Learning a new language is always challenging. Sometimes, you can hit a roadblock that leaves you demotivated and struggling to follow through with your lessons. While expected, it’s also essential to keep reminding yourself that being confused is part of the journey!
To help you feel less alone, we’ve compiled a list of common roadblocks that many linguists hit when learning the Hebrew language.
One of the most challenging parts of learning a new language is getting the pronunciation right, especially for a regional language that you aren’t exposed to often!
English speakers struggle heavily with pronouncing Hebrew words because of the heavy reliance the language has on guttural sounds, which are sounds that are produced using the back of the throat.
For example, in Hebrew, the “ ר ” sound is different from the ‘R’ pronunciation English natives are familiar with. Instead of using the tip of the tongue or the teeth, the sound is produced from the back of the throat and the top of the palette. It can get tricky, but with practice, pronunciation can be improved!
Common Sounding Words
Vocabulary can be challenging to memorize, but what makes it all the more difficult is encountering similar sounding words. It’s a common issue in every language; for example, ‘tearing up’ can mean crying or ripping something apart! And you’re going to encounter similar vocabulary confusions in Hebrew as well.
Let’s take the example of אח, which is pronounced ach. What does ach mean, you wonder? It could mean brother, male nurse, fireplace, or an exclamation sound when one is hurt! Similarly, קרה (karah) can mean happened, read (קרא) or ripped (קרע).
The only way to know the difference is to understand word placements and minor spelling changes. For example, karah may sound the same, but it is spelled differently for each word. Plus, context also matters!
Recommend reading: Common Hebrew Language Mistakes Made By Native Speakers
Masculine and Feminine Numbers
When someone asks you to count to a hundred, you’ll easily do that in English. But when you have to do the same in Hebrew, you might have to ask whether they want the masculine or feminine version.
Hebrew has a different pronunciation for the numbers based on the noun they’re being used for. This is new for most non-native speakers and can cause confusion. However, it’s nothing a bit of diligence and practice can’t fix!
Ready to take on Hebrew but need some extra help? Sign up with us at Ulpan Or. We provide Hebrew language learning online from native Israeli teachers who can help you polish your pronunciation and grammar. Contact us today for more information.