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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.

חיצים ימינה ושמאלה

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:

יְמִינָה – to the right


שְׂמֹאלָה – to 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:

צָפוֹנָה – to the north/northward 
דָּרוֹמָה – to the south/southward
מִזְרָחָה – to the east/eastward
מַעֲרָבָה – to the west/westward

And of course, one of the political parties in this week’s election:

קָדִימָה – forward

Another great way to build your Hebrew vocabulary:
with a special discount for YDDH enthusiasts like yourself