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Apr 30, 2010

to "make" a decision in Hebrew: http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

לקבל החלטה

In English we talk about making a decision.

In Hebrew, we talk about receiving or taking on a decision.

The word for to receive is לְקַבֵּל (leh-kah-BEHL). The word for decision is הַחְלָטָה (hakh-lah-TAH); and to decide is לְהַחְלִיט (leh-hahkh-LEET).

So I could say that I made a decision to eat yogurt every day - קִבַּלְתִּי הַחְלָטָה לֶאֱכוֹל יוֹגוּרְטְ כָּל יוֹם (kee-BAHL-tee hahkh-lah-TAH leh-eh-KHOHL YOH-goort kohl yohm). Alternatively... קיבלתי החלטה לַעֲשׂוֹת קוּרְסְ בְּאֻלְפָּן לָעִנְיָן (lah-ah-SOHT koors beh-ool-PAHN lah-een-YAHN) - I made a decision to take (literally, "do") a course with Ulpan La-Inyan.


שבת שלום לכולם!!! Shabbat Shalom to all!!! (leh-koo-LAHM)

...and happy Lag BaOmer.

Apr 28, 2010

how do you say "niece" and "nephew" in Hebrew? http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

אחיין, אחיינית

Brother is אָח (ahkh); sister is אָחוֹת (ah-KHOHT). I would rate these as Level 2 words for Ulpan La-Inyan.

Nephew is אַחְיָן (ahkh-YAHN), and niece is אַחְיָנִית (ahkh-yah-NEET). These are more likely to be encountered in a Level 3 or Level 4 discussion.

For example, I would say, יֵשׁ לִי אחיינית חֲדָשָׁה (yesh lee ahkh-yah-NEET hah-dah-SHAH) - I have a new niece.

taking requests

I'm now taking requests for Ktzat Ivrit content - so if you'd like to learn a particular word or phrase or see one featured, let me know by following the "comments - I'm taking requests!" link below.

extended family members in Hebrew, explained - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

דודים, סבים

The Hebrew word for uncle is דּוֹד (dohd); the word for aunt is דּוֹדָה (doh-DAH - more commonly pronounced DOH-dah).

Why? Because the word דוד itself means dear one - aunts and uncles are people close or dear to a child (i.e. close enough for love and gifst but usually distant enough so the kids don't get disciplined by them).

The word for grandmother is סָבָה (sah-VAH), but the far more common word is סַבְתָּא (SAHV-tah). Likewise, סָב (sahv) is the proper word for grandfather, but סַבָּא (SAH-bah) is much more commonly used, as in, סַבָּא שֶׁלִּי אָמַר לִי לָרוּץ כָּל יוֹם (SAH-bah sheh-LEE ah-MAHR lee lah-ROOTS kohl yohm) - my grandfather told me to run every day.

Why these words today? Well, today I'm a דוד (sounds much better than uncle to my ears), my sister is a דודה, and my parents are סַבִים (sah-VEEM).

That means my brother is an אַבָּא (AH-bah - father) and my sister in law is an אִמָּא (EE-mah).

מָזָל טוֹב! Mazal tov! to the happy parents, grandparents, the whole extended family... and to the דודים!

Apr 26, 2010

fine dining - in Hebrew: http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

לסעוד

If you know a bit of Hebrew, you probably know the word for restaurant - מִסְעָדָה (mees-ah-DAH).

The root of that word is ס.ע.ד (s.a.d.), whose core meaning is satiation.

The common word for to eat is לֶאֱכוֹל (le-eh-KHOL), but just like English has a finer word, to dine, Hebrew has לִסְעוֹד (lees-OHD).

attachment is everything - in Hebrew? http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

התקשרות

Before I started teaching Hebrew with Ulpan La-Inyan, I was practicing psychotherapy. I did a Masters at Pepperdine University in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy.

One of the topics I got to explore a bit during the degree, but more so in a subsequent AEDP immersion course in Boston with a truly wonderful woman named Diana Fosha, was attachment theory.

