • Please-Bevakasha (Bah-vah-kah-shah)
  • Thank you- todah (toe-dah)



  • the bathroom- Hasherutim (Hah sher-oo-teem)
  • the restaurant- Hamisadah (Hah miss a dah)
  • the bank- Habank (Hah bahnk)

Common Hebrew Phrases

  • Hello, good-bye and peace- Shalom (Shah-lome)
  • My name is______- Kareem li____________(Kah reem lee)
  • or more simply:
  • I am_________- Ani_________ (Ah-knee)
  • Thank you very much- Todah raba! (toe-dah rah bah)
  • Good Morning- Boker Tov (Boe kehr tohv)
  • Good Evening- Erev Tov (Eh rehv tohv)
  • How are you (Masculine)-Ma Shlomka (Mah shlome khah)
  • How are you (Feminine)- Ma shlomech (Mah shlome mech)
  • I am fine- Ani Beseder (Ah-knee beh seh der)
  • Where is...?- Eiffo (Ay-foe)
  • I am from America- Ani mi America (Ah-knee me America) or insert where you are from.
  • Do you speak English (Masculine)-Ata medeber Anglit? (Ah tah meh deh behr Ahn gleet)
  • Do you speak English (Feminine)- At medeberit Anglit? (At meh deh behr it Ahn gleet)

Familiar Hebrew and Yiddish words

chutzpah // shlemiel // shlamazal

mazal tov // bar/bat mitzvah

goy // oy vay // boychick // mensch

kvetch // shpulkies // yenta

tushy //ferklempt //


The Use of Cognates to Expand your Vocabulary

As in most languages, there are several "Hebrew" words that have been borrowed. I have compiled a list for you along with pronounciations:

  • Pizza
  • Telephone
  • Sweater- svedder
  • Banana
  • Auto
  • Jeans-jean seem
  • Bank
  • Jeep
  • Hamburger
  • University- ooh nah verse ee tah
  • Jacket- Juh ket
  • Television- televisia
  • Radio- rah dee oh
  • Battery- bat uh ree uh

Electronic Language Translators

If you are traveling in Israel

In Israel, all students must learn English from the early grades on. All university students must pass an English proficiency test. Street signs, as well as most other signs, are also in English. You would not have much trouble finding someone to speak in English with. There are so many dictionaries and electronic translators available, as well. You can also download translators but, beware, many of them are not accurate. A popular, accurate one is Babylon. You can download the free version to your computer here.

Where in the world is Israel?

Examples using a root word

Root Word/lettersNoun(s)Verb(s)Adjective

Gdl

Godol

Godel

gadol

Gadol

Migdal

Godelet

 

 

 

 

 

An Interesting Fact about Hebrew

Most Hebrew words have a three letter root. All grammatical forms of the word come from that root. For example:

  • Gadal- He grew (verb)
  • Lgdol- To grow (V)
  • Godol- Large (adjective)
  • Godel- Size (N)
  • Mgdal-Tower (N)

Hebrew is also a much more logical language in terms of grammar. Unlike English, there are 7 definitive ways to conjugate a verb and very few exceptions to the rule.

If you are at a loss for the conjugation or the word itself, knowing the shoresh (root) of word will help you or the person you are speaking to.

A little Hebrew Alphabet to Wake you up!

Comments

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on August 08, 2017:

So very welcome, Janet! My pleasure!

Janet on August 07, 2017:

I see a few comments about being to old to learn all this! Ha Ha Ha I'm sure I am. But Ahava it! And will go slow and see what seeps in!

Thanks Randi. I'm in Virginia. But love learning some of the words! Learn a couple today, Guess that's a good start! Some of it I don't understand yet, but I'm sure in time and with some patients I'll get a few.I have Love and Kind today. So that's a good start. Ahava and Chesed!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on March 10, 2013:

Thank you, Colin. I did enjoy writing it! I am not the biggest fan of Klezmer or liturgical music but my family is so I grew up hearing it but never understanding it. Now, finally, I know what it means! Sending hugs right back at you!

epigramman on March 08, 2013:

You know Randi , I've always been a big fan of cantorial music and klezmer music and Yiddish humor so for me this is an endlessly fascinating overview of words and their meaning. Thank you for your research and I would imagine this hub presentation was a labor of love for you.

