Amazingly Simple and Useful Tricks for Speaking Hebrew

Here are 4 amazingly simple and useful Hebrew tricks that I teach my students to help them speak Hebrew, especially with verbs, probably the hardest part of the language:

These tricks are built on the fact that Israelis are used to people butchering Hebrew, especially with verbs. They are very tolerant of mistakes.

1) Just get the pronoun right. Israelis will assume you got the pronoun right if the verb conjugation doesn’t match it. Because pronouns are easier than verb conjugations.

2) For past/present/future tense you can gesture with your hands to show which you mean! (Try it.)

3) If you learn one verb conjugation you have the building blocks for ALL of them. The all have the same endings in the past tense, for example. Just learn one form well and adapt what you know to the others. Or fake it.

4) Stay cool, just get it close. But fast. Better to get it wrong and fast than than right and slow. Put the burden of figuring out what you mean on the listener. That is better than making him wait 15 seconds while you try to figure out a conjugation.

5) Bonus! Israelis will try to switch the conversation to English. Don’t take it personally. Apparently they think their English is better than it really is so it is natural for them to try to help out by switching. And they want to practice their English too. Just ignore them and keep speaking in Hebrew until they give up. 😉

NOTE: These tricks really work with Israelis, but be warned that non-Israeli Hebrew speakers are probably less patient than Israelis when listening to “bad” Hebrew. (Here “bad Hebrew” means “not as good as theirs”.) Ironic, no?

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