Welcome to the fifth basic lesson of Hebrew! In this lesson we're going to learn journey-related vocabulary and how to conjugate qal verbs in the present tense.
Sarah and David now both have ended their visit in Tel Aviv. They bid each other farewell.
שרה: היי! אני נוֹסַעַת לירושלים.
דוד: באמת? אני נוֹסֵעַ במָטוֹס לניו-יורק.
שרה: אני נוֹסַעַת ברַכֶּבֶת.
דוד: טוב... שלום, שרה.
If we want to ask where someone is going, we need to be introduced to a new interrogative pronoun, namely לְאָן (meaning “where to?”). It is composed of the preposition “to” and a question word obsolete in modern Hebrew meaning “where”.
When we want to add a preposition to an interrogative pronoun in Hebrew, we simply attach the preposition directly to the question word: “from where
do you come?” (remember, no auxiliary verb “to do” in Hebrew).
So, how are you going to get there? We add the preposition “in” before any mode of transport (בְּמָטוֹס).
Here are some modes of transport:
|מְכוֹנִית f||°רַכֶּבֶת f||מָטוֹס m||אוֹטוֹבּוּס m||אֳנִיָּה f|
- אוֹטוֹבּוּס is a phonological irregularity, since the accent here falls on the first syllable (ótobus).
- The mode of transportation can be put anywhere in a sentence. The choice of where should you place it depends on what you want to emphasize.
- He comes by train.
- הוא בא ברַכֶּבֶת.
- They (f) come by ship?
- הן באות באֳנִיָּה?
Qal Present Tense
If thus far we have only learned verbs with two radicals in their roots (שׂ-ם), now we shall tackle verbs with 3 radicals, since the overwhelming majority of verbs have them.
Let us take the verb כּוֹתֵב (meaning “to write”, root: כ-ת-ב):
Other verbs that conjugate the same:
When at the end of a root, some consonants change the conjugations of the verbs. These are known as weak radicals, א, ה, ח, י, ע.
When a root ends with ה, the said letter is omitted of all the conjugations except for the singulars. The masculine is regular, and the feminine replaces the ֵ with ָ.
When a root ends with ח or ע, in the masculine singular a ַ is added to the final letter and in the feminine all of the ֶ are replaced with ַ.
Confusing? Here are examples for clarification.
- ר-א-ה (“to see”, ends with ה)
- רוֹאֵה, רוֹאָה, רוֹאִים, רוֹאוֹת
- נ-ס-ע (“to travel, ride”, ends with ע)
- נוֹסֵעַ, נוֹסַעַת, נוֹסְעִים, נוֹסְעוֹת
- פ-ת-ח (“to open”, ends with ח)
- פּוֹתֵחַ, פּוֹתַחַת, פּוֹתְחִים, פּוֹתְחוֹת
- Roots ending with ע or ח form an orthographic irregularity — נוֹסֵעַ and פּוֹתֵחַ are pronounced nosea‘ and poteaħ, respectively.
Transliterate and translate the following Hebrew expressions to English:
Translate the dialogue from the beginning of this lesson.
In this lesson, you have learned:
- How to say and ask where you are going (אני נוֹסֵעַ ל...).
- How to say which mode of transport you are using (באוֹטוֹבּוּס.).
- How to conjugate verbs from binyan qal in the present tense.
- How to conjugate verbs with weak radicals.
Practice what you've learned in the exercises.