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Nov 30, 2010

how to say "presence" in Hebrew...

Remember when in school teachers used to take attendance? Perhaps some of you are still in school having your attendance taken. Perhaps you're a student of Ulpan La-Inyan in one of our client schools and you're having your attendance taken by our very teachers...

In any case, in Israel, one's presence in a class - or his/her attendance record - is called נוֹכְחוּת (noh-kheh-KHOOT). 

Likewise, one can have נוכחות on stage or at an event. For instance, לְבִנְיָמִין נְתַנְיָהוּ יֵשׁ נוֹכְחוּת כְּשֶׁהוּא נוֹאֵם (le-veen-yah-MEEN neh-tahn-YAH-hoo yesh noh-kheh-KHOOT ke-she-HOO noh-EHM) - Benjamin Netanyahu has presence when he speaks (publicly).

The Biblical Hebrew root, נ.כ.ח (, means in front of.

Nov 29, 2010

how to say "lightbulb" in Hebrew...

חֲנֻכָּה (Hannukah) is coming up this week, so we're gearing for the light.

Here's how to say light bulb in Hebrew: נוּרָה (noo-RAH). It's related to the word for candle, נֵר (nehr).

Nov 28, 2010

how to say "a structure" in Hebrew...


If you've spent some time learning Hebrew, you likely know the word for a building - בִּנְיָן (been-YAHN). This is also the word for a Hebrew verb form.

Suppose you want to refer to something that is built but is not a building, per se, such as a storage shed or a compound. You would use the word structure in English. In Hebrew, you'd use מִבְנֶה (meev-NEH).

Nov 26, 2010

how to say "a sampling" in Hebrew...

Yesterday, we had the Hebrew word for a demo - הַדְגָּמָה (hahd-gah-MAH) - because I'm doing a demo of Ulpan La-Inyan in Raanana this Sunday.

To wish you a peaceful, turkey-filled Shabbat (for some of you, at least), I'm going to present a related word: a sampling - דְּגִימָה (de-ghee-MAH). 

For example, אֲנִי אוֹכַל רַק דְּגִימָה שֶׁל פַּשְׁטִידַת הַדְּלַעַת (ah-NEE oh-KHAHL rahk de-ghee-MAH shel pahsh-tee-DAHT hah-DLAH-aht) - I'll have (literally, eat) only a sampling of the pumpkin pie.

Yeah, right.

Shabbat Shalom and good weekend to all. If you're from Raanana or the area, perhaps I'll see you on Sunday!

Nov 25, 2010

how to say "demo" in Hebrew...

On Sunday morning, I'm doing a demo lesson of Ulpan La-Inyan in Raanana at Telfed (if you're thinking of attending, let us know!).

The Hebrew word for demonstration when speaking of demonstrating an item or service is הַדְגָּמָה (hahd-gah-MAH). The root is ד.ג.מ (d.g.m), which is the concept of sampling

So I'm doing a שִעוּר הַדְגָּמָה (shee-OOR hahd-gah-MAH) - a demo lesson.

Don't confuse הדגמה with word for political demonstration - הַפְגָּנָה (hahf-gah-NAH).

Nov 24, 2010

how to say "to polish something off" in Hebrew...

Suppose you've got a tub of חוּמוּס (KHOO-moos) - hummus - in the fridge, and you're having guests over that love to dip into it. You might say, together, we'll polish off this חומוס. In Hebrew, you'd say, בְּיַחַד, נְחַסֵּל אֶת הַחוּמוּס הַזֶּה (be-YAH-khahd, ne-khah-SEHL et hah-KHOO-moos hah-ZEH).

The word for to finish something off (particularly food) or, more formally, to destroy is לְחַסֵּל (le-khah-SEHL). The word is also sometimes used to mean to assassinate.

Public service announcement

This Sunday morning, we're doing an open house/ demo lesson of Ulpan La-Inyan in Raanana. If you're interested check out the details.

Nov 23, 2010

like food? here's how to say "recipe" in Hebrew...

This word is related to the word for a plan or a program we had the other day - תָּכְנִית (tohkh-NEET).

The Hebrew word for recipe is מַתְכּוֹן (maht-KOHN). 

You can listen to and watch the video of a cute song about Israel's national snack right here. And you can find all kinds of מתכונים (maht-koh-NEEM) for Israeli food here.

Nov 22, 2010

how to say "an account", "math" and "the bill" in Hebrew...

It's all the same word. The root is ח.ש.ב (, which means thinking.

So your account at the bank, the study of mathematics and the bill at the restaurant are all חֶשְׁבּוֹן (khesh-BOHN).

