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Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
10-18-2010, 11:27 AM (This post was last modified: 10-18-2010 11:29 AM by YYZ Skinhead.)
Post: #1
Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
A lot of people on this forum can translate Hebrew at the drop of a hat. Where and how did you learn it, if you aren't Israeli?

I am a linguistics addict and I "collect" languages the way I "collect" uncommon names and scientific jargon. I know some very basic Greek and Latin because of my obsession with taxonomy and the periodic table, but I would like to learn the grammar of both tongues. I discovered a while ago that the letter names in the Greek alphabet are essentially identical to the names of Hebrew letters because both have the same ancient Semitic roots (aleph, bet, gimel, dalet = alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc). Is it hard for a Westerner who grew up only speaking English to learn Hebrew? Reading 10294

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10-18-2010, 03:09 PM
Post: #2
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
Personally I do not find Hebrew a hard language to learn compared to many of the languages out there.
There are many tools out there for those who wish to learn the language.
You can choose to attend lessons with a private teacher.
Or you could use a combination of books and software and thus learn in your own time.
Despite having to learn a whole new alphabet, I found learning hebrew easier than learning german for example.
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10-18-2010, 04:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(10-18-2010 11:27 AM)YYZ Skinhead Wrote:  A lot of people on this forum can translate Hebrew at the drop of a hat. Where and how did you learn it, if you aren't Israeli?

I am a linguistics addict and I "collect" languages the way I "collect" uncommon names and scientific jargon. I know some very basic Greek and Latin because of my obsession with taxonomy and the periodic table, but I would like to learn the grammar of both tongues. I discovered a while ago that the letter names in the Greek alphabet are essentially identical to the names of Hebrew letters because both have the same ancient Semitic roots (aleph, bet, gimel, dalet = alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc). Is it hard for a Westerner who grew up only speaking English to learn Hebrew? Reading 10294

Very interesting! Did you know that Hebrew and Greek come from the same language source - maybe that's why the similarities Biggrin And, Greek used to read from right to left like Hebrew. Just some fun facts for the day!!!

I don't know Hebrew at all. But I do have some awesome stuff on my e-sword and I am familiar with Hebrew after hanging around Jewish and Hebraic stuff for several years. I wanted to learn Hebrew, but it refuses to stick in my mind. I think I am too old Smiley_65 I google everything and check out lots of sources and there is stuff packed in my brain from all the studying.

The only issue I have seen with learning Hebrew is that you need to careful where you are getting your study material from. Not too long ago someone told they were learning Hebrew which was being explained and defined through the Talmud. That kind of made me go, whoa - because of the kabbalah issues. The Talmudic/kabbalistic system will explain the letters and numbers as having numerical value [gematria] and the letters as word pictures also with kabbalistic understandings. I think Rosetta Stone does this, but not sure. For some reason it sticks in my head. If I am wrong, please let me know!
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12-28-2010, 11:36 PM
Post: #4
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
One of the best sources for learning Hebrew is Ulpan classes. These are the classes that are given to immigrants to Israel and are sanctioned by the Israeli government. They offer classes online where you attend weekly lessons with a teacher (in Israel) and other students (from around the world). in a virtual classroom. It is a little expensive, but if one can afford it they are the best.

Jacob
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12-29-2010, 05:41 PM (This post was last modified: 12-29-2010 05:45 PM by sheep wrecked.)
Post: #5
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(12-28-2010 11:36 PM)Backpacker Wrote:  One of the best sources for learning Hebrew is Ulpan classes. These are the classes that are given to immigrants to Israel and are sanctioned by the Israeli government. They offer classes online where you attend weekly lessons with a teacher (in Israel) and other students (from around the world). in a virtual classroom. It is a little expensive, but if one can afford it they are the best.

Jacob

As you are familiar with this system, I am curious as to how the Hebrew is taught? At one time, I was looking at one of these "virtual" Hebrew websites and discovered that Hebrew was being taught from a Rabbinic/kabbalalistic perspective [gematria and pictures assigned to the letters]. So I was curious if the Ulpan classes are doing the same thing?
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12-29-2010, 05:54 PM
Post: #6
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
From what I have heard, at ulpan the pace can be rather hurried and lessons are conducted mostly in hebrew from the start.Thus I doubt that they would be a good idea for a complete newbie who is not actually residing in Israel.
Even for new olim, ulpans can be harrowing and many do drop out.So seeing as online ulpans are expensive I'd urge readers caution in signing up for one until they have a better grasp of the basics.
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12-29-2010, 06:52 PM (This post was last modified: 12-29-2010 06:56 PM by Backpacker.)
Post: #7
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(12-29-2010 05:41 PM)sheep wrecked Wrote:  As you are familiar with this system, I am curious as to how the Hebrew is taught? At one time, I was looking at one of these "virtual" Hebrew websites and discovered that Hebrew was being taught from a Rabbinic/kabbalalistic perspective [gematria and pictures assigned to the letters]. So I was curious if the Ulpan classes are doing the same thing?

