Learning Biblical Hebrew

Page 1 of 1 (14 items)
This post has 13 Replies | 6 Followers

Posts 149
Alexander Fogassy | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Sep 26 2017 12:01 PM

i am enrolled in Seninary and just started elementary Hebrew. 

I want to learn it and really learn it, so I'm asking for suggestions on supplementary materia.

i saw this article and wanted to know if anyone had further thoughts on Dr. Futato's program. https://blog.logos.com/2015/01/learning-hebrew-with-logos-bible-software/

What really works for me is repitiion -- ideally something interactive. This is the case especially when it comes to grammar. My textbook has some exercises but not enough to solidify my learning.

any success stories out? What program did you use? I've looked over Rosetta and Mango, which loo somewhat promising, but still unsure.

Posts 3219
Forum MVP
PetahChristian | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 12:48 PM

While there are plenty of Modern Hebrew programs that can interactively test your grammar and vocabulary, I don't know of any Biblical Hebrew programs that interactively test grammar.

If you want interactive repetition for vocabulary, Memrise has courses based on several different Biblical Hebrew textbooks.

Daily Dose of Hebrew has video lessons corresponding to Dr. Futato's Beginning Biblical Hebrew textbook, in addition to its Daily Dose videos.

Logos Mobile Ed also offers HB101 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, but there's not really any interactive/repetitive component to HB101 which drills you on vocabulary or grammar. (While there is a separate Logos Flashcard app, I've found that Memrise and other apps provide a better experience.)

Regarding Rosetta Stone and Mango, they teach Modern Hebrew.

IMO, learning Modern Hebrew helps with some vocabulary, but I've found that learning Biblical Hebrew helps far more to learn Modern Hebrew, than learning Modern Hebrew contributes to Biblical Hebrew. Unless you have a different reason to learn Modern Hebrew now, I'd just concentrate on Biblical Hebrew now, and save Modern Hebrew for later.

 If you are looking for a Modern Hebrew course, I'd recommend Duolingo.

Posts 85
Rick Carmickle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 1:00 PM

Zondervan has a sale on its video products, including Miles Van Pelt on Hebrew. This is a very good resource for those learning Hebrew.

http://info.zondervan.com/videolecturesdeal/ 

Posts 412
Mary-Ellen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 1:13 PM

PetahChristian:
Daily Dose of Hebrew has video lessons corresponding to Dr. Futato's Beginning Biblical Hebrew textbook, in addition to its Daily Dose videos.

Thanks for this link!

And don't forget the value of good old-fashioned writing by hand, with paper and pencil.  E.g., write out those paradigm charts over and over again, write down the vocabulary words that you aren't completely fluent with.  Write out the BeGaDKePaT letters with and without their dageshes.  Write out the vowel points.  Better yet, say all those words out loud as you write them, to get the information into your brain in as many modalities as possible.

What has helped me retain and refresh my own biblical language learning post-seminary is to now and again work through another beginner text like Futato's or another grammar, not the one I used in my Hebrew 101.  Revisiting the basics through varying pedagogical approaches will deepen your understanding.

And finally, the very most important thing to learn so that you can recite it in your sleep is the alphabet.  This Barney video plays in my mind every time I look for a word in a lexicon:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmIImOa0hY8

Dell XPS 8930/Intel Core i7-8700@3.20GHz/32GB RAM/Win10 Pro

Trekstor Primebook/Celeron/4GB RAM/Win10 Home

iPad Air/Pixel/Faithlife Connect

Posts 1366
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 3:50 PM

I really like this, but it's more for year 2. I keep requesting it in Logos, but no luck. 

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 9:35 PM

Alexander Fogassy:

i am enrolled in Seninary and just started elementary Hebrew. 