Nov 21, 2010

how to say "to chase after a girl" in Hebrew...


In English we used to call this courting. Somehow I think the modern-day rendition - to pursue - sounds less romantic than the contemporary Hebrew - לְחַזֵּר (le-khah-ZEHR). For example, הוּא חִזֵּר אַחֲרֶיה (hoo khee-ZEHR ah-khah-REH-hah) - He courted/pursued her.

You can listen to this word conjugated in context, in Ehud Banai's רוּחוֹת הַצָּפוֹן (roo-KHOHT hah-tsah-FOHN) - "Northern Winds": (click for the YouTube video). Advance the video to about 1:15. The lyrics, in Hebrew, are under the video itself. You can copy and paste them into Google Translate to get them in inaccurate English, but English that gives you the gist of the song nonetheless. 

The song can be found on the album קָרוֹב (kah-ROHV) - "Close By". I'm adding it to the playlist of my show on Wednesday.

The key lines:
אָז הִיא מָצְאָה אָחֵר (ahz hee mahts-AH ah-KHEHR) - so she found someone else
מְסֻדַּר וּמְחַזֵּר (me-soo-DAHR oo-meh-khah-ZEHR) - put-together and (active in) courting (her)

It sounds a lot better in the Hebrew.

Nov 19, 2010

how to say "freeze" in Hebrew...

The Biblical Hebrew root ק.פ.א (k.p.a) is the concept of congealment or thickening, but the root has evolved to the point where today it means frozenness.

Thus a מַקְפִּיא (mahk-PEE) is the Modern Hebrew word for freezer - the place where one places ice cream. To freeze something is לְהַקְפִּיא (le-hahk-PEE). To say, I'm freezing!, you'd say, אֲנִי קוֹפֵא מִקּוֹר (ah-NEE koh-FEH mee-KOHR) if you're a male, and אֲנִי קוֹפֵאת מִקּוֹר (ah-NEE koh-FEHT mee-KOHR) if you're a female. Literally, that's I'm freezing from cold.

The act of freezing something - such as settlement building in Israel's disputed territories - is הַקְפָּאָה.

Whether or not you agree with the הקפאה policy, you may be spending Shabbat in a state of virtual הקפאה - that is, from labor or your day-to-day routine. I will be. If you are, enjoy!

And check out our classes... they start on Sunday, right after the weekly הקפאה (click the image below).

Nov 18, 2010

how to say "plan" or "program" in Hebrew...

The Hebrew word for content is תּוֹכֵן (TOH-khen). Likewise, the word for activated content - or a plan/program - is תָּכְנִית (tohkh-NEET). 

For example, לְבֵית הַסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה יֵשׁ תָּכְנִית לִמּוּדִים מְצוּיֶּנֶת (le-VEHT hah-SEH-fehr hah-ZEH yesh tohkh-NEET lee-moo-DEEM me-tsoo-YEH-net) - This school has an excellent program of study (curriculum).

Our תכנית...

We at Ulpan La-Inyan (as do our studentsbelieve that our תכנית is an excellent one. It has quite a lot to offer those who wish to speak Hebrew with confidence and accuracy. 

And we've got classes starting Sunday in Jerusalem. Check us out!

Nov 17, 2010

how to say "booklet" in Hebrew...

If you've had even a bit of experience with the Hebrew language, chances are you know the word for book - סֵפֶר (SEH-fehr).

Now, in English, we add -let to a noun to make it small and cute. For example, we add -let to pig to make piglet. Likewise, we add -let to book to make booklet. Such "small and cute" nouns are called diminutives.

In Hebrew, we add וֹן (ohn) to the end of a noun to create a diminutive. In the case of ספר, we say סִפְרוֹן (seef-ROHN) for booklet.

4 more days until class...

This Sunday, you've got five choices of state-of-the-art classes that will get you speaking Hebrew with confidence and accuracy. Check us out at... (click the image below)

Nov 16, 2010

how to say "acquiring a language" in Hebrew...

To buy something is לִקְנוֹת (leek-NOHT). To acquire something, or to purchase, is לִרְכוֹש (leer-KHOHSH). The act of acquiring or purchasing is רְכִישָׁה (re-khee-SHAH).

So the acquiring of a language is רְכִישַׁת שָׂפָה (re-khee-SHAHT sah-FAH). The ה in the word רכישה becomes a ת, as the word is connected to the following word in a linguistic relationship called סְמִיכוּת (smee-KHOOT) - the construct state.

Come acquire the Hebrew language...

