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25 (Ulpan Diaries | ウルパン日記)

July 11, 2010

I have now survived three weeks of ulpan (Hebrew language school) and the confusion level has hit an all time high. No doubt this high record will be renewed every week.

Because of my few attempts to learn French over the years, the concept of words having a gender was not new to me (thank goodness). Or that there is absolutely no logic behind what is determined masculine or feminine. For instance, a mug (sephel) is masculine but a glass (kos) is feminine, or a book (sepher) is masculine but a notebook (machberit) is feminine. So similar… yet different.

In Hebrew, there are masculine and feminine versions even for numbers. When telling time, for reasons far beyond my comprehension, HOURS are feminine but MINUTES are masculine. Schekels (Israeli currency) are counted in masculine. I still have no idea which to use for phone numbers. While watching a World Cup game the other night, I picked up on the announcer talking about the score and asked Yuval whether they counted in masculine of feminine. His answer? “Actually, he said one country in masculine and the other in feminine. It was just more convenient that way.” Thanks for clearing that up babe!

We have also begun learning the names of body parts and it is just as confusing. A head (rosh) is masculine but an eye (ain) is feminine. The body (guf) is masculine but an arm (yad) is feminine. And when addressing pain in the body, the word pain (koev) has to be changed depending on the gender of the body part. Koev is fine for a masculine back (gav) but it needs to be changed to koevit for a feminine ear (ozen). When addressing pain in something plural like legs (reglaim) koev needs to be replaced with koevot.

This is about the time I need to take a big breath! (Or let out a big scream!)

We have also ventured in to the past tense. A verb takes on a different form depending on who you are talking about: I (ani), you-masculine (ata), you-feminine (at), he (who), she (he), we (anafunu), you (plural)-male&female (atem), you (plural)-females only (ahen), them-male&female (hem), them-females only (hen). A simple sentence such as, “They went to the grocery store,” can become a very complicated few words to decipher for the Hebrew beginner.

Seeing pages like the one in the photo above with the Hebrew buried under my notes can be pretty daunting. It’s like a reminder how long I have to go before I can read the same paragraph without stumbling or wondering what a word means or why a certain letter is before a certain word.

Wish me luck as I start my fourth week!









Much love,

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    July 12, 2010 4:09 pm

    Bon courage ma chérie !
    (still from Bordeaux, but I’ll be back in Japan tomorrow!)

    • July 12, 2010 11:44 pm

      Merci Jenny!!
      Can’t wait to hear your Bordeaux stories.
      bisous xxx

  2. Amy Woods permalink
    July 13, 2010 6:13 am

    Whoa. These languages are all so completely different from each other. When I look at your blog and see all of these symbols outside of English, it reminds me of how super human you are. Nice work, K!

    • July 13, 2010 4:02 pm

      Thank you my sweet!
      I think my brain needs some stretching and massaging, it’s stiffened too much over the years and is not soaking up new info…

  3. すみ permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:03 am



    • July 13, 2010 3:58 pm

      いやあ全然ついていけてる感はないのよ実際。 とほほ
      でもこのように笑いを交えながら復習すれば少しは前向きになれるかと思って 笑

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