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Hebrew phrasebook

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Modern Hebrew is spoken as a daily language in Israel and in parts of the Palestinian Territories. Biblical Hebrew is used as a religious language by Jews worldwide. It is written with a different alphabet than European languages, and is written from right to left.


Pronunciation guide

The Hebrew alphabet consists entirely of consonants, though some can function as vowels. Vowels are indicated with a system of dots and dashes next to the letters, but these are usually omitted except in Bibles and children's books. It is common for words, especially foreign words, to be spelled in more than one way; the Abu'l`afia Synagogue has five different spellings of its name on its signs.

The accent is usually on the last syllable; most of the exceptions are segolates (words in which segol, the e-sound, was inserted after the accent), such as elef "thousand". Some words have a diphthong "ua" or "ia" which is one syllable but sounds like two, like English "oil". This is called pattaḥ g'nuva "stolen a-sound" and occurs in shavu`a "week", which is accented on the "u".

Six letters (בגדכפת) are pronounced differently when they have a dot, or daghesh in them. In conversational Hebrew, only three (בכפ) are pronounced differently when they contain a daghesh.

Five letters (מנצפכ) have a different form at the end of a word (םןץףך, respectively). These are named by adding סופית (so-FEET) "final" to the name of the letter, e.g. נון סופית (Noon So-feet)

The letter shin is pronounced differently according to the position of the dot over it.


א aleph 
glottal stop or silent ('sometimes used as the letter a when rendering English in Hebrew')
ב בּ bet, vet 
with a dot like bear; without a dot like maven
ג גּ gimel, ghimel 
like gone; some dialects pronounce without a dot similar to French quatre or and Arabic غ
ד דּ dalet, dhalet 
like dude; some dialects pronounce without a dot similar to 'bathe
ה he 
like harp; silent at the end of a word, unless it has a dot in it
ו vav 
like violin; some dialects pronounce as week; also or or tune when used as a vowel
ז zayin 
like zany
ח ḥet 
aspirated h as in the Arabic ح; some pronounce it as the Scottish loch
ט ṭet 
hard t like tuck
י yud 
like yet; also say or honey when used as a vowel
כ כּ ך kaf, khaf 
with a dot like keep; without a dot like the Scottish loch
ל lamed 
like leave
מ ם mem 
like mother
נ ן nun 
like never
ס samekh 
like some
ע `ayin 
constriction of the throat as in the Arabic ع; similar to Cockney pronunciation of water
פ פּ ף peh, pheh 
with a dot like upon; without a dot elf
צ ץ ṣadi 
hard s as in the Arabic ص; some pronounce it simply as boots
ק qof 
as in the Arabic ق, similar to kite, but from the part of the throat where one would pronounce g; some pronounce it as simply as book
ר resh 
rolled as in Spanish burro
שׁ שׂ sin, shin 
with a right-hand dot like shoot, or with a left-hand dot like seem
ת תּ tav, thav 
softer t like bat; some dialects pronounce without a dot as glass or teeth

Phrase list

Hebrew verbs conjugate according to the gender of the sentence's subject: different verb forms must thus be used when referring to men and women. These have been noted below when appropriate.

Basics

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 


Hello. (Peace) 
שלום. (shalom - shah-LOHM)
The Hebrew greeting, literally "peace." The English "Hi" is also used.
Bye. (Peace) 
שלום. (shalom - shah-LOHM)
Yes, the greeting is the same for the start and end of conversation. See also "See you later".
See you later. 
להתראות. (lehitra'ot - leh-hit-rah-'OHT)
The most common farewell greeting, besides the English "Bye". Again, the English "Bye" is also used.
Good morning. 
בוקר טוב (boker tov - BOH-ker TOHV)
Good afternoon. 
צהריים טובים (tsohorayim tovim - tsoh-hoh-RAH-yeem toh-VEEM) (literally: "good noon", afternoon is אחר-צהריים - ahar tsohorayim tovim - aKHAR tsoh-hoh-RAH-yeem toh-VEEM)
Good evening. 
ערב טוב (erev tov - EH-rev TOHV)
Good night. 
לילה טוב (laylah tov - LIGH-lah TOHV)
How are you? (What's your wellbeing/peace?)- addressing to a man. 
‫מה שלומך?‬ (mah shlomkha? - mah shlom-KHAH)
How are you? (What's your wellbeing/peace?)- addressing to a woman. 
‫מה שלומך?‬ (mah shlomekh? - mah shloh-MEKH)
How are you? (What's being heard?). 
‫מה נשמע?‬ (mah nishma? - mah nish-MAH)
What's up? (What's happening?).  
 ?מה קורה (mah kore? - mah kor-EH)
Thank you. 
תודה (todah - toh-DAH)
Please/ You're welcome. 
בבקשה (bevakashah - be-vah-kuh-SHAH)
Excuse me. 
סליחה (slihah - slee-KHAH)
I don't understand. (said by a man). 
אני לא מבין (ani lo mevin - ahni loh meh-VEEN)
I don't understand. (said by a woman). 
אני לא מבינה (ani lo mevinah - ahni loh meh-VEENA)
What is your name? (said to a man). 
?מה שמך (ma shimcha)
What is your name? (said to a woman). 
?מה שמך (ma shmech)
My name is... 
שמי ("shmi")

