Isn’t it ironic?

The irony of my life – turning to Hebrew because it was available on Duolingo, only to find out today that Arabic is already in beta mode after all!


As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been following Allen in my Egyptian studies, and the group has actually just reached lesson 6 (adjectives). So far, most of what’s been covered I’d already studied in Hoch on my own, but it’s a nice review and I still get to learn a few things I hadn’t yet.

Doing the exercises makes me think of how I look forward to the day Unicode support for Egyptian will be widespread enough for the following to be displayed properly:

Egyptian hieroglyphs + format controls: 𓇓𓏏𓐰𓈖𓀴𓉻𓐰𓂝𓄿𓏜𓄖𓐰𓏏𓐱𓏭

Egyptian hieroglyphs − format controls: 𓇓‌𓏏𓈖𓀴𓉻𓂝𓄿𓏜𓄖𓏏𓏭

Transliteration (Unicode): nswt ꜥꜣ pḥtꞽ (pḥtj)

Transliteration (Manuel de Codage): nswt aA pHti (pHtj)

Translation: ‘a king of great strength’

Translation (literal): ‘a king, one greath of strength’

JSesh-generated image: strong_king001

Stressfully so

Three classes of syllables may be distinguished [in Hebrew]:

  1. prominent syllables (henceforth marked ˊ),
  2. subordinate syllables (marked ˋ),
  3. indifferent syllables (unmarked).

A Hebrew word is stressed on its prominent syllable (if it contains one), otherwise on its last indifferent syllable.

Examples: The verbal bases kám ‘rose’ and šamar ‘watched’ (the latter contains no prominent syllable) will be connected with the suffixes ‑tì ‘I’ (with subordinate syllable) and ‑a (indifferent) ‘she’ to the following forms: kámtì (stress on the first syllable), káma (stress of first syllable), šamartì (stress on penult), šamra (with loss of a, stress on last syllable). Similarly, the verbal bases ráts ‘ran’ and rats‑ ‘wanted’, respectively, yield, with the suffix ‑u ‘they’ rátsu ‘they ran’ vs. ratsu (final stress) ‘they wanted’. […]

Foreign words usually contain a prominent syllable (normally taken from the language of origin) e.g. studént ‘student’ forms the penult stressed plural studéntim, while the same suffix added to indifferent sus ‘horse’ renders a finally stressed plural susim.

– Rosén, Haiim B. A Textbook of Israeli Hebrew. 2nd corr. ed. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1966, p. 10–11.

Q&A: Are there rules to making ligatures in handwritten Hebrew?

Notes by Autumn Light

True ligatures, in the sense of a character made up of two enjoined letters, like œ or , don’t really exist in Hebrew—with the possible exception of the double yod (ײַ), which was common in Yiddish, but little used in Hebrew (most people aren’t even aware that has its own keystroke).

If you mean instances of joined-up letters in modern Hebrew cursive (as I suspect you do), those are mostly precluded by the very nature of that cursive.

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אני לומד עברית!‏

I’ve had my Arabic books handily piled up for a while, but I just haven’t been able to sit and study. Since it’s often actually handier to keep myself busy with Duolingo somehow, and Arabic just isn’t an option there (yet), I now find myself busy with Hebrew instead, having also produced my copy of A Textbook of Israeli Hebrew out of the depths of my personal library.

I’ve got an ancient, strained, estranged relationship with Hebrew, for a number of reasons; however, although the language itself doesn’t appeal to me as strongly, it’s got some undeniable advantages over Modern Standard Arabic – and Israeli pop music can be quite addictive (while I struggle to find songs to my liking in the Arabic world).

„Гъбена чорба“

The problems of a false beginner – getting motivated to get back to 101 and then past all that yet again until you can find out where you stand. With Bulgarian, I thought I might benefit from reviewing the vocabulary in my textbook by looking it up and adding extra grammar that will only be taught lessons later, but which I’ve already covered at some point anyway. Such as:

мн. господа̀, зват. господѝне, м.
отва̀ряш, несв. и отво̀ря, св.

отво̀риш, мин. св. отво̀рих, мин. прич. отво̀рил, св.

I quickly realised, however, that I apparently already know all the grammar I am expected to at this stage, and that there are very few irregularities in the vocabulary lists I’m dealing with this early that would show up and be useful to note. In other words, grammar isn’t an issue – it’s the vocabulary itself that I should be working on improving after all. It sounds like an epiphany of sorts, although it should’ve been obvious all along.