I want to learn it and really learn it, so I'm asking for suggestions on supplementary materia.

i saw this article and wanted to know if anyone had further thoughts on Dr. Futato's program. https://blog.logos.com/2015/01/learning-hebrew-with-logos-bible-software/

What really works for me is repitiion -- ideally something interactive. This is the case especially when it comes to grammar. My textbook has some exercises but not enough to solidify my learning.

any success stories out? What program did you use? I've looked over Rosetta and Mango, which loo somewhat promising, but still unsure.

If you want to learn not just about Hebrew but really learn Hebrew (as Hebrew), then you'll have to supplement the grammar-translation methods that most seminaries follow. For starters, I'd recommend checking out Randall Buth's materials at the Biblical Language Center. They currently have a deal on their new Online Courses, which expand upon their course materials for Living Biblical Hebrew: Part 1 and Living Koine Greek: Part 1. https://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/ 

There are many Modern Hebrew resources available if you eventually add that to your studies. It's definitely worth it in my opinion! There's enough shared vocabulary and grammar to make it well worth your while, although there are substantial differences as well. It'll provide you with many more opportunities for developing your fluency, which will improve your reading and listening comprehension.

If you're interested in verbal-aural, conversational-level fluency, which (again) translates to reading and listening fluency, then Pimsleur is probably a better investment than Rosetta Stone. Thankfully, I was able to acquire it through a massive sale on Audible.com last Summer (1-credit for 2-units); otherwise, it's rather expensive! Maybe another sale will come along one of these days. Otherwise, they have regular sales on their official site. http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-hebrew 

Alternatively (or additionally), you can check out free language courses from the Foreign Service Institute and others, although some of them are a bit dated but still useful. The audio quality in FSI's Hebrew course isn't the best but seems to improve later on, as I recall. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/index.html 

Prolog Digital offers some good supplemental audio and video materials that might be worth checking out. I acquired some of their audio materials in Audible's bi-annual, 50%-off sale. I'd probably start with some of the other materials first, however. http://learnhebrew.prolog.co.il/Languages/ProductsCatalog.aspx 

I saw that PetahChristian already recommend Duolingo's Modern Hebrew course. This is a good recommendation and a rather nice supplement to the other offerings, in my opinion! I'd just recommend first using something like Living Biblical Hebrew: Part 1, so you get a feel for learning and internalizing Hebrew as Hebrew. It's important that you begin connecting Hebrew expressions primarily to the various conceptualizations or ideas that they're used to convey in actual communicative contexts/situations—rather than merely trying to decode them into another language like English (which will never lead to actual fluency). Duolingo will focus largely on grammar and translation while providing many exercises that tend lack much context. It does, however, supplement this with audio recordings from native Hebrew speakers and translation exercises that include both Hebrew-to-English and English-to-Hebrew (which helps with spelling and composition). I understand that the course contributors plan to revise and upgrade the Hebrew tree sometime next year (2018).

I have absolutely nothing against grammar and translation. Actually, I'm interested in both areas of language-study. If I could go back, however, I would pursue spoken fluency and, at the very least, listening comprehension from the very start. I would have saved myself a lot of time, money, frustration, and mediocre results (for the effort invested).

I hope this helps!

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 10:09 PM

PetahChristian:

IMO, learning Modern Hebrew helps with some vocabulary, but I've found that learning Biblical Hebrew helps far more to learn Modern Hebrew, than learning Modern Hebrew contributes to Biblical Hebrew. Unless you have a different reason to learn Modern Hebrew now, I'd just concentrate on Biblical Hebrew now, and save Modern Hebrew for later.

Alexander, I think PetahChristian's advice is good for someone just starting Biblical Hebrew. Randall Buth's Living Biblical Hebrew: Part 1, however, would be very helpful. It shouldn't be too overwhelming since it initially involves watching videos that contain audio and still-images. You just listen and absorb the language! He also provides the simplest exercises for learning the sights and sounds of the Hebrew Alef-Bet and for beginning to read entire clauses, sentences, and simple narratives.

