“Ve,” “Va” or “Oo”

Photo: Zipa Kempinsky

Vé- (and in Hebrew) is sometimes pronounced Va- or Oo-, depending on the usage. So when is the letter ו at the beginning of a word pronounced Vé, Va or Oo? And should Hebrew learners invest their time to learn these elaborate rules?

New Words and Expressions:

Ve – And – ו (letter vav)

“Al safsal ba-gan yoshevet, u-frachim bi-se’ara” – “She’s sitting on a bench, with flowers in her hair” – על ספסל בגן יושבת, ופרחים בשערה

Vav + בומ”פ letters = U

U-fra-chim – And flowers (archaic) – ופרחים

“U-shku’a ba-halomot” – “And submerged in her dreams” – ושקועה בחלומות

“Va-ani tsipor” – “And I am a bird” – ואני ציפור

Masa-u-matan – Negotiations – משא ומתן

Basar va-dam – Flesh and blood – בשר ודם

“Mita va-hetsi” – “A bed and a half” – מיטה וחצי

Hamesh va-hetsi – Half past five – חמש וחצי

Shesh va-reva – Quarter past six o’clock – שש ורבע

Yomam va-laila – Day and night – יומם ולילה

“Esrim ve-arba sheva” – 24-7 – עשרים וארבע שבע

Ze mamash yom va-laila eich she’hu hishtana – It’s amazing how this person changed – זה ממש יום ולילה איך שהוא השתנה

Playlist and Clips:

Be’ad o neged – בעד או נגד

Gali Atari – Yesh Lecha Shemesh (lyrics)

Gali Atari – Derech Aruka (lyrics)

Masa u-matan (KAN TV)

Ayala Ingedashet – Basar va-dam (lyrics)

Mita va-hetsi – A bed and a half

Shtayim – Shesh Va-reva (lyrics)

Corinne Alal – Sfat Imi (lyrics)

Kaveret – Ba-yom u-va-laila (lyrics)

Previous Episodes

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 StreetwiseHebrew.com or follow him on Twitter.

3 comments on ““Ve,” “Va” or “Oo”

  1. ian says:

    I unfortunately can’t hear the episode but I can read the text.
    I see examples of “oo” and “va” typed out.
    Are there examples of “ve”? If so could they be typed out here?
    Toda rabah!

    1. Guy Sharett says:

      Hi Ian
      Thanks for the message.
      Is there a way you’ll be able to listen to this episode, on podcast apps maybe? Or checking the Hebrew version, which has a PDF with my text?
      Basically I explain why ve- should be the default in spoken Hebrew.

  2. Danielle Rosenberg says:

    I thought that using BUMAF was the rule and all letters with a shva underneath were preceded by u instead of ve

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Your email address will not be published.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)