Pronouns (כינויי גוף kinuye guf)

אני (ani - ah-NEE)
You (singular, masc.) 
אתה (atah - ah-TAH)
You (singular, fem.) 
את (at - aht)
He 
הוא (hu - hoo)
She 
היא (hi - hee)
We 
אנחנו (anahnu - ah-NAKH-noo)
You (plural, masc.) 
אתם (atem - ah-TEM)
You (plural, fem.) 
אתן (aten - ah-TEN)
They (plural, masc.) 
הם (hem - hem)
They (plural, fem.) 
הן (hen - hen)

Asking Questions (שאלות she'elot)

Who? 
‫מי?‬ (mi? - mee)
What? 
‫מה?‬ (mah? - mah)
Where is ...? 
‫איפה?‬ (eyfoh? - EY-foh)
Where to? 
‫לאן?‬ (le'an? - leh-AH-n)
Where from? 
‫מאיפה\מאין?‬ (me'eifoh?/me'ayn? - meh-EY-foh/meh-Ah-een)
When? 
‫מתי?‬ (matai? - mah-TIGH)
Why? 
‫למה?‬ (lamah? - LAH-mah), ‫מדוע?‬ (madua'? - mah-DOOah)
How much? (also "how many") 
‫כמה?‬ (kamah? - KAH-mah)
Where are you from?
When speaking to a male: ‫מאיפה אתה?‬ (me'eifoh atah? - meh-EY-foh ah-TAH)
When speaking to a female: ‫מאיפה את?‬ (me'eifoh at? - meh-EY-foh aht)
Do you speak English?
When speaking to a male: ‫אתה מדבר אנגלית?‬ (atah medaber anglit? - ah-TAH meh-dah-BEHR ahn-GLEET?)
When speaking to a female: ‫את מדברת אנגלית?‬ (at medaberet anglit? - aht meh-dah-BEH-ret ahn-GLEET?)

Numbers (מספרים misparim)

אפס (efes - EH-fess)
אחת (ahat - ah-KHAT)
שתיים (shtayim - SHTAH-yeem)
שלש (shalosh - shah-LOSH)
ארבע (arba' - AHR-bah)
חמש (hamesh - khah-MESH)
שש (shesh - shesh)
שבע (sheva' - SHEH-vah)
שמונה (shmoneh - shmo-NEH)
תשע (tesha' - TEY-shah)
10 
עשר ('eser - EH-sehr)
11 
אחת עשרה (ahat-'esreh - ah-khat es-REH)
12 
שתים עשרה (shtem-'esreh - shtem es-REH)
13 
שלוש עשרה (shlosh-'esreh - shlosh es-REH)
14 
ארבע עשרה (arba'-'esreh - ar-bah es-REH)
15 
חמש עשרה (hamesh-'esreh - kha-mesh es-REH)
16 
שש עשרה (shesh-'esreh - shesh es-REH)
17 
שבע עשרה (shva'-'esreh - shva es-REH)
18 
שמונה עשרה (shmonah-'esreh - shmo-nah es-REH)
19 
תשע עשרה (tshah-'esreh - tshah es-REH)
20 
עשרים ('esrim - es-REEM)
25 
עשרים וחמש ('esrim vehamesh - es-REEM ve-khah-MESH)
30 
שלשים (shloshim - shlo-SHEEM)
40 
ארבעים (arba'im - ar-bah-EEM)
50 
חמשים (hamishim - khah-mee-SHEEM)
60 
ששים (shishim - shee-SHEEM)
70 
שבעים (shiv'im - shiv-EEM)
80 
שמונים (shmonim - shmo-NEEM)
90 
תשעים (tish'im - tish-EEM)
100 
מאה (me'ah - MEH-'ah)
200 
מאתיים (matayim - m'ah-TAH-yeem)
300 
שלש מאות (shlosh-me'ot - sh-LOSH meh-'OHT)
1000 
אלף (elef - EH-lef)
1% 
אחוז (ahuz - ah-KHOOZ ah-KHAD)
5% 
חמישה אחוזים (hamishah ahuzim - kha-misha ah-KHOOZIM)
100% 
מאה אחוז (me'ah ahuz - MEH-'ah ah-KHOOZ)
Half 
חצי (hetsi - KHE-tsee)
Quarter 
רבע (reva' - REH-vah)
More 
יותר (yoter - yoh-TEHR)
Less 
פחות (pahot - pah-KHOHT)

