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Hebrew Lesson Number 57:

London Town

Dan’s just returned from Jolly Old England and can’t wait to tell us all about his time in London! Where did he go? What did he see? And what is his absolute favorite thing about this unique and exciting city?

Some Grammar from This Lesson:

The Infinitive Form in Hebrew

Dan, Jonathan and Liat

Our Advanced Level Hebrew Teachers

Jonathan: at yoda-at kama ole hayom kartis tisa haloch vashov? - Do you know how much a round trip ticket costs? (laughs-zzochek) tov, let’s talk about it later - achar kachFor now, let’s take a short break from our London monologue and continue our Hebrew-grammar discussion from lesson 56.

שעון הביג בן בלונדון

London Big Ben

Dan: Oh guys, that was an excellent discussion, I heard the lesson yesterday while unpacking my luggage… and Liat, please thank your friend Yael for taking over for me while I was  away, I’m so happy everything went smoothly!

Liat, I really liked the excellent and quite rare example you brought up for the way the makor muchlat, the infinitive absolute may still appear in Modern Hebrew, hayo haya – once upon a time, that’s a great expression, I just love it when a book starts with these words. It immediately takes me into the realm of fantasy and magic!

Jonathan: That’s very true Liat, but as we go on with our explanation of the infinitive construct, we realize that even this form is used in Modern Hebrew in a very specific manner. bechol ofen - in any case, looking back over the history of the Hebrew language, and mostly on its Biblical manifestations, we should start our discussion with the other type of infinitive: the Infinitive Absolute.

But, have you noticed, guys, that when discussing plane tickets… or train tickets… well any travel tickets… we still use the makor muchlat even as a homogeneous day to day expression in Hebrew?

Queen's Guard Soldier

חייל במשמר המלכה

Liat: ken Dan! ze nachon. If you are buying a round-trip ticket, meaning if you are going back and forth, you will ask for a ‘haloch va-shov’. haloch - forth,  shov - back, both are infinitive absolute forms used daily with this specific combination in Modern conversational Hebrew! Dan, it’s a pleasure to have you back:)

Dan: toda Liat! ani ohev linsoa - I love traveling, but I mostly like it here:) Anyway guys, I believe that in your infinitive discussion you came up to the point of more thoroughly describing the way the other form of infinitive, the infinitive construct, is the form which is primarily and often used in Modern conversational Hebrew, nachon?

London Double Decker Bus

אוטובוס קומותיים בלונדון

Jonathan: nachon Dan! In Lesson 56 we have discussed the fact that the infinitive construct is called by that name specifically because, contrary to the infinitive absolute, it may use prefixes and/or suffixes.  

In Biblical Hebrew, it comes together with one of these prefixes: the bet (ב) the kaf (כ) the lamed (ל) or the mem (מ): otiyot bachl”m.

Liat: In its Biblical appearances, the infinitive construct could also use pronominal suffixes, meaning that it could be declined in relation to different pronouns… that has all been explained in that lessons… anyway, by the end of our discussion we had indicated that this has been significantly changed in modern Hebrew, and it now only uses the ‘lamed’ prefix.  It has ceased to use the pronominal suffix.

Jonathan: nachon! The infinitive construct, as it is being used today, is very easy to understand since it is parallel to the way the infinitive is used in English: a basic form of a verb which uses the preposition 'to' before it - to dance, to sing, to eat, and so on. By itself, it has no tense and no pronominal identity. 

I believe, guys, that from this point,  we can actually check and review, in which of the Hebrew building blocks we may find the infinitive construct and what form it takes in each of these. 

Dan: The infinitive construct does not exist in two of the seven Hebrew building blocks: the Huf-al, which is the passive Hebrew building block partner for the Hif-il, and the Pu-al, which is the passive Hebrew building block partner for the Pi-el. It is very common in all of the other five Hebrew building blocks.

Learn Hebrew Pod - Lesson No. 57


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