Following that experience, as well as my involvement in a great organization that promotes relational health in the Jewish community, The Call of the Shofar, I have come to believe that attachment motivates virtually all human behavior. Everything we do stems either from the desire to love or the desire to be loved - and when we do damaging things, it's really our expressing frustration with not having gotten our core need met for secure attachment.

The Hebrew word for attachment is הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת (heet-kahsh-ROOT). The word comes from the three-letter root for connection - ק.ש.ר (k.sh.r.)

Techilo Abie - a friend of mine and the man who is translating Ulpan La-Inyan so that it can be taught to Ethiopian Jews - sent me the presentation that appears on the blog right under this entry. Use the arrows to move between slides... and if you can read Hebrew, take some time to follow the subtitles. They're powerful.

Apr 25, 2010

keeping busy... to employ... in Hebrew - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

מעסיק

Perhaps you know the Hebrew word for a business - עֶסֶק (EH-sehk).

If I were to state that he's busy, I'd say, הוּא עָסוּק (hoo ah-SOOK); I were to say that a woman is busy, it would be, הִיא עֲסוּקָה (hee ah-soo-KAH).

However, if I wanted to say, he's preoccupied with something, I'd say, מָשֶׁהוּ מַעֲסִיק אוֹתו (MAH-sheh-hoo mah-ah-SEEK oh-TOH) - literally, something is keeping him busy. Listen and repeat.

It's the same word for to employ and an employer - for example, אֲנִי רוֹצֶה לְהַעֲסִיק מִישֶׁהו (ah-NEE roh-TSEH le-hah-ah-SEEK MEE-sheh-hoo) - I want to employ someone.

The truth is I do - on a substitute-teacher level. My teacher for my new Tel Aviv classes is stranded in England until Thursday.

If you know someone with a free morning, fluency in two languages (Hebrew and English) under their belt, a laptop and a great smile, send them my way!

שָׁבוּעַ טוֹב (shah-VOO-ah tohv) - good week!

Apr 22, 2010

how do you say "I get it" in Hebrew? http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

ק.ל.ט.

Perhaps you're familiar with the term מֶרְכַּז קְלִיטָה (mehr-KAHZ klee-TAH) - absorption center. Perhaps you've lived in one.

The word קליטה comes from the root לִקְלוֹט, which means to absorb. The word is used in colloquial Hebrew to mean to get it, as in "Ah, now I get it!" - אָה, עַכְשָׁיו אֲנִי קוֹלֵט! (ah, ahkh-SHAHV ah-NEE koh-LET!).

Likewise, לְהִקָּלֵט (le-hee-kah-LET) is to be absorbed, as an immigrant needs to be absorbed by the host society.

The Ethiopian Jews have had perhaps the most difficult קליטה among the various groups of Jews from around the world.

Ehud Banai composed a song about some of the challenges they face, called עֲבוֹדָה שְׁחוֹרָה (video below, or here).

Don't be fooled by the quiet of the audience - that's just their culture - the most patient, down-to-earth people I've ever met.

In the video, listen for the words מרכז קליטה, לקטלות and להיקלט... and repeat.


Apr 21, 2010

Hebrew for income (tax) - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com


מס הכנסה

The great American institution, the IRS, has an Israeli equivalent. It's called מַס הַכְנָסָה (mahs hakh-nah-SAH) - literally, income tax.

לְהַכְנִיס (le-hakh-NEES) is to insert or to cause to come in - so its noun form is הכנסה - income.

מַס is a Biblical Hebrew word that means something to the effect of forced labor force (not too far away from slavery).

There are those who see the institution of מס הכנסה as a slavery of sorts - !אַל תִּסְתַּבֵּך עִם מַס הַכְנָסָה (ahl tees-tah-BEKH eem mahs hakh-nah-SAH!)
don't get mixed up with מס הכנסה! Listen and repeat.