Posts 4763
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 26 2017 11:21 PM

I don't have much faith in Buth, particularly regarding Hebrew. He may do better with Greek (which I think is his specialty), but I'm not convinced.

Posts 765
Josh Hunt | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 6:23 AM

Get an app to learn -- overlearn-- vocab. 

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 8:09 PM

David Paul:

I don't have much faith in Buth, particularly regarding Hebrew. He may do better with Greek (which I think is his specialty), but I'm not convinced.

Hi, David. You're certainly free to disagree with Randall Buth on countless issues. For instance, I'd assume that you would prefer him to adopt a different pronunciation scheme for his Hebrew resources (or, at least, different phonemic values in some cases). That's reasonable; I understand that. I also probably don't have to assume (cf. link to past discussion)!  That said, I don't think your comment or (reasoned) judgment accurately represents Buth's decades of expertise as a linguist, translator, and instructor in the Biblical languages in general and Hebrew in particular. It might help if you clarified what precisely you "don't have much faith in" and are "not convinced".

For anyone interested, here's some brief biography on Buth:

https://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/randall-buth-biography/

https://4220foundation.com/topics/press-releases/  

There's an interesting interview from The Patrologist blog, which was reposted on the BLC's:

https://thepatrologist.com/2014/11/03/interviews-with-communicative-greek-teachers-8-randall-buth/ 

https://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/interview-randall-buth/ 

You might also want to check out the new Institute for Biblical Languages and Translation (IBLT) and their 8-month, immersion program: School of Biblical Hebrew.

https://iblt.ac/ 

https://iblt.ac/programs/school-of-biblical-hebrew/ 

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 27 2017 8:39 PM

Here's another interview with Randall Buth on Michael Brown's Line of Fire program (starting at 55:00 min.): http://thelineoffire.org/2017/03/16/thoughts-on-debating-about-jesus-the-messiah-and-a-new-way-to-learn-biblical-languages/ 

Posts 4763
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 29 2017 1:11 AM

As I've said before, knowing exactly how certain things were pronounced is uncertain. Knowing how certain things were NOT pronounced IS certain. Many Hebrew scholars employ impossible and indisputably wrong pronunciations, and quite a few actually own up to it (i.e. openly admitting to using contemporary Modern Hebrew). Buth tries to get at the real deal, from all I know about him (good on him--it's better that not even bothering), but some of his pronunciations in the Logos Hebrew Pronunciation doo-hicky seem entirely dubious to me. I'm willing to admit I don't have a solid lock on certain sounds, but some sounds are almost certainly anachronistic, and Buth uses some of those. [I try to avoid sounds likely imported from Hellenistic influence, like TH (theta)] For now, he may be a better option than most others, but I don't think he should be anyone's "final word".

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 29 2017 12:28 PM

Thanks, David. Your reply helps confirm and clarify some things. Now I better understand where you're coming from.

David Paul:

As I've said before, knowing exactly how certain things were pronounced is uncertain. Knowing how certain things were NOT pronounced IS certain. Many Hebrew scholars employ impossible and indisputably wrong pronunciations, and quite a few actually own up to it (i.e. openly admitting to using contemporary Modern Hebrew).

I can't speak for Buth, but I think he would largely agree with you here. In Living Biblical Hebrew: Part 1, he includes a fairly lengthy section under the heading "Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet" (10–33). It includes, among other things, technical notes that lay out the pronunciation system, including a summary of how it has likely changed through history across the continuum of different periods and dialects (e.g., from Proto-Hebrew through First Temple Hebrew, Second Temple Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew, Masoretic Hebrew, and Modern Hebrew).

David Paul:

Buth tries to get at the real deal, from all I know about him (good on him--it's better that not even bothering), but some of his pronunciations in the Logos Hebrew Pronunciation doo-hicky seem entirely dubious to me. I'm willing to admit I don't have a solid lock on certain sounds, but some sounds are almost certainly anachronistic, and Buth uses some of those. [I try to avoid sounds likely imported from Hellenistic influence, like TH (theta)] For now, he may be a better option than most others, but I don't think he should be anyone's "final word".