Time (זמן zman)

Today 
היום (hayom - hah-YOHM)
Yesterday 
אתמול (etmol - et-MOHL)
Tomorrow 
מחר (mahar - mah-KHAHR)
The day before yesterday 
שלשום (shilshom - shil-SHOHM)
The day after tomorrow 
מחרתיים (mahratayim - makh-rah-TAH-yeem)


Days of the week (ימי השבוע yame hashavua')

Except for Shabbat, these are ordinal numbers. But both these and the names of the first 6 letters in the Hebrew Alfa-Beit are used.

Sunday 
יום ראשון (yom rishon - yohm ree-SHOHN)
Monday 
יום שני (yom sheni - yohm shey-NEE)
Tuesday 
יום שלישי (yom shlishi - yohm shlee-SHEE)
Wednesday 
יום רביעי (yom revi'i - yohm rvee-EE)
Thursday 
יום חמישי (yom hamishi - yohm khah-mee-SHEE)
Friday 
יום ששי (yom shishi - yohm shee-SHEE)
Saturday 
שבת (shabat - shah-BAHT)

Months (חודשים hodashim)

In everyday life, most Israelis use the Gregorian Calendar. The month names pronunciation resembles Central-European (e.g. German) pronunciation.

January 
ינואר ("Yanuar")
February 
פברואר ("Februar")
March 
מרץ ("Merts")
April 
אפריל ("April")
May 
מאי ("May - Mah-ee)
June 
יוני ("Yuni - Yuh-nee")
July 
יולי ("Yuli - Yuh-lee")
August 
אוגוסט ("Ogust - O-guh-st")
September 
ספטמבר ("September")
October 
אוקטובר ("October")
November 
נובמבר ("November")
December 
דצמבר ("Detsember")

For holidays and events, Israeli Jews and Jews worldwide use a lunisolar calendar, in which the month begins at the new moon and a thirteenth month is added every few years. The months with Tishrei (Sept.-Oct.) and run through Elul (August-September); thus Elul 5760 is followed by Tishrei 5761. Besides meaning "spring" and "Nisan", "Aviv" is also the name of a stage that the growth of barley reaches at that time.

Tishrei 
תשרי (tishrey - tish-REY)
Heshvan 
חשון (ḥeshvan - ḥesh-VAN)
Kislev 
כסלו (kislev - kis-LEV)
Tevet 
טבת (tevet - tey-VET)
Shevat 
שבט (shevat - shuh-VAT)
Adar 
אדר (adar - ah-DAR)
Second Adar (the leap month) 
אדר שני (adar sheni - ah-DAR shey-NEE) or אדר ב (adar beth - ah-DAR beth)
Nisan 
ניסן (nisan - nee-SAHN)
Iyar 
אייר (iyar - ee-YAHR)
Sivan 
סיון (sivan - see-VAHN)
Tammuz 
תמוז (tamuz - tah-MOOZ)
Av 
אב (av - ahv)
Elul 
אלול (elul - eh-LOOL)

Duration (משך meshekh)

Day 
יום (yom - yom)
Week 
שבוע (shavua' - shah-VOOah)
Month 
חודש (hodesh - KHO-desh)
Year 
שנה (shanah - shah-NAH)
Hour 
שעה (sha'ah - shah-AH)
Minute 
דקה (daqah - dah-KAH)
Second 
שניה (shniyah - shnee-YAH)
Time 
זמן (zman - zmahn)

Seasons (עונות 'onot)

Spring 
אביב (aviv - ah-VEEV)
Summer 
קיץ (kayits - KAH-yits)
Autumn 
סתיו (stav - stahv)
Winter 
חורף (horef - KHO-ref)
What time is it? 
מה השעה? (mah hasha'ah? - mah hah-shah-AH?)