The company that I went through has two different courses, one is for modern Hebrew and the other is for Biblical Hebrew. I took the modern Hebrew course so I am unable to comment on the Biblical Hebrew course except to say that I have seen some demos of these classes and I saw nothing but vocabular and grammar, no kabbalah or gematria. The modern Hebrew has no connection whatsoever to the Bible, Talmud or Kabbalah, it is strictly the Hebrew used in Israel today.

Jacob
(12-29-2010 05:54 PM)Rose of Shushan Wrote:  From what I have heard, at ulpan the pace can be rather hurried and lessons are conducted mostly in hebrew from the start.Thus I doubt that they would be a good idea for a complete newbie who is not actually residing in Israel.
Even for new olim, ulpans can be harrowing and many do drop out.So seeing as online ulpans are expensive I'd urge readers caution in signing up for one until they have a better grasp of the basics.

When you sign up for the class they call you and ask you some questions to determine your current level of Hebrew in order to place you in the appropriate level. I went straight into the intermmediate level so I bypassed the beginning level so I do not know how the beginning level classes are run. But in the intermediate it is strictly in Hebrew.

You do bring up a good point, the classes are tough and a little overwhelming and it takes real dedication and determination to go through the course.

Jacob
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12-29-2010, 07:56 PM
Post: #8
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(12-29-2010 06:52 PM)Backpacker Wrote:  
(12-29-2010 05:41 PM)sheep wrecked Wrote:  As you are familiar with this system, I am curious as to how the Hebrew is taught? At one time, I was looking at one of these "virtual" Hebrew websites and discovered that Hebrew was being taught from a Rabbinic/kabbalalistic perspective [gematria and pictures assigned to the letters]. So I was curious if the Ulpan classes are doing the same thing?

The company that I went through has two different courses, one is for modern Hebrew and the other is for Biblical Hebrew. I took the modern Hebrew course so I am unable to comment on the Biblical Hebrew course except to say that I have seen some demos of these classes and I saw nothing but vocabular and grammar, no kabbalah or gematria. The modern Hebrew has no connection whatsoever to the Bible, Talmud or Kabbalah, it is strictly the Hebrew used in Israel today.

I don't think you are aware that Judaic Hebrew is Talmudic/kabbalistic. That is the foundation of their religion and their language today. If one chooses to study Hebrew simply based on it as a language, aware of the propensity of the mysticism, then it can be learned in spite of. But those learning Hebrew or knowing it from birth as a Jew have most definitely been influenced by the mysticism.
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12-29-2010, 10:35 PM (This post was last modified: 12-29-2010 10:37 PM by Backpacker.)
Post: #9
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(12-29-2010 07:56 PM)sheep wrecked Wrote:  I don't think you are aware that Judaic Hebrew is Talmudic/kabbalistic. That is the foundation of their religion and their language today. If one chooses to study Hebrew simply based on it as a language, aware of the propensity of the mysticism, then it can be learned in spite of. But those learning Hebrew or knowing it from birth as a Jew have most definitely been influenced by the mysticism.

I have to admit that this is news to me, while I am not a native born speaker of Hebrew (in fact I am told I have a very American accent to my Hebrew, go figure LOL) I do know many who are. Could you give me some examples of what you are speaking about?

יעקוב (Jacob)
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12-30-2010, 03:22 PM
Post: #10
RE: Is it hard to learn Hebrew?
(12-29-2010 10:35 PM)Backpacker Wrote:  
(12-29-2010 07:56 PM)sheep wrecked Wrote:  I don't think you are aware that Judaic Hebrew is Talmudic/kabbalistic. That is the foundation of their religion and their language today. If one chooses to study Hebrew simply based on it as a language, aware of the propensity of the mysticism, then it can be learned in spite of. But those learning Hebrew or knowing it from birth as a Jew have most definitely been influenced by the mysticism.

I have to admit that this is news to me, while I am not a native born speaker of Hebrew (in fact I am told I have a very American accent to my Hebrew, go figure LOL) I do know many who are. Could you give me some examples of what you are speaking about?

I find that a rather interesting response considering how much you are promoting your Hebrew scholarship. Surely you cannot be unaware of the Talmudic influence on the Hebrew language today Swoon
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