Why Learn Hebrew?
There are many reasons to learn Hebrew such as to read the Tenach (the Old Testament of the Bible written in Hebrew) in its original language or simply to learn how to pronounce Hebrew words such as those in Strong’s Concordance without having to use the transliterations. Probably the most advantageous reason to learn Hebrew is the ability to understand the original author’s words, rather than through the translator’s opinion of the author’s words.
Learning the Hebrew language can be both fun and exciting. By simply studying the pages to follow for just a few minutes a day you will soon be reading Hebrew and be building a small vocabulary of Hebrew words and phrases.
Direction of Reading
Unlike English which is read from left to right, Hebrew is read from right to left just as many other semitic languages such as Arabic. This may sound difficult but in a very short time you will get used to it.
When sounding out a word it will be easier if you remember the Consonant (C) and Vowel (V) patterns. In English the consonants and vowels may be arranged in any order such as in the word “circle” which has the following pattern; C-V-C-C-C-V. Hebrew on the other hand is very consistent in that a vowel always follows a consonant (except the final consonant which may or may not be followed by a vowel), such as in the following words “Melek” (king) C-V-C-V-C; “Meleko” (his king) C-V-C-V-C-V and “Hamelek” (the king) C-V-C-V-C-V-C. The Yud (Y) is another exception to this as it can be a consonant acting as a vowel, just as our English “Y”.
The Hebrew Alephbet
English uses the word “Alphabet” which is the first two letters of the Greek Alphabet; Alpha and Beta. Hebrew on the other hand uses “Alephbet” as they are the first two letters of the Hebrew Alephbet; Aleph and Bet. The Hebrew alephbet consists of 22 consonants and no vowels. The vowels are dots and dashes added above and below the consonants. One advantage to Hebrew is that the sound for each letter remains the same unlike English where one has to memorize many variations such as the word circus where one “c” is pronounced like an “S” and the other like a “K”.
Here is a brief chart of the Hebrew phrases for Spanish Speakers or others as an introduction and these letters will be learned in the accompanying lessons. An audio clip for the names of each letter is also available below.
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