...with Ulpan La-Inyan. Classes start this Sunday. Check us out by clicking the image below:

Nov 15, 2010

how to say "to take apart" or "to disassemble" in Hebrew...

Yesterday we had the word for to assemble - לְהַרְכִּיב (le-hahr-KEEV).

What about to disassemble, or to take something apart? That's לְפָרֵק (le-fah-REK). For example, אֲנַחְנוּ פֵּרַקְנוּ אֶת הָאָרוֹן (ah-NAHKH-noo peh-RAHK-noo et hah-ah-ROHN) - We took apart the closet (closets in Israel are usually not walk-in, but rather like this one.

לפרק comes from the root, פ.ר.ק (p.r.k), the same root as פֶּרֶק (PEH-rek) - the chapter of a book or the episode of a television series. The פ.ר (p.r) part of the three-letter root is a common sub-root. Roots with פ.ר. or פ.ל (p.l) have to do with splitting or dividing.

Classes starting Sunday

How's your Hebrew? Registration is still open for our November-December classes taking place in Jerusalem and Raanana.

Interested? Click the image below...

Nov 14, 2010

how to say "to assemble" in Hebrew...

You may have just heard this word on RustyMike Radio on the Adam in the Morning Show. 

If you need to assemble a piece of furniture - or a team of people, for that matter - the word you'd use in Hebrew is לְהַרְכִּיב (le-hahr-KEEV).

For example, אֲנַחְנוּ מַרְכִּיבִים צֶוֶת מִקְצוֹעִי (ah-NAHKH-noo mahr-kee-VEEM TSEH-vet meek-tsoh-EE) - We are putting together a professional staff.

How's your Hebrew? Today's the deadline for early registration for our classes!

Early registration deadline

Today is the last day to receive a 50-shekel discount on our November-December conversational Hebrew classes. 

Our courses will be taking place in Jerusalem and Raanana starting a week from today

Get our schedule at and sign up at!

And if you're not yet familiar with our friendly, state-of-the-art program, click the "Ulpan La-Inyan" image below...

Nov 12, 2010

how to say "area" in Hebrew...

איזור, שטח, תחום

I don't think I've done an entry with three words before. Thanks, Josh, for the suggestion for this entry.

The English word area can refer to a few things. One is the area where something exists - also called vicinity. In Hebrew, this is אֵזוֹר (eh-ZOHR). For example, הוּא גָּר בָּאֵזוֹר (hoo gahr bah-eh-ZOHR) - He lives in the area.

Another meaning of area is the actual physical piece territory. This is called a שֶׁטַח (SHEH-tahkh).

A third meaning of area is more metaphorical. One might speak of an area of work or study, or a field. In Hebrew, this is a תְּחוּם (te-KHOOM). For example, הִיא הַמֻּמְחָה בַּתְּחוּם (hee hah-moom-KHAH bah-te-KHOOM) - She is the expert in the field.

שבת שלום, וסוף שבוע נעים - Shabbat Shalom and good weekend!

And if you haven't done so yet, check out Ulpan La-Inyan, a leader in the תחום of Hebrew-language instruction.

Nov 11, 2010

how to say "disaster" or "tragedy" in Hebrew...

Last night, an Israeli Air Force jet of the most advanced in the world crashed in Makhtesh Ramon. The pilot and navigator are missing at this moment.

Here's the YNet article in Hebrew, and here it is in English.

The Hebrew word for tragedy or disaster is אָסוֹן (ah-SOHN). I hope to publish with happier words tomorrow and next week.

Nov 10, 2010

how to say "a risk" in Hebrew...

Perhaps you know the Hebrew word for dangerous - מְסוּכָּן (me-soo-KAHN). Likewise, the word for danger itself is סַכָּנָה (sah-kah-NAH).

The word for risk comes from the same root - ס.כ.נ (s.k.n): סִכּוּן (see-KOON).

Radio-show lineup

I've got my radio show of Israeli music explained at noon today (as every week), on RustyMike Radio. In the lineup are Shlomo Artzi's "She doesn't know" (היא לא יודעת), Shalom Hanoch's "Take a wife" (קח לך אישה) and HaDag Nachash's "California."

Nov 9, 2010

how to say "wallet" in Hebrew...

If you're already conversational in Hebrew, chances are you know the word for wallet or purse (carried, usually, by men) - אַרְנָק (ahr-NAHK). 

But did you know the origin of the word? It comes from the ancient Greek word for sheep skin - arnakis.

Ulpan La-Inyan classes...

are not free, but they're easy on the ארנק. Check out our classes starting up in Jerusalem and Raanana on November 21. Make it even easier on the ארנק and register by this Sunday, our early registration deadline.

