Mistakes That Make Israelis Cringe / StreetWise Hebrew Podcast

Some things Hebrew learners say sound more grating to the Israeli ear than others.

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Annoying trumpet player.
Annoying trumpet player.Credit: Sumnersgraphicsinc | Dreamstime.com

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How come some mistakes in a foreign language sound worse than others? It’s unfair, but some things Hebrew learners say sound more grating to the Israeli ear than others. Guy Sharett teaches us what mistakes make Israelis cringe so we can try to avoid them at all costs!

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Words and expressions discussed:

Kshe – When – כש

Ka’asher – When (archaic) – כאשר

Kshe-bati ha-bayita matsati et ha-maftechot – When I came home I found the keys – כשבאתי הביתה מצאתי את המפתחות

Kshe-halev boche – When the heart is crying – כשהלב בוכה

Ima sheli – My mom – אמא שלי

Lirot et ha’or –  To see the light – לראות את האור

Pagashti et Danny – I met Danny – פגשתי את דני

Ani ochel tapu’ach – I am eating an apple – אני אוכל תפוח

Ani ochel et ha-tapu’ach – I am eating the apple – אני אוכל את התפוח

Hayiti rotse lihyot melech shelach – I wish I’d be your king – הייתי רוצה להיות מלך שלך

Hayiti rotsa, hayiti rotse – I would like – הייתי רוצה

Ani rotsa cappuccino (be-vakasha) – (אני רוצה קפוצ’ינו (בבקשה

Efshar kise – Could I please have a chair? – ?אפשר כסא

Efshar ledaber im – May I speak to – אפשר לדבר עם

Efshar yoter le’at? – Could you go slower? – ?אפשר יותר לאט

Me-ayin – Where from (archaic) – מאין

Me-efo – From where – מאיפה

Be-bayit – In a house – בבית

Ba-bayit – In the house – בבית

Le-bayit – To a house – לבית

La-bayit – To the house – לבית

Ani holech le-bayit shel chaver – I am going to a friend’s place – אני הולך לבית של חבר

Ani holech la-bayit shel Eyal – I am going to Eyal’s house – אני הולך לבית של אייל

Ani nose’a le-hofesh (not ‘la-hofesh’) – I am going on holiday – אני נוסע לחופש

Sheva banot – Seven girls – שבע בנות

Hatzilim – Eggplants – חצילים

Hamisha chatsilim – Five eggplants – חמישה חצילים (But you’ll hear “hamesh hatsilim,” which is a mistake)

Hamisha Asar kilometer – 15 km – חמישה עשר קילומטר (But most Israelis say “hamesh-esre kilometer,” which is a mistake)

Hu lomed – He studies – הוא לומד

Kelev – Dog – כלב

Bokker – Morning – בוקר

Yomuledet – Birthday – יומולדת

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