Colors (צבעים tsva'im)

black 
שחור (shahor - sha-KHOR)
white 
לבן (lavan - la-VAN)
gray 
אפור (afor - a-FOR)
red 
אדום (adom - a-DOM)
blue 
כחול (kahol - ka-KHOL)
yellow 
צהוב (tsahov - tza-HOV)
green 
ירוק (yaroq - ya-ROK)
orange 
כתום (katom - ka-TOM)
purple 
סגול (sagol - sa-GOL)
brown 
חום (hum - khum)

Transportation (תחבורה tahburah)

Bus and train (אוטובוס ורכבת otobus verakevet)

How much is a ticket to _____? 
כמה עולה כרטיס ל (kamah 'ole kartis le___? - KA-ma `oLE karTIS le___?)
One ticket to _____, please. 
כרטיס אחד ל___, בבקשה (kartis ehad le___, bevakashah - karTIS eKHAD le___, bevakaSHA)
Where does this train/bus go? 
 ?לאן הרכבת הזאת נוסעת?/לאן האוטובוס הזה נוסע (le'an harakevet hazot nosa'at?/le'an ha'otobus haze nosea'? - le'anleAN haraKEvet haZOT noSA`at?/leAN haOtobus haZE noSEa?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
 ?___איפה הרכבת ל___?/איפה האוטובוס ל (eifoh harakevet le___?/eifoh ha'otobus le___? - EIfo haraKEvet le___?/EIfo haOtobus le___?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
הרכבת הזאת עוצרת ב___?/האוטובוס הזה עוצר ב(harakevet hazot 'otseret be___?/ha'otobus haze 'otser be___? - haraKEvet haZOT oTZEret be___?/haOtobus haZE oTZER be___?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
מתי יוצאת הרכבת ל___?/מתי יוצא האוטובוס ל (matai yotset harakevet le___?/matai yotse ha'otobus le___? - maTAI yoTZET haraKEvet le___?/maTAI yoTZE haOtobus le___?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
מתי הרכבת הזאת מגיעה ל___?/מתי האוטובוס הזה מגיע ל (matai harakevet hazot magi'ah le___? matai ha'otobus haze magia' le___? - maTAI haraKEvet haZOT magi`A le___?/maTAI haOtobus haZE magi`A le___?)

Directions (כיוונים kivunim)

How do I get to _____ ? 
איך אני מגיע/ה ל (eikh ani magia'/magi'ah le___? - eikh aNI maGI`a/magi`A(f) le___?)
...the train station? 
תחנת הרכבת (...tahanat harakevet? - takhaNAT haraKEvet)
...the bus station? 
תחנת האוטובוס (...tahanat ha'otobus? - takhaNAT haOtobus)
...the airport? 
שדה התעופה (...sde hate'ufah? - sde hateuFA)
...downtown? 
מרכז העיר (...merkaz ha'ir? - merKAZ ha`IR)
...the youth hostel? 
אכסניית נוער (...akhsaniyat no'ar? - akhsaniYAT NO`ar)
...the _____ hotel? 
מלון (...malon ___? - maLON ___?)
...the American/British/French/Chinese/Indian/Russian/Polish consulate? 
הקונסוליה ה אמריקאית/בריטית/צרפתית/סינית/הודית/רוסית/פולנית (konsuliyah ha'amerikait/habritit/hatsarfatit/hasinit/hahodit/harusit/hapolanit? - HaKonSULia ha ahmehriKAHit/BRItit/tsorfaTIT/SInit/HOdit/ruSIT/polaNIT?)
Where are there a lot of... 
איפה יש הרבה (eifoh yesh harbeh... - EIfo yesh harBE...)
...hotels? 
מלונות (...melonot? - meloNOT)
...restaurants? 
מסעדות (...mis'adot? - mis`aDOT)
...bars? 
ברים (...barim? - BArim)
...things to see? 
דברים לראות (...dvarim lir'ot? - dvaRIM lirOT)
Can you show me on the map? 
אפשר להראות לי במפה (efshar lehar'ot li bamapah? - efSHAR leharOT li bamaPA)
street 
רחוב (rehov - reKHOV)
Go left. 
לך שמאלה (lekh smolah - lekh SMOla)
GO right. 
לך ימינה (lekh yeminah - lekh yaMIna)
left 
שמאל (smol - smol)
right 
ימין (yamin - yaMIN)
straight ahead 
ישר (yashar - yaSHAR)
towards the _____ 
לכיוון (lekivun ___ - lekiVUN)
past the _____ 
אחרי ה (ahrey ha___ - akhaREY)
before the _____ 
לפני ה (lifney ha___ - lifNEY)
Watch for the _____. 
חפש את ה (hapes et ha___ - khaPES et ha___)
intersection 
צומת (tsomet - TZOmet)
north 
צפון (tsafon - tzaFON)
south 
דרום (darom - daROM)
east 
מזרח (mizrah - mizRAKH)
west 
מערב (ma'arav - ma`aRAV)
uphill 
במעלה ההר (b`ma`aleh ha`har - b`ma`aLEH ha`HAR)
downhill 
במורד ההר (b`morad ha`har - b`moRAD ha`HAR)