I am up after a nap on a night off (well actually the weekend) playing James Brown instrumental music loud and keeping the cats entertained and well fed too - 3 big Canadian hugs from Colin and his furried buddies at lake erie time 1:52am

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on March 03, 2013:

Hahaha! So glad you enjoyed the music! And I see you are getting ready for Passover, Chris! -Thank you for the visit and the vote!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 02, 2013:

Randi, Rockin' With the Aleph Bet was good, but I"m Goin' to a Seder is even better. Excellent hub and introduction to modern Hebrew. voted up.

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on March 01, 2013:

Thank you, Sid! I appreciate the votes and share!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Thank you, Erica! I'm glad you enjoyed it! What a generous person you are to convert to your husband's religion! You are probably right, you won't be needing too much Hebrew.

SaffronBlossom from Dallas, Texas on February 18, 2013:

Awesome hub! I learned a lot from it. My husband is Jewish and I plan on converting before we have children...I probably won't be learning too much Hebrew but this hub made me more interested in it. :)

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Eddy, thank you, thank you and thank you! Have a great Monday! Love your new page, btw!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Thank you, Stephanie! :)

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Ah, KJ! Music to my ears! I live in Arizona now and many of the people here still think I have horns! You have a great day, too! L'Chaim!

kjforce from Florida on February 18, 2013:

btrbell.. Thank you for writing this hub...so many times when other hubbers ask me about my writes..I have to explain when I say I have " chutzpah "..and it is my middle name...have a great day and L'Chaim....

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Thank you, Mary! I am surprised they didn't let you stay. In essence, most of us have similar belief systems and faith. When I was a kid, the Baptist Bible School would come in a bus and pick kids up to go to Sunday School. They always invited me and I wanted to go but my parents wouldn't let me. Not because it was Baptist but because they didn't want me going off in a bus with strangers! I appreciate the votes!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Thank you, Carol! Your niece will love it! Thamk you so much for your compliments, votes , shares and pin! Your opinion means a lot to me! :)

Eiddwen from Wales on February 18, 2013:

Wow Randi,unique and brilliant and I am sharing onto my new FB page 'A Brand New Heart.'

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on February 18, 2013:

I like your list of words and pronounciations. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Craig from New York on February 18, 2013:

This was so interesting. When I was a little girl I used to go to Hebrew classes with a friend but when they found out I wasn't Jewish I had to wait outside! We share so much in our faith having all started in the same place and so much carries over. This was an interesting topic to choose and your background did it justice for sure.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

carol stanley from Arizona on February 18, 2013:

I am so glad you wrote this..Now when I talk with my niece in Isreal I will surprise her with what I have learned. I know you learned the language after living there for so many years. As always you did a super job ..you are getting to be a better writer everyday. Voting across the board, sharing and pinning..

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 18, 2013:

Truly Martin, I don't think I could do it now if I had to. That was almost 20 years ago!

Thank you for always being here when I post a hub. I appreciate your input and value your opinion!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on February 17, 2013:

Thank you for this.Love you and this concept, but it might be a little late for me.

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 17, 2013:

Thank you Nellieanna for sharing your experience. Yes, I always thought American, Jewish weddings were pretty amazing, then I moved to Israel....wow! It's nice to see you here!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on February 17, 2013:

This one bears saving to savor and peruse! I love the sound of Hebrew, though my knowledge of and exposure to it is slight. I was a Bridal Consultant at Sakowitz in Houston in 1953 following my graduation from college; and in the course of my work, I 'serviced' wedding of all varieties, but my favorites were the Jewish ones! They were the real celebrations and I was always invited to participate in the receptions - wow! What parties!

Thank you for this lovely presentation!!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on February 17, 2013:

Thank you, Faith Reaper! Your anecdote about church just reminded me, I forgot an all important word....Amen! I so appreciate all your comments, votes, and shares! They mean the world to me!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 17, 2013:

Wow, Randi, this is a very interesting hub here. I always love it when in church, just like this morning, the pastor will quote scripture, and then go back and tell us the meaning of the everyday word in Hebrew. I am always amazed at the deeper more profound meaning that just makes the scripture so much more meaningful to me.

Voted up ++++ and sharing (well dear, the sharing buttons are not coming up at the moment, but I will come back to share for sure!)

God bless, Faith Reaper