Advice on Hebrew

Discussion in 'Languages' started by SemperEruditio, Aug 28, 2009.

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  1. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    I'm taking Hebrew at RTS-Washington starting Monday. Any tips to make it a productive year? Thanks
  2. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

  3. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Definitely. Try to internalize it as much as possible, which means original composition. You remember what you actively speak or write much more than what you passively hear or read. As soon as you acquire a little bit of vocab, try to create sentences, or even just phrases, of your own. You can learn your vocab this way, too. Write sentences in English, but plop in your Hebrew word. As you learn more Hebrew, you can start writing the whole sentence in Hebrew, just like you (I'm guessing) did in school to learn English vocab.
  4. cbryant

    cbryant Puritan Board Freshman

    Which book are you using? If you're not using Ross' text then I would get it because in some ways it explains things better. Also, most books have you memorize words in the QAL stem. Ask your prof if he knows of a way to get a list of words (in order of frequency from most used to least) in the stem in which they occur. When drilling Hebrew vowels, write them over and over and over.
  5. rpavich

    rpavich Puritan Board Freshman

    what a great tip! I never thought of that!

    I've been teaching myself Greek for about 2 years now and this is just what the doctor ordered!!
  6. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    We'll be using Futato's Beginning Biblical Hebrew.

    -----Added 8/28/2009 at 10:19:43 EST-----

    Thanks Charlie. This just makes sense but I wouldn't have bothered with it. Makes sense. My assumption is doing the same thing with Greek when that time comes?
  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    It depends somewhat on who your teacher is and what book you are using. But the basics are pretty important early on. Memorize your vocab. Memorize your paradigms. It's hard but you have to do it. And don't sit there for 2 hours straight trying to memorize stuff, that's brain torture. Spend 10 minutes doing your flash cards or paradigms then take an hour or 2 off from that and then do it again for 10 minutes etc. Your memorization function stops working after 10-15minutes and it becomes very hard. So do frequent but short memorization work.

    Start reading through your text book now just to begin familiarizing yourself with the material. Always read at least a chapter ahead in the book so that you can start processing the information before the class lecture and things will usually click faster in your brain. Try to stay ahead on the vocabulary memorization too.

    For me, Hebrew was difficult the first semester because it was so foreign and the grammar rules were so different. But in the second semester everything just clicked and it made sense and I grew to love it. The challenging part will be to keep it up after the Hebrew classes are over.
  8. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior


    Yes, Greek as well. I was taking French in 9th grade and started writing my history notes in French (as much as I could, which wasn't always much). Even though I haven't formally studied since 10th grade, I still have a number of sentences that I can reproduce without much conscious effort and I can read a French Bible not too poorly.

    My wife and I speak some Greek to one another, even though she's never formally studied. Little phrases like αγαπω σε (I love you), θελω βρωσιν (I want food), φιλησον με (kiss me!), and καλη εστιν γυνη μου (my wife is beautiful), and πορευομαι τω ΜκΔοναλζω αγοραζειν αμβυργερον (I'm going to McDonald's to buy a hamburger) may not seem like they help much, but they start putting the language into your head in such a way that you internalize it.

    The key in any language is to move up from one sound at a time to one word at a time to finally being able to chunk sentences intuitively. For example, take this sentence: "Bobby, our star hitter, smashed the baseball over the fence."

    Now, a native English speaker might divide that sentence like this: Bobby, our star hitter, | smashed | the baseball | over the fence.

    There are other ways, but probably no one will do this: Bobby | our star | hitter smashed | the | baseball over | the fence.

    That is nonsensical. In the same way, the goal in any language acquisition is to get to the level where you can put thought units together intuitively, rather than just trying to make a word-for-word exchange. Composition, spoken or written, will get you to that level.
  9. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks guys! This is some great stuff. I can't wait to learn Hebrew and Greek and get a deeper understanding of God's word. I would like to get to the point where I can read and write the original languages as well as I do English and Spanish. It starts with Hebrew on Monday! Thanks again!!
  10. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Composition is definitely the best way to learn a language. You really need to know a language in order to compose in it, even simple sentences. You also begin to understand better the nuance between words - do I use [FONT=&quot]φρονε[/FONT][FONT=&quot]́[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ω[/FONT][FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]or [/FONT][FONT=&quot]νομι[/FONT][FONT=&quot]́[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ζω[/FONT][FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]or [/FONT][FONT=&quot]δοκε[/FONT][FONT=&quot]́[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ω [/FONT]to translate "think"?

    I have to admit, the prospect of composing in Hebrew seems very daunting to me. I have done extensive composition in Latin and Greek, but Hebrew is beyond me.

    For Greek composition, there are some excellent resources (basically PDFs of old composition books) on Textkit:

    Explore Textkit's Ancient Greek Learning Books

    Greek Composition Textbooks

    First Greek Writer, Arthur Sidgwick
    Greek Prose Composition, North and Hillard
    Introduction to Greek Prose Composition, Arthur Sidgwick
    Lectures on Greek Prose Composition, Arthur Sidgwick
    Selections from the Septuagint, Conybeare and Stock

    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
  11. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Thanks, Fred!

    Does anyone have a review of the Reader's Hebrew Old Testament from Zondervan? Is it any good? I bought the UBS Readers NT and love it (and wouldn't have bought the Zondervan Reader's NT because it's not the UBS text) and have the leather TR from Trinitarian Bible Society - but would like to get into Hebrew at some point. Anyway, how do people like the Zondervan Readers Hebrew, if you've got it? Other versions you'd suggest?
  12. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    I have the Zondervan Reader's Hebrew OT. I haven't used it as much as their Greek NT, but it's a lot like it. The Hebrew is very legible. All words occurring under 100 frequency are footnoted (vocab), except proper nouns. All proper nouns occurring under 100 frequency are in a grey-colored text. Kinda strange, but helpful with Hebrew . . seeing as how, if you don't realize a given word is a proper noun, you might end up scratching your head for a while trying to figure out its meaning.
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