By the way... if you missed yesterday's YouTube video because you didn't see it in the email, click here and scroll down to yesterday's entry.

Nov 8, 2010

how to say "roommate" and "business partner" in Hebrew...

Perhaps you know the Hebrew word for to participate - לְהִשְׁתַּתֵּף (le-heesh-tah-TEHF). The root is ש.ת.פ (sh.t.p) - the concept of sharing.

A partner in a financial situation - be it people sharing a house (roommates/house mates), partners in a business venture, or partners in a noble cause (which, inevitably, demands capital) - is a שֻׁתָּף (shoo-TAHF) referring to a male and a שֻׁתָּפָה (shoo-tah-FAH) referring to a female.

Why do I write about this today? Because this past Saturday night, my שותפים (plural for שותף - my roommates - Matan and Ben) and I performed at AACI's Open Mic Night (AACI's שותפים for this event were Nefesh B'Nefesh and RustyMike Radio).

If you missed the performance, here's the official video:

Nov 7, 2010

how to say "to decipher" in Hebrew...

When I walked up to my first exhibit at the British Museum last Monday, I was surprised, excited and humbled to find myself face-to-face with the Rosetta Stone.

Thanks for the picture, Mark!

Yes, this stone is the namesake of some of the best software for learning a foreign language (I think Pimsleur is better, but Rosetta Stone ain't bad). The reason for that is that the Rosetta Stone held the key for language scholars to decipher - לְפַעֲנֵח (le-fah-ah-NEH-ahkh) - Egyptian hieroglyphics, as it features the texts of three languages (one familiar to the scholars - Greek) all saying the same thing.

The word לפענח comes from the biblical Book of Genesis. It's the name that Pharaoh calls dream-interpreting Joseph when he appoints him as viceroy of Egypt: צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵח (tsahf-NAHT pah-NEH-ahkh). צפנת comes from the Hebrew root צ.פ.נ (ts.p.n), which is the concept of concealment. The non-Semitic root פ.ע.נ.ח ( is understood to mean interpreting or deciphering, making Joseph the decipherer of dreams... which makes sense.

Nov 4, 2010

how to say "absurd" in Hebrew...

No connection to anything, just a word that popped into my head: the Hebrew word for absurd is מְגֻחָך (me-goo-KHAHKH).

For example, קוֹפִים עָפִים מִסָּבִיב לַיָּרֵחַ זֶה דָּבָר מְגוּחָך (koh-FEEM ah-FEEM mee-sah-VEEV lah-yah-REH-ahkh zeh dah-VAHR me-goo-KHAHKH) - Monkeys flying around the moon is something absurd.

You know what else is מגוחך?

Passing up the opportunity to learn to speak Hebrew with Ulpan La-Inyan - in Jerusalem, Raanana and possibly Tel Aviv, starting November 21.

Nov 3, 2010

how to say "to sing off-key" or "to counterfeit" in Hebrew...

כֶּסֶף מְזֻיַּף (KEH-sef me-zoo-YAHF) is counterfeit money. לְזַיֵּף (le-zah-YEF) is to counterfeit. The root of both is ז.י.פ (z.y.p/f).

One can also counterfeit a decent voice while singing. In English we call this phenomenon singing off-key. In Hebrew, we call it לזייף - to sing off-key - or זִיּוּף (zee-YOOF) - the act of singing off key.

I write about this as I will be performing at the Open Mic Night hosted by AACI, Nefesh B'Nefesh and RustyMike Radio. Whether what I'll be doing is singing or מְזַיֵּף (me-zah-YEF) - singing off-key - is up to the crowd to decide.

Nov 1, 2010

how to say "tourist" in Hebrew...

תייר, תיירת

I'm writing to you from an Internet center ("centre") in Central London. I just spent the afternoon touring with a friend. We went to the British Museum, the Wallace Collection and walked around Oxford Street. London's a cool place. In the next couple days perhaps I'll upload a picture/photo of my trip/journey (mixing American and British vernacular).

While the more common Hebrew word for touring is לְטַיֵּל (le-tah-YELL) - which means, literally, to travel leisurely - the word for tourist is תַּיָּר (tah-YAHR) when speaking of a male, and תַּיֶּרֶת (tah-YEH-ret) when speaking of a female.

The Biblical Hebrew word for to tour is לָתוּר (lah-TOOR). claims that the English word comes from the Greek predecessor of the verb to turn. Though perhaps the Greek got it from the Hebrew... Etymologists, feel free to throw in your two cents.