Taxi (מונית monit)

Taxi! 
מונית (monit! - moNIT!)
Take me to _____, please. 
קח אותי ל____, בבקשה (qah oti le___, bevakashah - kakh oTI le___, bevakaSHA)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
כמה זה עולה עד ל (kamah ze 'oleh li 'ad le___? - KAma ze `oLE `ad le___)
Take me there, please. 
קח אותי לשם בבקשה (qah oti lesham, bevakashah - kakh oTI leSHAM, bevakaSHA)
Could you use a counter/taximeter, please? 
תוכל להשתמש במונה בבקשה? (tukhal lehishtamesh bemoneh bevakasha? - tuKHAL le-hish-ta-MESH be-moNEH be-va-ka-SHA?). A counter/taximeter (מונה - moneh) gives the price based on certain factors such as travel time and distance (plus initial price), rather than a fixed overprice. Luggage costs extra in either case.

Eating

In Israel, many restaurants and eating places are kosher meaning that they observe the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut. For a restaurant to be officially kosher and have a Kosher Certificate, in addition to serving only correctly prepared kosher food, it must also not open on the Shabbat - from sundown on Friday through sundown on Saturday.

In many places in Israel such as Tel Aviv, there are non-kosher restaurants that will open on Shabbat and will serve non-kosher food (e.g. the restaurant serves both meat and milk dishes). Comparatively few places serve non-kosher food items like pork.

In some religious villages and small towns there are very few if any places that open on Shabbat.

A table for one person/two people, please. 
בבקשה, שולחן לאחד /לשניים (b'vakaSHA, shulKHAN l'ekhAD/ lishnAIYM)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
אפשר תפריט בבקשה (Efshar tafrit, b'vakasha?)
I'm a vegetarian. 
אני צמחוני /אני צמחונית (Ani tzimkhoni (masc)/ Ani tzimkhonit (fem))
I don't eat beef. 
אני לא אוכל/ אני לא אוכלת בקר (Ani lo okhel bakar (masc)/ Ani lo okhelet bakar(fem))
I only eat kosher food. 
אני אוכל /אוכלת רק אוכל כשר (Ani okhel (masc)/okhelet (fem) raq okhel kasher)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
אפשר עם פחות שמן בבקשה (Efshar im pakhot shemen bevakashah)
breakfast 
ארוחת בוקר (Arukhat boqer)
lunch 
ארוחת צהריים (Arukhat tzohorayim)
supper 
ארוחת ערב (Arukhat erev)
I want _____. 
אני רוצה _____. (Ani rotzeh (masc); Ani rotzah (fem))
I would like to eat _____. 
אני רוצה לאכול _____. (Ani rotzeh/ rotzah le'ekhol)
chicken 
עוף (Off)
beef 
בקר (Baqar)
fish 
דג (Dag)
cheese 
גבינה (Gvinah)
eggs 
ביצה (Beitzah)
salad 
סלט (Salat)
(fresh) vegetables 
ירקות (Y'raqot)
(fresh) fruit 
פירות (Peirot)
bread 
לחם (Lekhem)
toast 
טוסט (Tost)
noodles 
נודלז (Nudelz)
pasta 
פסטה (Pastah)
rice 
אורז (Orez)
chickpeas
חומוס (Khumus)
hummus: חומוס (Khumus)
May I have a glass of _____? 
אפשר כוס (Efshar qos)
May I have a cup of _____? 
אפשר כוס (Efshar qos)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
אפשר בקבוק (Efshar baqbuq)
...coffee 
...קפה (Kafeh)
...tea (drink
תה (Teh)
...juice 
...מיץ (Mitz)
...(bubbly) water 
...סודה (Sodah)
...water 
...מים (Mayim)
...beer 
...בירה (Birah)
...red/white wine 
...יין אדום. יין לבן (Yain adom / Yain lavan)
May I have some _____? 
אפשר (Efshar)
salt 
מלח (Melakh)
black pepper 
פלפל שחור (Pilpel shakhor)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
סליחה (Slikhah)
I'm finished. 
סיימתי (Siamti)
It was delicious. 
היה מצוין (Hayah metzuyan)
Please clear the plates. 
אפשר לפנות (Efshar l'fanot)
The check, please. 
אפשר חשבון, בבקשה (Efshar kheshbon, b'vakasha)
Where is the bathroom ? 
איפה השירותים ? (Eifo Hasherutim?)
This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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