My experience with them, however, has been quite positive. I have found them - at least when dealing with my case - to be forthcoming, offering a high standard of customer service. I'm also proud to be paying taxes in the Jewish State, regardless of the politics that direct the money.

barbecuing... in Hebrew - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

על האש

A מַנְגָּל (MAHN-gahl) is a barbecue... but the word comes from Arabic.

Rather, the proper (well, maybe not really proper) way to say it in Hebrew is עַל הָאֵש (ahl hah-ESH), which means, literally, on the fire.

The really proper way to say it is מַצְלֶה (mahts-LEH), coming from the word לִצְלוֹת (leets-LOHT) - to roast. But I had to look up this word - it's not used much outside of academic circles.

Listen and repeat this important term, as these Israelis perform the Yom Haatzmaut mitzvah of על האש:
(can't see the video?)

video

Apr 19, 2010

how to party... in Hebrew. http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

לחגוג

You probably know the word חַג (hahg) - holiday, in the religious sense.

To celebrate is לַחְגּוֹג (lah-GOHG).

Here's a video שחוגג sixty years of Israel's independence (two years dated). In my mind, it celebrates the diversity of Jews in Israeli society, that, after thousands of years of separation and the widest possible variety of ideologies, are somehow learning to come together... and be strong in the land that G-d has graciously given to us.
(can't see the video?)


חַג הָעַצְמָאוּת שָׂמֵח (hahg hah-ahts-mah-OOT sah-MEH-ah) - happy Yom Haatzmaut!



Apr 18, 2010

independence... in Hebrew - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

עצמאות

The Hebrew word עַצְמָאוּת (ahts-mah-OOT) comes from the root ע.צ.מ (a.ts.m.), which carries the basic meaning of essence or that which stands out.

An independent political entity stands out as unique in the world; it waves a flag of its own:

Incidentally, these are the colors on the Ulpan La-Inyan website.


Some other words that carry the same root are בְּעֶצֶם (be-EHT-sehm - actually) and עֶצֶם (EHT-sehm - bone). 

This email is arriving to you before the sharp transition from the mourning of יום הזכרון (yohm hah-zee-kah-ROHN) to the celebration of יום העצמאות... so I won't throw in the fun songs at this point. Instead, you can tune in to my radio show at 3pm on RustyMike.

For now, listen and repeat...

Apr 17, 2010

memories... in honor of Israeli soldiers who fell defending our homeland - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

זיכרון

Tomorrow is יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן (yohm hah-zee-kah-ROHN), Israel's Memorial Day (literally, Day of Remembrance).


In the States, some people have a somber Memorial Day, but the vast majority see it as an excuse for a getaway, a barbecue, or a shopping spree.


Not so in Israel. יום הזיכרון (the root ז.כ.ר., in this context, is the core concept of memory; in other contexts it's the root meaning male) is a day on which the whole country (except protesters of various types) stops and takes the time to remember those who gave their lives so that the Jewish people can have a homeland.


Whereas in the States, most people don't know a soldier personally that gave his/her life, in Israel it's almost every family that has someone.


Here's a clip (can't see it?) of a יום הזיכרון ceremony that took place last year in Shoham, Israel. Almost every Israeli town holds a similar ceremony (טֶקֶס - TEH-kess)... and almost every resident attends. 


If you'd like, you can read the lyrics to the first song presented. If you'd like to translate the song, copy and paste the lyrics into Google Translate


I'll be doing a radio show in honor of יום הזיכרון on Monday at 3pm Israel time on RustyMike Radio.


Apr 16, 2010

as Shabbat draws near... the Hebrew (and Arabic) connection between "west" and "evening" - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

.ע.ר.ב


I'm again in the Ethiopian-Jewish absorption center Beit Alpha, and it's right before Shabbat.

In Hebrew, Sabbath Eve or the day right before the Sabbath, is called עֶרֶב שַׁבָּת (EH-rev shah-BAHT) - the eve of Sabbath.

How do you say west in Hebrew? מַעֲרָב (mah-ah-RAHV). If you look closely, you'll see that it's got the same three-letter root as ערב.


What's the connection?

Think about it - the sun sets in the west - the sun evenings in the west.

