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Reading Hebrew Signs

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Zionism & Israel > Hebrew > Hebrew Signs > No Smoking



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No Smoking Sign

It is forbidden to smoke

(No Smoking)

Ah soor' leh ah shen'   Hebrew no Smoking sign

Remember - Hebrew is read Right to Left


Literally, ברוכים הבאים means "Blessed are the arriving."

Vocabulary   אוצר מילים

Meaning Pronunciation Hebrew
It is forbidden Ah soor' אסור
to smoke Le Ah shen'


Extended Vocabulary

Smoke Ah shan' עשן
The act of smoking (cigarettes) Ee shoon' עישון
Smokes (cigarettes) Meh ah shen' מעשן
Smoked (adj. meat) Meh oo shahn' מעושן
Ban Ee soor' איסור
Prisoner Ah seer' אסיר
To forbid Leh eh sohr" לאסור


Infinitive of a Verb - consists of the root plus the letter ל at the start. The ל means "to." Examples - לעשן to smoke, לאכל (le eh khol') to eat, לעבד (lah ah vohd') to work. 

Plurals are usually formed by adding ים (eem) to form masculine plurals or ות (oht) to form feminine plurals. For many words like כלב the plural form is irregular - the sounding of the word itself changes. For others, it does not.

Feminine nouns can often (not always) be identified because they end in ה and have an "ah" sound.

Some feminine nouns are formed by adding a ת (taf) to the end of the word - like נהגת (Nah heh geht') a female driver, and תינוקת- (tee noh keht') a girl תינוק (meaning baby). By now you can guess that "eht" signifies a feminine noun ending - just like "ette" in French.

Adjectives - In Hebrew, the modifier is placed after the noun: New driver:  נהג חדש . Big Dog כלב גדול. (Keh' lehv' Gah dohl'). The adjective follows the noun in gender and number:

נהג זהיר - Cautious driver. (Look here to see how to pronounce   זהיר : Caution - Dog in the Yard)

נהגת חדשה - New female driver.

כלבות גדולות- Big female dogs.  (Look here to see how to pronounce   כלבות : Caution - Dog in the Yard)

חתולות יפות - Pretty pussy cats ('Hah too loht' Yah foht' )

Definite article and adjectivesהנהגת החדשה- The New Driver.

When look-alikes part company - נהג the noun and נהג the verb are the same for men, but a woman driver is a נהג , while a woman who was in the habit of doing something in the past - נהגה.

הנהגת החדשה נהגה  לנסוע  לתל-אביב

Means: The new female drive was in the habit of driving to Tel Aviv.


Word Roots - Semitic words are usually formed from three letter words. The same root can be an adjective, a noun or a verb.

להזהר- to be cautious (Le Hee zah hehr') (verb infinitive)

הזהר - Be Cautious! Be Careful! , Caution! (verb command)

זהירות -  (Caution - usually a noun. Can be used as a command).

זהיר - Zah heer' - Cautious (masculine adjective)

נזהר- Neez hahr' - is cautious, takes precautions.

Some Masculine Plurals

Hammer Pah teesh'


Hammers Pah tee shim'



Donkey 'Hah mohr'


Donkeys 'Hah mohr rem'



Cat 'Hah tool'


Cats 'Hah too lim'



Yard 'Hah tsehr'


Yards 'Hah tseh reem'



Boy Yeh' lehd


Boys Yeh lah dim'



Some Feminine Plurals

Cat (female) 'Hah too lah'


Cats 'Hah too loht'



Meal Ah roo 'hah


Meals Ah roo 'hoht'



Flame Leh hah vah'


Flames Leh hah voht'



Row Shoo rah'


Rows Shoo roht'


Some Irregular Plurals:


One Time, an instance, Pah ahm


Many Times Pah ah meem'


פעם is a feminine noun with a masculine plural ending.

Banana Bah nah' nah


Bananas Bah nah noht'


בננה is a masculine noun with a feminine plural ending!

Woman Eeh shah'


Women Nah sheem'


Plural Verbs and Adjectives

Plural Verbs and adjectives have the same properties as plural nouns - "eem" for masculine, "oht" for feminine:

הוא אוכל - He is eating. (Hooh Oh khehl')

היא אוכלת - She is eating (Hee  Oh khel' eht)

אנחנו אוכלים- We are eating (Anachnu Ohkh leem')

 הכלבות אוכלות - The dogs are eating (Ha Kahl boht' Okh loht')

כלב גדול - Big dog (Keh lev' Gah dohl')

כלבים גדולים - Big dogs (Klah veem' Gdoh leem')

כלבה גדולה Big Dog (f.) also - "quite a bitch." (Kahl bah' Gdoh lah')

כלבות גדולות - Big dogs (feminine) (Kahl boht Gdoh loht')


פעם אחת - One time (Pah' ahm Ah khat')

פעמים רבות - Many Times (Peh ah meem' Rah bot')

בננה טוב - Good banana (Bah nah' nah Tov)

בננות טובים - Good Bananas (Bah nah not' Tohv oht')


Hebrew number gender is confusing. Most numbers that modify masculine objects end in an "ah" sound. The feminine numbers do not end in "heh." Feminine numbers are used for numbering and counting of money. That means that either feminine or masculine number construction can be used for שקלים (shkah leem') - the israeli currency.

ארבעה מוקשים (Ahr bah ah' Mohk sheem') - four land mines.

שלוש ילדות (Shah lohsh' Yeh lah dot') - three girls

שלושה ילדים (Shloh shah' Yeh lah deem') - three boys.

ארבעה בנים (Ahr bah ah' Bah neem') - Four sons.

ארבע בנות - (Ahr bah' ah' Bah noht') - Four daughters.

ארבע שקלים- (Ahr bah' Shkah leem') - Four Shekels.

ארבעה שקלים - (Ahr bah' ah'  Shkah leem') - Four Shekels.


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