Putting The Cart Before The Horse

As previously mentioned in my last learning project post, it was impossible for me to learn how to read traditional Hebrew without knowing symbols. So, instead of putting the cart before the horse, I figured I would try something a little more feasible and up my alley.

In this post, I would like to talk about the most commonly used words in Hebrew. These common words are the exact same as nearly every other language, except the word itself, is different.

Shalom – Literally means “peace” but also commonly used as a greeting or farewell, like hello and goodbye.

Sababa – Alright, this is your basic “cool”, “great”, “alright”. A word to use whenever you really feel like. I essentially see its’ use as similar to awesome in North American English. Want to go to the beach? Sababa. Want to ride bikes? Sababa. Want to make out on the roof? Sababa.

Beseder – When awesome is too much, but you don’t want to turn down that make-out session. This is a more neutral word for Okay, let’s do this

Chen & Lo – Yes & no.

Ma nishmá or Ma korehWhat’s up, what’s going on, what’s happening? Basically asking someone if they want to hang out with you and hoping they don’t have any prior plans.

Toda (also Toda Raba)Thanks and “Thanks a lot!” This is a fun word to say because it sounds like you’re a 5-year-old who’s just finished a dance recital. Ta-da!

Be te’avon – If you like to eat, you’ll learn this one quick. It’s Hebrew for Bon Apetit!

L’chaim – The toast/cheers when you clink beer glasses, it translates “to life!”

Tov – When something goes well, say tov — it’s Hebrew for “good” and has plenty of uses in everyday conversations.

Boker tov — Good morning

Laila tov — Good evening

Mazel tov — Good fortune (literally) but you’ll know it as a congratulatory phrase from pop culture.

Last but not least, my favourite!

Ach shely (or Achi) – In American frats you’ve got “brah”, and in Israel, you’ve got ach shely. Roughly translates as “My Brother” (or Brother).

I imagine that some of you can recall hearing some of these words before, specifically Shalom! Or Mazel tov! These two phrases seem to be widely used in the film industry.

I think I will start using achi every time my daughter asks for a new LOL (please click this, and you will understand why) doll. Which will be daily!

Looks like I’ll be picking up Hebrew rather quickly.

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