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Dec 20, 2012

how to say "two hundred (shekel discount)" in Hebrew

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this week's video dose of Hebrew!

In Western languages such as English, Spanish, German, etc, we add a number from 1-10 before a multiple of 100. For example: one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, etc.

the Dust Bowl of the 1930's American countryside

In Hebrew and other languages, the second item in such a count gets a special name that ends with the sound AH-yeem.

An example from the Torah portion
to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world:

כִּי-זֶה שְׁנָתַיִם הָרָעָב, בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ; וְעוֹד חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים, אֲשֶׁר אֵין חָרִישׁ וְקָצִיר (בְּרֵאשִׁית מ"ה:ו')
For two years now there has been a famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping (Genesis 45:6)

Here the word שְׁנָתַיִם means two years. Compare it with the others in the list below to see the difference:

שָׁנָה אַחַת - one year
שְׁנָתִים - two years
שָׁלֹש שָׁנִים - three years
אַרְבַּע שָׁנִים - four years
חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים - five years
שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים - six years
שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים - seven years
שְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנִים - eight years
תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים - nine  years
עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים - ten years

This AH-eem ending indicates other multiples of two in the Hebrew language, such as:

עֵינַיִם - eyes

גִּבְעָתַיִם - two hills
(name of a city adjacent to Tel Aviv)

מָאתַיִם - two hundred

Here's that last word used in a sentence:

מִי שֶׁנִּרְשָׁם לְקוּרְס שֶׁלָּנוּ עַד יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן, מְקַבֵּל הֲנָחָה שֶׁל מָאתַיִם שְׁקָלִים.
Whoever registers for a course of ours by Sunday gets a 200-shekel discount.

Note: The AH-eem ending indicates a doubling, but it is not used for all nouns.

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