7 August 2016
In this article, we will take apart a real, unadapted news article from the today's Calcalist: SimilarWeb raises another 25 million dollars.
We will focus on how to understand vowelless Hebrew used in the articles and look at the examples of the expressions and grammatical structures used in newspaper language.
Open the link to the article in a separate tab and follow our comments below.
The title of the article reads:
This must be fairly simple as all words can be easily recognised as English-language borrowings, with the exception of עוֹד od "more, another, yet, still" and מְגַיֶּסֶת ~ מגייסת megayeset, the feminine singular present-tense form of לְגַיֵּס ~ לגייס legayes "to raise funds".
Note that the word for "company", חֶבְרָה chevra, is feminine in Hebrew, and so are all company names. This is why the feminine form is used.
Now look at the summary below the title:
The sentence starts with את. This could be either אַתְּ at "you" (said to a woman), or אֶת et, the direct object marker. One could hardly expect a financial news article to start with an address to the reader, so we must conclude that the sentence starts with the object סֶבֶב הַגִּיּוּס sevev ha-giyus "the funding round".
The same message could also be written as דייוויד אליאנס ונספרס מובילים את סבב הגיוס "David Alliance and Naspers lead the funding round" or סבב הגיוס מוּבָל עַל יְדֵי muval al-yedei דייוויד אליאנס ונספרס "the funding round is led by David Alliance and Naspers".
The word גִּיּוּס giyus "raising" is the regular name of action (shem peula) for the verb לְגַיֵּס ~ לגייס legayes above, and the word סֶבֶב sevev "round" has many cognates, all related to rotation and spinning.
If you are looking for cognates to help you remember the words, note that גּוֹלְשִׁים golshim "surfers" is the participle of the verb לִגְלֹשׁ ~ לגלוש liglosh "to surf, to glide", מְדִידָה medida "measurement" is the regular name of action for the verb לָמֹד ~ למוד lamod "to measure", and תְּנוּעָה tnu'a "movement" (here: "traffic") is the name of action for the verb לָנוּעַ lanua "to move".
Note that since the word מִילְיוֹן milyon "million" is masculine, the numerals before it need to be in the masculine as well: חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר chamisha asar "fifteen", עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה esrim va-chamisha "twenty five".
עַתָּה ata is a bookish term for "now"; עַכְשָׁו ~ עכשיו achshav is commonly used in speech instead.
Note that in this sentence, the verb precedes the subject. While in modern Hebrew the standard word order is subject-verb-object, the verb-subject-object order, more typical for Semitic languages, often occurs, especially in the sentences which start with an introductory adverb.
Now we are going on to the body of the article:
Most of the words must be familiar from the text above. The word נוֹסָפִים nosafim is the plural participle of the verb לְהִוָּסֵף ~ להיווסף lehivasef "to be added" and means "additional" or "another". אֲתָר atar is the Hebrew for "site", "website".
Like the previous line, this one mostly repeats what was said in the summary.
הִוָּסְדָהּ ~ היווסדה hivasda(h) is the bare infinitive of the verb לְהִוָּסֵד ~ להיווסד lehivased "to be founded, to be established" (related to Yesod and Mossad) with the third-person feminine singular pronominal ending: "her (its) being founded".
Note that numerals for years are feminine: שְׁנַת אַלְפַּיִם וְשֶׁבַע shnat alpayim ve-sheva "year 2007".
לְפִי le-f`i (literally: "to the mouth of") means "according to", "under" (a condition) and, in this case, "at" a valuation.
Note the inverted word order again. The word מַשְׁקִיעִים mashki'im "investors" is the masculine plural participle of לְהַשְׁקִיעַ lehashkia "to invest". Note that this verb is the causative of לִשְׁקֹעַ ~ לשקוע lishkoa "to sink, to drown": an investor is someone who "sinks" his money.
Remember that company names are feminine in Hebrew, so the internet holding Naspers is called עֲנָקִית anakit, literally "giantess". They are also definite, so the adjectives that follow them come with an article.
Note that the particle כ־, when used with quantities, means "approximately", "around", "about": כְּשָׁלוֹשׁ שָׁנִים ke-shalosh shanim "around three years".
קוֹדְמִים kodmim "preceding; earlier" is the participle of the verb לִקְדֹּם ~ לקדום likdom "to precede". מַנְכָּ''ל mankal (feminine form: מַנְכָּ''לִית mankalit) is the abbreviation of מְנַהֵל כְּלָלִי menahel klali, "general manager".
888 Holdings is an online gaming and gambling company. Note that the words אַרְבַּע arba "four" and שְׁמוֹנֶה shmone "eight" are stressed on the first syllable in the modern spoken language: arba, shmone (this only applies to the feminine forms, not to the masculine forms or any derived words).
The translation above is word-for-word; Moshe Lichtman's title in Microsoft in English was Vice President; he was responsible for developing several lines of business and also was the head of Microsoft's research centre in Israel. Yossi Vardi is one of Israel's oldest and earliest venture investors, who founded or invested in several dozens of companies over his career.
This is about half of the article. The Part 2 will follow shortly.
If you need more explanation or thing something must be covered differently, don't hesitate to comment below!
Reading a News Article: SimilarWeb raises $25m – Part 2
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