Likewise, the sun rises - or, זוֹרַחַת (zoh-RAH-haht) in the east; the word for east is מִזְרַח (meez-RAH).

Now, check out this Hebrew love song called An Evening of Roses by HaParvarim. The lyrics are based loosely on שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים (sheer hah-shee-REEM) - the great biblical multi-meaning love poem, Song of Songs.


Listen to the song, and repeat after the singers as they translate the title for you into Hebrew.


"yom" means more than "day" - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

יום

You probably know that יוֹם (yohm) means day. 

You also probably know that the Book of Genesis (סֵפֶר בְּרֵאשִׁית - SEH-fehr beh-reh-SHEET) presents the story of creation in a six-day sequence - and that this contradicts modern science... at least on an initial reading.

On top of that, the second chapter of Genesis speaks not of six days of creation, but of one day on which the heavens and the earth were created!


What's the story here?

I propose (could be that Gerald Schroeder said it too) that יום doesn't mean only day in the sense that we take it - as a 24-hour cycle. However, יום means period of time. This meaning is attested all over the place in both the Bible and in Modern Hebrew - היום means today, both in the sense of a specific date as well as today in the general sense - פַּעַם, הָיוּ מַנְהִיגִים, אָבָל הַיּוֹם... (PAH-ahm, hah-YOO mahn-hee-gheem, ah-VAHL hah-YOHM...) - once upon a time, there were leaders, but today...

If יום means more than day in the literal sense, then the biblical account of creation becomes more understandable to the reader of היום - today.

Once again, Ehud Banai's היום (written in honor of his wife) - it's a song about ceasing the day.


Enjoy! (and speak out loud the Hebrew words you know)


Apr 14, 2010

"the" in Hebrew and its relationship to the Arab world - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

ה

If you know a bit of Hebrew, you probably know the Hebrew equivalent of the English definite article, the. It's הַ (hah), and at times הָ (also "hah", but pronounced a bit differently by some speakers) or הֶ (heh).

What you may not have noticed is that almost always in the letter following the ה prefix is a dot of emphasis - a דָּגֵש (dah-GESH). Take the word, הַתִּקְוָה (hah-teek-VAH - the hope) for example - look at the dot in the ת. Some speakers will actually accentuate the ת sound.

Why?

Well, once upon a time in pre-Torah Hebrew (think Abraham), the Hebrew definite article likely had a consonant as part of its unit - probably either הַנ (hahn) or הַל (hahl). As Hebrew pronunciation developed, the n or l sound dropped, but was preserved partially by strengthening the pronunciation of the following consonant - which, in writing, is represented by the דגש (dot of emphasis).

The Hebrew letter ה (heh) in four fonts (from right to left):
Modern Hebrew block, Modern Hebrew handwriting,
Torah scroll writing, "Rashi" script


In Arabic, a sister language to Hebrew, this phenomenon is preserved quite well. Take, for example, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, القدس (ahl-KOODS). It means literally, the holy (never mind that Jerusalem is hardly referred to in Muslim holy writings... but politics are politics). The ال (ahl) particle corresponds to the Hebrew הַ (hah).

If you've got what to add to this post... feel free to comment

Apr 13, 2010

change can take place in an instant... what would you call "a change" in Hebrew? The answer: http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

שינוי

Aside from being the name of a short-lived left-of-center Israeli political party, the word שִׁנּוּי (shee-NOO-ee) means a change.

Sometimes it takes a long time for a שינוי to appear. However, sometimes, שינוי takes place in an instant.

Where in English you might say, it's warm today, for a change, in Hebrew you'd say, חָם הַיּוֹם לְשֵׁם שׁינוי (hahm ha-YOHM le-SHEM shee-NOO-ee).

The verb is לְשַׁנּוֹת (le-shah-NOHT), such as in the song, אֲנִי וְאֲתָּה נְשַׁנֶּה אֶת הָעוֹלָם (ah-NEE ve-ah-TAH ne-shah-NEH et ha-oh-LAHM) - you and I will change the world, by Arik Einstein (in 1971). Be sure to sing along with the chorus.


apathy - what's the Hebrew word? http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

אדישות

Apathy can be dangerous, especially regarding things like the Holocaust and people like Gilad Shalit (גִּלְעַד שָׁלִיט). Apathy tends to go against the basic human need/function of love.

