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Mar 19, 2013

how to say "to wonder" in Hebrew


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לִתְהוֹת

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In Jerusalem and Tel Aviv

The Hebrew word for to wonder is לִתְהוֹת.

In English, we use the verb to wonder to express not only genuine wonder, but also to make a polite request, such as I was wondering whether you'd be able to pick me up on the way to work. Such an expression in Hebrew might replace the wondering with I wanted to know:


רָצִיתִי לָדַעַת אִם תּוּכַל לֶאֱסוֹף אֹתִי בַּדֶּרֶךְ לַעֲבוֹדָה.
I wanted to know whether you'd be able to pick me up on the way to work.

The Hebrew word לתהות is generally used literally, as in:


תָּהִיתִי מַדּוּעַ הֵם עוֹד לֹא הִגִּיעוּ.
I was wondering why they hadn't arrived yet.

The root of לתהות is ת.ה.ה (t.h.h) and is an active-simple פָּעַל verb.

To wonder, in Hebrew, is different from a wonder. The word for that is פֶּלֶא.





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