Modern Hebrew is spoken by about 9 million people worldwide (about 2 million of whom are not considered fluent speakers). Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language and the official language of Israel, as well as an official minority language in Poland. Hebrew is part of the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family and dates back as far as the 10th century BCE. Between the 3rd century BCE and the 19th century, Hebrew was not a spoken language, but it remained a literary language throughout that period. Hebrew is therefore unique in that it is the only example of the revival of a dead language.
Modern Hebrew, the language that is spoken today, evolved from Classical or Biblical Hebrew which is still used for prayer. Hebrew is written from right to left and the Hebrew alphabet contains 22 consonants and no vowels.
Learning Hebrew is a popular and fascinating undertaking for many language students, as it enables them to access historical and cultural literary works, most notably The Bible, in the original language without the need to rely on translation.
Free Resources to Learn Hebrew
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app/website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Learn Hebrew by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Clozemaster – iTunes – Google Play – The Clozemaster app is regarded as a good next step after completing Duolingo. This app also uses gamification as a language learning tool and serves as a way to increase fluency through exposure to vocabulary in context.
Write It! Hebrew – Google Play – The Write It! Hebrew is the first writing recognition app for Hebrew, which teaches users how to write the Hebrew Alphabet using the correct stroke order.
Beginner Hebrew – Google Play – This app is based on the “learn a word a day” concept and uses a simple and direct approach to teaching Hebrew to beginners.
Free Hebrew Dictionary/Translation Apps
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
The Free Dictionary By Farlex – iTunes – Google Play – This dictionary and thesaurus app provides millions of precise definitions, drawn from the most trusted industry publications and sources, including idioms, slang, and etymology of words. The Free Dictionary works offline and offers additional functionality like voice search, sharing, games, word of the day, and more.
Reverso Dictionary – iTunes – Google Play – This app serves as a dictionary and translator for millions of words and expressions, accompanied by contextual examples. Other features include a powerful linguistic search engine, natural pronunciation, phrasebook, flashcards and more.
Hebrew Locker – Google Play – This app teaches the pronunciation of 4,000 high-frequency words and phrases, focusing on repetition and memorization.
Learn Hebrew with HebrewPod101.com – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Hebrew language learning regimen.
Travel Linguist Hebrew 101 Video Lessons – This series of 20 short videos covers basic introductory vocabulary.
Easy Hebrew – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Hebrew speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Hebrew and English.
Biblical Hebrew for Beginners – YouTube – This free Classical Hebrew course is based on the Manesca method, which involves listening and repeating, performing exercises and learning how to answer simple questions, all of which gradually contribute to fluency. The course contains 56 videos and is taught by Evan der Millner.
Beginner Hebrew Lessons – YouTube – Maha is a very enthusiastic Hebrew language teacher and her YouTube videos are thoughtfully prepared. This channel features 18 Hebrew lessons.
Elementary Hebrew Video Course – iTunes – Theology Professor Dr. Andrew H. Bartelt teaches Elementary Hebrew course with guest speaker Dr. David Adams.
Language for Everyone Biblical Hebrew Grammar Lessons – YouTube – This video series teaches Biblical Hebrew Grammar according to the tradition of the Yemenite Jews.
Learn Hebrew with HebrewPod101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Hebrew language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
Hebrew SurvivalPhrases – iTunes – These fun and innovative audio lessons teach basic Hebrew and are accompanied by PDF guides.
Learn Hebrew by Complete Language Lessons – Spotify – 12 free Hebrew lessons on Spotify.
Colloquial Hebrew: The Complete Course for Beginners – This collection of audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Hebrew language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Hebrew: The Complete Course for Beginners textbook, which is a book aimed at teaching Hebrew to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Hebrew Basic Course – The Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State) originally created this and many other language learning courses to train government employees and members of the foreign service in preparation for a post abroad. This course was designed to train participants to speak Hebrew naturally with native speakers while exuding confidence and using an accurate accent. It focuses heavily on pronunciation and preparing students for real-life conversations. 24 units are encompassed over the two volumes and include textbooks in PDF format and audio lessons as MP3s. This course is accompanied by an e-textbook with 583 pages and 60 audio files with a running time of 21 hours and 48 minutes.