The Hebrew word for apathy is אֲדִישׁוּת (ah-dee-SHOOT). You might describe a man as אָדִיש (ah-DEESH) or a woman as אֲדִישָׁה (ah-dee-SHAH).

See if you can get the gist of what Gilad is saying in this video, with a cover of Shlomo Artzi's song, אֲנַחְנוּ לֹא צְרִיכִים (ah-NAKH-noo loh tsree-KHEEM - we don't need):
(can't see the video?)




Apr 12, 2010

for Holocaust Day - "pain" - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

כאב

In Level 1 of Ulpan La-Inyan we teach the verb, it hurts (זֶה כּוֹאֵב - zeh koh-EHV). 

The word for ache or pain is כְּאֵב (keh-EHV).

Holocaust Day (today), or יוֹם הַשּׁוֹאָה (yohm hah-shoh-AH) in Hebrew (means literally, the day of the disaster or conflagration), is a יוֹם כְּאֵב לְאוּמִי (yohm keh-EHV le-oo-MEE) - a national day of pain.


I walked in the streets of Jerusalem tonight, noting that the restaurants were closing in homage to this day of כאב לאומי, and I began to feel it myself.


My thought now go to my dear grandmother, who survived Auschwitz but lost her parents and four brothers and sisters there. I don't know how she bears the pain.

Here's Oyf Pripetshok (I can't spell in actual Yiddish), a song played in Schindler's List, a song I found quite moving, even agonizing. Here are the lyrics, and the video follows.


I'll be playing songs like these as well as Israeli ones, with explanations, on my radio show today on RustyMike. Tune in at 3pm Israel time.



Apr 11, 2010

putting it all together... in Hebrew: http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

שילוב

The fourth principle of Pimsleur's method (on which Ulpan La-Inyan is based) is that of organic learning. That is, students learn to speak accurately while understanding the grammar principles intuitively, without the need for boring charts and tons of homework (though at ulpan.com, we have charts for those who like them). The method integrates the faculties of speech, hearing and others - in an organic, fun way.

To integrate, in Hebrew, is לְשַׁלֵּב (le-shah-LEV). Pimsleur's method מְשַׁלֵּב בְּיַחַד כַּמָה דַּרְכֵי לְמִידָה(me-shah-LEV be-YAH-khahd KAH-mah dahr-KHAY le-mee-DAH) - it integrates together several ways of learning.

An integration, or a combination, is a שִׁלּוּב (shee-LOOV). For example, חוּמוּס עִם טְחִינָה זֶה שילוב טוֹב (HOO-moos eem te-HEE-nah zeh shee-LOOV tohv) - Humus and Tehina, that's a good combination.


Listen and repeat.

Here's a cute music video about Israel's national snack, the falafel (which usually combines Humus and Tehina:


Apr 9, 2010

one of the secrets of the Pimsleur method's success - the principle of anticipation. In Hebrew? http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

ציפייה

If you've been to Jerusalem, you're bound to have heard of הַר הַצּוֹפִים (hahr hah-tsoh-FEEM), or Mount Scopus. Why Scopus? Because צופים are people who scout out vistas, looking out for visitors... or predators. 

The Hebrew root צ.פ.ה. (ts.p.h.) carries the core meaning of looking out. So לִצְפּוֹת, a simple verb, is to look out.

The active-intensive version of this root (for those who know Hebrew grammar, the פִּעֵל) is לְצַפּוֹת (le-tsah-POHT), which means, to expect or to anticipate. It's an intensive version of looking out at something. For example, when I ask my friend יְהוּדָה (yeh-hoo-DAH - Judah) how he's doing, he answers me, מְצַפִּים לִישׁוּעָה (meh-tsah-PEEM lee-shoo-AH) - we're looking forward to (anticipating) salvation.