This is where you seem to have some (at least partial) misunderstandings and false expectations. Unlike with Koine Greek, Buth did not actually attempt to formulate and then follow a robust, reconstructed Biblical Hebrew pronunciation system or dialect (e.g., whether from the First Temple or the Second Temple periods). He uses a standard, albeit minority, Israeli pronunciation that preserves some archaic sounds (e.g., pharyngeal fricatives and a glottal stop, among other features). Here's his short answer, from his own lips (or fingers/keyboard!):

"What kind of pronunciation is used?

An oriental Israeli pronunciation is used in this course. This provides a standard that should be understandable anywhere in the world. Israelis appreciate this as a pleasing dialect for reading biblical Hebrew. It is also the official standard for Israeli radio.

Specifics for biblical Hebrew teachers: the five vowel sefardic system is used; both ʕayin and ħet are pronounced as true pharyngeal fricatives; the Israeli uvular resh is used; the consonants b~v, k~x, p~f  change pronunciation; g, d, t remain constant; ts is used for tsadi [s[ with retracted tongue root], while tav/t[et and kaf/qof are the same." (70)

In his "Pronunciation Tips" he includes the following comment and footnote:

"The pharyngeal fricative sounds, ʕayin and ħet, are minority sounds in Israel and used by Oriental Jews. They are official for Voice of Israel announcers and are regularly heard on radio news announcements." (20)

"24  An Israeli pronunciation will give the student the easiest access into further Hebrew studies. This includes working with other dialects like the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, mishnaic Hebrew and Israeli scholarly literature. An Israeli pronunciation also serves as a standard when meeting people from around the world who come from many different linguistic backgrounds."

With respect to the development of stops and fricatives (leaving out the details), "As a result, the modern pronunciation can be thought of as halfway between King David’s pronunciation and the Massoretic pronunciation." Like you, he does not use "TH (theta)".

Anyway, I hope that clarifies some things. Buth's decision to employ a minority Israeli pronunciation system that's used and understood today doesn't imply lack of specialization or expertise. He didn't try and fail to reconstruct a thoroughgoing Biblical Hebrew pronunciation or dialect. 

David Paul:

For now, he may be a better option than most others, but I don't think he should be anyone's "final word".

Agreed! אמן!

Edit: Indents weren't working, so I threw in a few sets of quotation marks.

Posts 435
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 29 2017 1:07 PM

By the way, just below I've pasted a brief description from Buth and Setterholm's Hebrew Audio Pronunciations. (For those who own this resource, just click the info button in the upper, right-hand corner of the Pronunciation tool).

Language     Hebrew and Aramaic
Style             Israeli Biblical Hebrew
Reader         Dr. Randall Buth

This vocabulary reading follows standard Israeli practice on the consonants and vowels. It also distinguishes ḥêṯ [ח] and ʿayin [ע] from ḵap̄ [כ] and ʾālep̄ [א], a common Israeli practice for biblical readings for sounds that are still part of some Israeli Hebrew dialects. Some words are pronounced slightly on a slow side in order for English speakers to better hear a full enunciation of rêš [ר], ḥêṯ [ח], and ʿayin [ע]. Modern Hebrew vowels are 5: [ i ] [ e ] [ a ] [ o ] [ u ]. English ears will hear some difference when a vowel is in a syllable that is open+accented vs. closed+unaccented, with something in between such differences in open+unaccented and closed+accented syllables. 

http://www.logos.com/product/5960/hebrew-audio-pronunciations 

Edit: Lol, I added spaces within the brackets of the 5 "Modern Hebrew vowels", lest the emojis take them over: Idea Email Angel Time Broken Heart!

Page 1 of 1 (14 items) | RSS