Repeat the mantra: I will become a fluent Hebrew speaker. But how do we say ‘become’ in Hebrew? ‘Nihya,’ which is passive of Hebrew verb ‘lihyot,’ or ‘to be.’ TLV1’s language Jedi Guy Sharett explains.


Listen to the All-Hebrew Version of this Episode


New words & expressions:

Pitom nihya kayits – Suddenly it became summer – פתאום נהיה קיץ

Nihya – It has become – נהיה

Ma nihya (niya)? – What’s going on? – ?מה נהיה

Shu sar? (Arabic) – What’s happened? – شو صار؟

Shu sar ma’ak? (Arabic) – What’s happened with you? – شو صار معك؟

Ma nihya im + mishu –  What’s with + someone – מה נהיה עם + מישהו

Ma nihya?! – What’s going on?! – ?!מה נהיה

Tagidi, ma nihya itach – Tell me (f.), what’s going on with you – תגידי, מה נהיה איתך

Ma nihya itcha, itach, itchem, itchen – What’s with you (m.), you (f.), you (pl. m), you (pl. f) – מה נהיה איתך, איתך, איתכם, איתכן

Ma nihya mimeni? – What has become of me? – ?מה נהיה ממני

Ma nihya ita? – What’s with her? – ?מה נהיה איתה

Ma nihya mimena? – What’s happened to her? – ?מה נהיה ממנה

Hu nihya me’atsben ba-zman ha-acharon – He has become irritating lately – הוא נהיה מעצבן בזמן האחרון

Hu nihya ben adam – He became a man (mature, adult) – הוא נהיה בן אדם

Hi nihyta isha pitom – She suddenly became a woman – היא נהייתה אישה פתאום

Hem nihyu bnei adam – They became adults – הם נהיו בני אדם

Ma nihyet li lady? – Now you’re playing a lady? – ?מה נהיית לי ליידי

Hu nihya li angli alek – He’s playing a Brit (as if) – הוא נהיה לי אנגלי עאלק

Tir’i im ze nihya – See if it’s ready – תראי אם זה נהיה


Playlist and clips:
Eran Zur – Kayits (lyrics)
Ehab Qawasmi – Shu Sar
Or Fairouz – Shu Sar
Ofir Cohen – Tagidi Ma Nihya (lyrics)
Liran Aviv – Ma Nihya (lyrics)
Shotei Ha-nevu’a – Yefehfiya  (lyrics)


Want to see more Hebrew gems? Like Streetwise Hebrew on Facebook and Instagram.
Want Guy to talk about a pressing Hebrew issue? Find him at or follow him on Twitter.

2 comments on “Master of Slang You Will ‘Become’

  1. Ira Garoon says:

    Hi. Just wondering when due you use נהיה and when to use להפוך for become? Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Listen on your favorite podcast app

Join our weekly newsletter

Receive Our Latest Podcast Episodes by Email

(and not a thing more)