This teacher appears
to
expect a lot from his students.
(Can you say this in Hebrew?)
What does this have to do with the revolutionary method for language acquisition developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur?

Instead of having foreign-language students repeat a new piece of vocabulary over and over again, Pimsleur would ask them a question that would prompt them to recall the word or phrase. There's an element of suspense, an emotional experience that activates the brain, thus helping the students place the new piece of of their target language deeper into their long-term memory.

This, in Pimsleur-speak, is the principle of anticipation - or פְּרִינְציִפּ הַצִּפִּיָּה (preen-TSEEP hah-tsee-pee-YAH).

Ulpan La-Inyan is built on Pimsleur's method. Come join us at any level of Hebrew.

Jerusalem classes start Sunday (April 11), and Tel Aviv classes start a week from Wednesday (April 21). Both locations are the respective branches of AACI. We've still got a few spots left in each class.

In the meantime, listen and repeat...

Apr 8, 2010

איך אומרים "essential" in Hebrew? the answer: http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

חיוני

Yesterday I wrote about one of the four principles of the Pimsleur method - that it demands of learners לִשְׁלוֹף (leesh-LOHF - to pull out) words that they've learned just when they're about to forget them, thus maximizing long-term memory potential. This is the principal of "graduated-interval recall."



Another one of Pimsleur's principles is that of "core vocabulary" - that is, we (Pimsleur aficionados, such as the teachers at Ulpan La-Inyan) start off assisting students to learn the most essential words, phrases and structures necessary for basic communication. Thus students leave the classroom on Day One of Level 1 with something useful to say... and on Day 30 with a smile as they give Israelis directions and invite their Israeli friends to dinner - all in Hebrew.

Essential words would be called, in Hebrew, מִלִּים חִיּוּנִיּוֹת (mee-LEEM khee-yoo-nee-YOT). One essential word would be מִלָּה חִיּוּנִית (mee-LAH khee-yoo-NEET).

I challenge you to use this word, חיוני/ת/ות, twice today.

In the meantime, practice...

Apr 7, 2010

how do you say, in Hebrew, "to pull something out of a hat/ to draw a weapon?" http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

לשלוף

One of my favorite Hebrew verbs is לִשְׁלוֹף (leesh-LOHF) - to draw, as in, to draw a sword. That's the meaning found in the Bible.

But I can also pull a rabbit out of a hat... or a word from my memory - אֲנִי שׁוֹלֵף אֶת הַמִּלָּה מֵהַזִּכָּרוֹן (ah-NEE shoh-LEFF et hah-mee-LAH meh-hah-zee-kah-ROHN). 

Ulpan La-Inyan, built on the shoulders of the Pimsleur language learning system, has students learn to pronounce new words... and then recall them - לִשְׁלוֹף אוֹתָם (leesh-LOHF oh-TAHM), just when they're about to forget them. This allows the students to place these new pieces of Hebrew vocabulary firmly in their long-term memory.

This allows Ulpan La-Inyan students not only to speak Hebrew, but also to feel good about themselves when they do so. Kind of like Sarah (except Ulpan La-Inyan students don't have to carry as many materials around with them):




Apr 6, 2010

להירשם - Hebrew for "on the books" (registration!) - http://ktzat-ivrit.ulpan.com

להירשם

On the occasion of the upcoming session of Ulpan La-Inyan (in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv!!!!), today's dose of Hebrew is לְהֵרָשֵׁם (le-heh-rah-SHEM) - to register

For example, you might say something like אֲנִי כָּל כַּךְ רוֹצֶה/רוֹצָה להירשם לַקּוּרְס שֶׁל אוּלְפָּן לָעִנְיָן! (ah-NEE kohl KAHKH roh-TSEH/roh-TSAH le-heh-rah-SHEM lah-KOORSS shel ool-PAH lah-een-YAHN) - I (masculine/feminine) so want to register an Ulpan La-Inyan course! (literally, "the course of Ulpan La-Inyan).