top of page

Hebrew is Easier to Learn than English

You're kidding, right?

No, Hebrew really is easier. Of course, learning Hebrew presents an initial hurdle because it uses an alphabet that no other language uses. Since English shares an alphabet with all the Romance languages, you might feel more comfortable, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into any tangible advantage.

However, if you invest the time to learn the Hebrew alphabet, you will discover several significant advantages that result in Hebrew being a more streamlined, direct language. The Hebrew alphabet is phonetic. There are no diphthongs (letter combinations such as sh). Simply read and pronounce each letter as it is written.

Secondly, and even more importantly, Hebrew is a highly structured language in which there are few exceptions to its rules, unlike English where exceptions can seem to outnumber the cases that follow the rule.

Verbs Rule the World How is Hebrew a structured language?

All Hebrew verbs are constructed from 'roots;' nearly all of them are just three letters long (a small number of them are four letters). Contrast this with English where the number of letters in a verb is completely random, e.g., contrast the verb 'go' or 'do' - two letters with the verb 'implement' that has nine letters.

How is it possible for Hebrew to create enough verbs when it is limited to three-letter combinations obtained from an alphabet of only twenty-two letters?

It would seem that there are just not enough combinations available. This is achieved by transforming each of these verb roots into different 'constructions.' By applying different templates to each verb root, you can produce more verbs. There are 'constructions' for passive, reflexive, and emphatic forms. Inserting different vowel patterns creates different 'constructions.' (In Hebrew, only consonants are considered letters; vowels appear as subscripts below or above consonants.)

Is that really easier?

It sounds complicated. In fact, once you invest the time to learn the 'constructions,' you can plug in the vowel combinations which form the different constructions, and thereby create additional verbs. For example, the three-letter root 'sfr' yields the verbs: count, tell, take a haircut. A single verb root yields the verbs: 'to precede' and 'to progress.' Another root yields 'to arise,' 'to establish,' and 'to hold an event.' Another yields 'to avoid' and 'to prevent.' As a result, learning Hebrew consists of less memorization and more identification of patterns and plugging those patterns in to create many more words. You are spending your time thinking and manipulating information instead of memorizing and retrieving memorized information. Hebrew Verbs Contain more Information Both, in the past and future tenses, the subject/pronoun i.e., I, you, he, she, we, etc. are incorporated into the verb. Once again, the conjugation follows a pre-set template which allows for zero exceptions! In the past tense, you simply attach a pre-determined suffix to the verb root.

What is the advantage of this seemingly 'extra' work?

It's this - all verbs follow this pattern. If you know one verb, you can deduce all. Contrast English where although the past tense of most verbs is formed by adding 'ed' to a verb, there is a huge number of exceptions. Think of sing-sang, think-thought, do-did, not to mention go-went where there is absolutely no resemblance between the present tense word and the past. Relative to English, Hebrew works with the precision of a computer. Input the data and the computer spits out the solutions. This predictability yields yet another advantage. Both in reading Hebrew and in listening to it, the clues provided by these specialized verb prefixes and suffixes that indicate tense and subject, make it far easier to detect the verb in the sentence, as well as its tense and who its subject is. You can then build your translation around that foundation. You can locate yourself in a Hebrew sentence with greater ease and confidence than in English and build your understanding from there.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page