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Published by: Mahlatse Winston Mashua on Sep 16, 2011
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“” is the Hebrew equivalent of the English word “and”, which is attached to the
beginning of the next word. It does not displace the definite article that may also be present.

The following table demonstrates its usage –

man and woman

and (a) word

the great and good man

When it appears before the letters , , or (the so called “

”, a name

made from an acronym of these letters) it is usually pronounced “”.

However, if the conjunction becomes immediately before the accent (eg “bread and water”),
it may (ie the rule is not consistently applied) become “

” rather than “

”. This situation typically occurs in a paired word construction, even outside the

. For example “

” (good and bad) rather than “


Before another

the conjugation becomes “” rather than “”. For example

” rather than “


If a conjugation appears before a

(ie “”, “”, or “”) the

is replaced with its

vowel. Thus “

” (ox and donkey) rather than “



Before a “” the conjunction becomes “”. Thus “

” not “


The preceding discussion applies to both Biblical and Modern Hebrew. However, not
surprisingly, in modern colloquial Hebrew a widespread slang usage has crept in. It is
regarded a sign of educated speech to follow the rules – you would expect to hear this on an
Israeli news broadcast for example.

“I view it as a sign of educated speech. I teach it to my students, and tell them to use it or
not at will. Most native speakers use a

at all times…”3

“In everyday conversation, even among educated Israelis, the "" thing sounds stilted.”4

Therefore, although both schemes are acceptable, one is usually more appropriate.

Exercise 1:





worker (male)

chaos, emptiness

desolation, emptiness

Given the preceding vocabulary, translate the following sentences fragments, using the
formal rules:


You and I. (hint: the Hebrew idiom is “Me and You”).


Thunder and lightening.


Desolation and chaos (ie “utter chaos”).


And I.


And the workers (masculine).

Exercise 2:

Translate the same sentences fragments as in Exercise 1, this time using the informal


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