Hebrew Alphabet Mini-Course on Udemy – This short course will introduce you to the Hebrew Alphabet and teach you how to pronounce the letters.
Biblical Hebrew Grammar Course by Dr. Bill Barrick – This course was initially taught at the Master’s Seminary in California over the course of a year, divided by two semesters at a pace of 2 classes per week. The Hebrew Grammar Textbook, Hebrew Grammar Workbook, and Vocabulary List accompany the Video lectures and should be used regularly.
Intermediate Hebrew Course – This online course was developed by two University teachers for intermediate level Hebrew students who are looking to increase their vocabulary and improve their Hebrew speaking skills. This course consists of 14 lessons, each of which is 25-30 minutes in length, as well as a 15th bonus lesson which focuses on popular Hebrew phrases, proverbs, and idioms. Every lesson is accompanied by a PDF transcript, PDF vocabulary list and MP3 audio file which can all be downloaded.
BBC Languages: Hebrew – The BBC Hebrew Language website provides information about the Hebrew Alphabet, Common Hebrew Words and Phrases and some interesting facts about Hebrew. All BBC language learning pages were “archived” a few years back due to cost-cutting measures, which means they are no longer adding new information or updating the pages. However, you should have no problem accessing the existing information.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Hebrew, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
Biblical Hebrew Grammar Tutorial for Beginners – This educational website was originally created for the University of Texas at Austin students but is available for all Hebrew students to use. This tutorial provides an introduction to the basic grammar of Biblical Hebrew including an overview, lessons, and exercises. Additionally, students have access to a group of Biblical texts in Hebrew, accompanied by translations, transliterations, and audio.
Yours Truly Hebrew Lessons – The Yours Truly program was created by Esther Raizen of The University of Texas at Austin and is geared towards beginner to intermediate level Hebrew students. The fictional program depicts the lives of university students, over the course of twenty units. Each unit consists of pdf documents to coordinate with each vignette along with 8-12 exercises and audio files. Flashcards with sound, memory games and word glossaries are a great addition to the program.
The University of Texas at Austin Hebrew Language Sound Bites – This audio and video series was produced by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at UT Austin and features video interviews to teach listening comprehension to students and improve Hebrew skills.
The University of Texas at Austin Hebrew Language Video Clips – These videos were produced by Esther Raizen and Yaron Shemer of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at UT Austin. The clips are divided into three sections: The “Merav and Friends” series uses slow and clear dialogue for beginners, The “Rina and David” series uses nearly normal speech for intermediate students and The “Kobi and Eyal” series uses natural speech as spoken by native Hebrew speakers.
The University of Texas at Austin Hebrew Tutorials – These Hebrew tutorials are a great supplemental learning resource for students. Beginner, Intermediate and Independent level tutorials are available which feature include flashcards, games, and activities.
CoolJugator – CoolJugator is a verb conjugator website that makes conjugation easy and straightforward.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Hebrew with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Polly Lingual – This website offers some fun games, exercises and beginner level instruction with lessons that include text and audio.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Hebrew lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Hebrew with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Verbix – Online Hebrew verb conjugator.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Hebrew Tutorial – This Language Survival Kit Module for Hebrew contains basic vocabulary with audio. Both the audio files and the PDF text can be downloaded.
I Love Languages Hebrew Lessons – This site provides 17 beginner Hebrew lessons designed to help you improve your speaking, reading, and writing skills. Supplementary resources include vocabulary, grammar tips, and phrases.
LingvoSoft Hebrew Phrasebook – This site offers a basic phrasebook format with text and audio to help you learn essential Hebrew vocabulary. It also offers a version of the phrasebook that uses the Romanized script.
Linguanaut: Hebrew Vocabulary – This free website offers a very basic introduction to Hebrew vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. Although it does not provide audio to accompany the vocabulary, it can be a handy resource list.
Surface Languages – This website helps you to learn words, phrases, and expressions in many different languages using audio, flashcards, language learning games and mini-courses.
Hebrew for Christians – This website aims to increase Hebrew literacy and does so with thousands of pages of free Hebrew lessons, tutorials, and information.
