1. In Hebrew the adjective follows the noun, e.g. “city big.”  English speakers tend to put the noun after the adjective according to the English word order, e.g. “big city.”
2. Hebrew nouns, adjectives, and verbs have a designated gender (either female or male).  For example, “television” is feminine while “radio” is masculine. English speakers tend to mix up the genders.
3. Hebrew nouns, adjective, and verbs have to match in number and gender. Let’s take, for example, “a good pizza.” Since “pizza” is feminine, the adjective “good” should be feminine as well. English speakers have the tendency to forget this rule and do not match adjective, nouns, and verbs in number and gender.
4. In Hebrew there are two sets of numbers, feminine and masculine, which are used based on the noun that is being counted. For example, in the phrase “10 boys” the number ten is pronounced and written differently than in the phrase “10 girls.” English speakers easily confuse the two sets of numbers.
5. In Hebrew, the definite article is used both before the noun and before the adjective, e.g. “the cake the sweet.” English speakers tend to use the definite article only once as it is in English, “the sweet cake.”
6. The right use of prepositions is a source of frustration for English speakers. For example, in Hebrew we say “I spoke in the phone” and not “I spoke on the phone” as in English.
7. In Hebrew there are several guttural letters that English speakers have a hard time pronouncing and usually pronounce incorrectly. These guttural letters are “Cheit,” “Chaf,” and “Reish.” “Cheit” sounds like the German or Scottish “ch” but more guttural. “Reish” is pronounced like the French or German “r” or the Italian or Spanish “r” but usually harder.
8. Hebrew does not use “is,”  “are,” “do,” and “does,” which really confuses English speakers.  English speakers tend to make grammatical mistakes as they try to find alternative expressions.
9. Hebrew verbs have different forms. Each verb is conjugated by gender, tense, and number, which means we have to learn 12 different forms of each verb. This is a hard concept for English speakers to master.  In English verbs are conjugated by tense, not by gender or number.
10. A common pronunciation mistake is when English words are used in Hebrew. For example: “television” is pronounced “televizia,” “university” is pronounced “universita,” etc.

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One Response to 10 Common Mistakes When Learning Hebrew

  1. This is a really great summary of the sorts of mistakes English speakers make when learning Hebrew. English speakers are often completely unaware they are even making these mistakes when speaking Hebrew. It takes a lot of effort to stop thinking in a language and start thinking in Hebrew!

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