Many people enrol in a Hebrew course for multiple reasons. Some students are keen to explore ancient Hebrew, to discover the history and tradition of the language, and to learn to read the Hebrew bible. Other students enrol in an introductory course to learn modern Hebrew to be able to speak to Israelis.
Modern Hebrew was established in the 19th and 20th centuries by Eliezer Ben Yehuda; it is the only dialect that originated from the ancient Canaanite languages and is based on classical Hebrew. Ben Yehuda was concerned that the Hebrew language would die out if a country did not have Hebrew as its main dialect with a distinct Jewish population.
Classical Hebrew course
Classical Hebrew is one avenue to explore to learn the Hebrew language if, of course, your interest lies in exploring biblical texts. A biblical Hebrew course will enable you to choose a course that enables you to engage with the biblical Hebrew alphabet. You can explore ancient texts once you have mastered the biblical Hebrew alphabet.
Modern Hebrew is another way to engage in a Hebrew language course. Choosing a course for modern Hebrew will give you the skills to engage with people living in Israel, communicate in day-to-day life and discover modern Hebrew literature. However, before you embark on a Hebrew language course, establish your interest, modern or classical.
I started off learning biblical Hebrew, then transitioned to modern Hebrew when I lived in Israel. It was then that I realised ancient Hebrew and modern-day Hebrew spoken in Israel have so many similarities. For example, when I was on the kibbutz, I asked for directions in Hebrew to the kitchen, mitbakh, but I accidentally asked for the mizbeiakh (tabernacle). Mizbeakh is an ancient Hebrew word from the Torah, and the kibbutzniks knew what I was talking about! It was part of their bible studies, and they referred to the ancient Temple in Jerusalem in day-to-day conversation. I also found it fascinating that they used the same word for God in everyday life, as the same word from the Torah.
Once you have established which avenue you want to pursue, modern or classical Hebrew, and start a Hebrew course, you must be committed to the time, effort and money required. It is essential that you make sure you have the time to travel to the course and the means to get there. There is absolutely no point in enrolling in a Hebrew course that is not accessible by public transport if you do not have a car! Although this may seem obvious, you may be so excited to start the Hebrew course that it may not register with you that it is difficult to get to! It is also essential to know how long it takes to travel to the classes and factoring this into your day.
Time management is essential; this will help you ensure you have enough time to do everything else you need. However, the time required to travel to the Hebrew course is based on the fact that you are enrolled in a face-to-face class; however, you may decide to enrol in an online learning, such as Easy Learn Hebrew. An online course will save you significant travel time, energy and petrol if you can participate in online learning from home. However, regardless of whether you are attending face-to-face or online classes, remember to make sure you have the time to complete all the homework given to you.
Do not underestimate the time required to learn a new language. Completing the homework will require considerable effort, especially if you are a beginner. In addition, it can be helpful to diarise time, to ensure the work is not neglected. It is so easy to procrastinate and not dedicate time to your studies.
To familiarise yourself and ultimately excel in this skill requires time and effort. If you have not studied in a long time, having to complete homework and practice may be a bit strange! It can be helpful to set aside time every day; that way, the workload does not build up and become overwhelming.
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