Teach Me Hebrew – This site teaches modern Israeli Hebrew with hundreds of thorough self-study lessons with text and audio. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level students can all benefit from this comprehensive content.
Fast Track Hebrew Course – By transliterating all text to English, this course allows students to increase the speed at which they can learn Hebrew grammar and acquire new vocabulary. The Verb Roots Register of the most common verbs and conjugations is a great resource, as well.
Ancient Hebrew Research Center Hebrew Lessons – This website features 17 in-depth lessons by teacher Jeff Benner. The first 12 lessons teach the Hebrew alphabet, including a practice section, vocabulary words, and phrases accompanied by audio. In lessons, 13 through 16 students will learn about Hebrew verbs, nouns, adjectives and more vocabulary. Lesson 17 provides an opportunity to practice translation skills.
Pealim Verb Tables – This handy site features conjugations and definitions of more than 5,000 Hebrew words. The verb tables provide visitors with a quick and easy way to check conjugations for Hebrew verbs, find verb forms, and even look up the definitions of words.
Magic Typer Hebrew Keyboard – This website application allows users to type in Hebrew using the standard Hebrew keyboard.
Hebrew at Stanford Multimedia Webpages – This website was created by Stanford University to provide free and open learning materials to Hebrew students worldwide. The available learning resources include Drills, 20 Hebrew lessons, Video Clips and Learning Tools including Alphabet Learning Tools and a Reading Tool.
Lingohut Phrasebook – This site features over 100 Hebrew lessons with vocabulary words and phrases and audio for beginners.
Transliterate – This free tool provides online Hebrew transliteration from Logos Bible Software.
Study Stack Flashcards – This website hosts plenty of flashcard sets for studying Hebrew.
Hebrew-Verbs – This website is a great study guide and grammar reference. With a free membership, you can access 350 verb and their conjugations with example sentences and flip cards.
Gamba – This Hebrew language learning website requires some prior knowledge of the language since it is entirely in Hebrew, and provides great exercises for learning and practicing. It was developed with the academic and pedagogical support of Hadad Center at Bar-Ilan University.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8 and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
Google News – Read the world news in Hebrew with Google News.
SBS Radio Hebrew Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Hebrew program, including Australian and world news.
Maariv – This is a top newspaper in Israel
Haaretz – This is the longest running newspaper in Israel.
Makor Rishon – This is a conservative Israeli newspaper.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Morfix – Morfix is regarded as the leading online Hebrew-English dictionary. This free dictionary provides translations, pronunciation sounds, usage examples, slang, idioms and more.
Babylon Hebrew Dictionary – Babylon is a free online dictionary that provides clear and reliable definitions for words and phrases, including slang and business terms.
The Master’s Seminary: A Grammar For Biblical Hebrew – This 200-page ebook by William D. Barrick and Irvin A. Busenitz provides a well-rounded overview of Biblical Hebrew Grammar.
Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar by Wilhelm Gesenius – For over a century this comprehensive Hebrew Grammar book has been one of the most referenced and trusted resources for classical Hebrew.
Biblical Hebrew: A Student Grammar by John A. Cook and Robert D. Holmstedt – This 244-page e-textbook is meant to accompany a 30-week university level Hebrew class at The University of Toronto. It contains 30 lessons and educates students on ancient Hebrew grammar and introduces the student to the standard Biblical Hebrew lexicon.
Biblical Hebrew Grammar Summary – This one page PDF Hebrew Grammar summary is handy to have on hand for reference.
The Online Hebrew Tutorial by Ben Stitz – This 72 page PDF tutorial can be considered a complete course and teaches both Biblical and Modern Hebrew, although Modern Hebrew as it is currently spoken in Israel is emphasized.
Learning Hebrew from Genesis, Aleph Edition – This book by Benjamin Cooper focuses on teaching Biblical Hebrew grammar.
Word Occurrences: Gimmel Edition – This book by Benjamin Cooper is a frequency based Biblical Hebrew vocabulary.
Counting Roots: Beit Edition – This book by Benjamin Cooper a gematria based Biblical Hebrew dictionary.
What Are Your Favorite Free Hebrew Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.