It started like kind of funny exercise, when I asked myself, how many ways
you have in modern Hebrew to say "hello". Then I recognized it might be a good
idea to write a short lesson in this way. (Another interesting question may be,
how many ways there are to reply.)
So, let's talk about greetings in Hebrew. Typically, it's one of the first
things somebody wants to learn, when trying to approach a new language.
- Literally: "Peace upon
you!" - this one is the most traditional one, and probably is samiliar to
everybody, as well as the next one:
!שלום - [shalom] -
Most common greeting; but it is
in fact simplification of the former. You can also say "shalom,
shalom!" Well, I guess, everybody knows what does this mean.
2. What's up?
- "what's up" - is probably second by popularity among the greetings, if not the
There is a shortened version of it, it's quite
new, and it's rather slang of Tel-Aviv rather than common phrase everywhere:
?מה ניש [ma nish?] I personally think it doesn't sound the best
from aestetical point of view... :) But maybe I'm just too old-fashioned...
3. How are you?
(m) - "How are you doing?" (when talking to male.)
When talking to
שְׁלוֹמֵךְ? [ ma shlomekh]
Also, sometimes you can hear variations:
?מַה שְׁלוֹם כְּבוֹדוֹ
- [ma shlom kvodo]
- "How Your Honor is doing?" - either very respectful or a little ironic.
?מַה שְׁלוֹם הַגְּבֶרֶת
- [ma shlom ha-geveret]
- "How are you doing, Ma'am?"
?מַה שְׁלוֹם גְּבִרְתִּי
- [ma shlom gvirti]
- "How are you doing, (my) Lady?"
?מַה שְׁלוֹם הָאָדוֹן?
- [ma shlom ha-adon]
- "How are you doing, Sir?"
?מַה שְׁלוֹם אֲדוֹנִי
- [ma shlom adoni]
- "How are you doing, (my) Sir?"
4. Good morning!
בּוֹקֶר טוֹב -
tov ] - Good morning! - and we answer:
!בּוֹקֵר אוֹר -
or ] - "Morning (full) of light!"
עֶרֶב טוֹב -
tov ] - Good evening!
Variations (again, all those are greetings, not
!בּוֹקֶר מְצוּיָּן -
[ boker metzuyan
] - (Have an) excellent morning!
!עֶרֶב נָעִים -
na`im ] - (Have a) nice evening!
נָעִים is not plural;
the plural of נָעִים
would be נְעִימִים
!עֶרֶב מְצוּיָּן -
- Excellent evening!
צָהֳרַיִם טוֹבִים -
- Good afternoon (literally: Good noon, since
"middle of the day") Since
צָהֳרַיִם is plural (rather
the adjective טוב
gets its plural form
If you're trying to be polite, don't forget to
add something line "Sir", or "my Lady", as mentioned above.
Well, although it's not exactly greeting, but for
"Sweet dreams" we say in Hebrew:
לַיְלָה טוֹב -
[erev tov] - Good night! (same as Sweet dreams!)
You also can say
שֵׁינָה טוֹבָה - [
sheina tova ] - literally: (Have a) good sleep!
What about saying "have a good night" as
farewell? Let's keep this as possible topic for the next article.
5. What's going on?
?מַה קוֹרֶה -
[ma kore] - "what's going on"
You may also say "ma kore itkha" (m) / "ma kore
itakh" - literally it's "what's going on with you?" - but this phrase in English
might sound rather like "what's wrong with you?" The Hebrew phrase "ma kore
itkha?" may be use both as greeting or (with slightly different voice, huh) as
"what's wrong" phrase too.
[ itkha ]
- "what's going on"
[ itakh ]
- "what's going on"
?נוּ, אַז מה קורה איתך - [az ma kore
itkha, habibi] - "So, what's going on (with you)?"
6. How's everything?
הַמַּצָּב - [ ma ha-matzav?
] - it's translated as "How's eveything?", or literally "what's the
state (of the affairs)?", while the word
מצב means literally
7. Yet Another How's everything?
הָעִנְיָנִים - [ ma ha-inyanim?
], and with "ha-" part disappearing, it turns into
?מה עניינים -
[ ma `inyanim?
The most adequate translation of
עניינים in this
context is probably "all kinds of things". "How's everything?", that's what the
עניינים is plural of
the word עִנְיָן
[ `inyan ]
which has the meaning of "matter, business", and also "interest (in something)".
(The letter Yud might be doubled when writing without vowels.)
?מה עניינים, אחי --
How's everything, (my) brother?
!בָּרוּך הַבָּא -
ha-ba ] - it means Welcome!, and literally translates as
"Blessed is the comer". Somebody is coming in, and those meeting him (in their
house, for example) are blessing him, that's what it is.
- [ brukhim
- Same thing as the former, but the greeting is being told to more than
- Although rarely used nowadays, this would be a really nice reply to
those who are telling you Welcome. Literally it means "Blessed (are
those, who are) residing (here)!"
!בָּרוּך הַשָּׁב -
ha-shav ] - Another idiom of the same pattern; this is how you welcome
somebody who had gone and then returned: "Blessed (is) the (one who is)
9. How's going?
?אֵיך הוֹלֵך -
[ eikh holekh
] - Yep, it's almost literal translation of either English "How's going?"
or German "Wie geht es?" (which means exactly the same.)
10. What's new?
All the variations of "anything new?", when you
expect some news:
?מַה חָדָשׁ -
- "What's new?"
?נוּ,יֵש חֲדָשוֹת -
[ nu, yesh chadashot?
] - "Any news?" The "Nu" is optional, of course. :)
You can say just: Hi!
Do I really need to translate it? :)
just bring the Hebrew spelling of this word:
Obviously, this one is borrowed from English. And
another one, quite popular, was borrowed from Arabic:
] - hello - is a short version of Arabic "Ahalan wa-sahalan"
As you can see, even these "10 ways" are giving you enough of learning
materials. :) Enjoy!