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In Hebrew: ‘To the Right’; ‘To the Left’

A daily dose of Hebrew.

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יְמִינָה, שְׂמֹאלָה This post will help you understand directions given to you, as well as provide them yourself when asked in Israel. It’s material we empower our students with in our Level 1 class.

We saw last week that the Hebrew terms for right and left are יָמִין and שְׂמֹאל, respectively.That’s right and left by themselves. But when giving and receiving directions – where in English we talk about to the right and to the left, Hebrew adds the ah vowel to the end of the word, so that we have:

יְמִינָהto the right

שְׂמֹאלָהto the left

For example:

צָרִיךְ לִפְנוֹת יְמִינָה בָּרַמְזוֹר, וְאָז שְׂמֹאלָה בַּכִּכָּר.
You have to (literally, one must) turn right at the traffic light, and then left at the roundabout.
This ah ending, used in Biblical Hebrew, gives a noun a directional sense. Some other examples in contemporary use are:

צָפוֹנָהto the north/northward
דָּרוֹמָהto the south/southward
מִזְרָחָהto the east/eastward
מַעֲרָבָהto the west/westward
And of course, one of the political parties in this week’s election:

קָדִימָהforward
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Ami Steinberger

About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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