Learn the Hebrew Alphabet - Lesson 4
Lamed & Vav
By Jeff A. Benner
The "lamed" is pronounced "l" as in long. When the lamed is prefixed to a word it means "to" or "for".
The "vav" is pronounced "v" as in visit. When the vav is prefixed to a word it means "and".
The Sh'va. This vowel is usually used as a syllalbe break and is silent, but when it is not used as a syllable break it is pronounced "e" as in elephant.
The Segol. This vowel is pronounced "e" as in elephant.
When a syllable includes one of the "a" vowels and is followed by the consonant "yud", the pronunciation is "ah-y", which, when said quickly sounds like "ai" as in aisle. An example is the word lai-lah (Vocabulary Word #1). Note that this rule does not apply to words like ma-yim (Vocabulary Word #3) as the "a" is at the end of the first syllable and the "y" is the beginning of the second syllable.
In some languages nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter . Hebrew is much the same, all nouns are either masculine or feminine (there is no neuter).
The "yud-mem" combination is the masculine plural ending, similar to the the "s" ending for English plural nouns.
When the dagesh (the dot in the middle of a letter) is placed within some letters, such as in the nun in the word for "Here [am] I" in the vocabulary list below, it doubles the letter. Therefore, this letter would be pronounced "hin-ney-niy" rather than "hi-ney-niy".