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Sep. 18th, 2006 @ 10:42 pm Biblical Hebrew
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Ave Maria, Chloë Agnew
In the spring of this coming year (2007) I plan to sign up for an introductory Biblical Hebrew class.

I speak English (native language) and German (used to be more-or-less fluent, now I’m losing it from disuse).

I am wondering who here has studied Biblical Hebrew and what were your impressions.

One thing that concerns me is that I have dyslexia. Writing a script “backwards” (right to left) and without vowels scares me. 

Also, since I’m taking the class in the spring, do you recommend any beginner books that might help me get a head start? I specifically ask for books because I learn better from them than websites.

Thanks so much!!!

Cross posted in biblical_hebrew, christianity, linguaphiles, learn_hebrew, and religion_majors
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Date:September 19th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC)
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I've been learning from The First Hebrew Primer, and I think it's great. It introduces concepts in reasonably-sized doses, building over the course of the book, and the end notes do a good job of explaining the nit-picky points that some people don't care about (and that aren't important enough to make the main text). It does have a tendency to simplify grammatical terms, so if you know linguistics or grammar you may be occasionally frustrated by that. (Sometimes the more formal terms are in the notes.) If you're a grammar/linguistics geek, you might find Grammatical Concepts 101 helpful -- for each concept it first explains how it works in English and then maps that to biblical Hebrew. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm loving it so far.
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Date:September 19th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
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The text I use is Page H. Kelley's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, you can find it here http://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Hebrew-Introductory-Page-Kelley/dp/0802805981

I thought it was a good text, I still use it.

I enjoy Hebrew, but I found it much harder to pick up than I did Latin and Greek, but in a different way. I still have problems predicting vocalic changes, but in terms of sentence structure, I find it easier than say, Latin.

Sorry about the double post, I put the wrong link in the first one!
*a bit embarrassed seeing as the first link was to an Australian folk song*
Date:September 19th, 2006 08:21 am (UTC)
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If you're worried about the backwards/new alphabet side of things, what I would recommend is, before your class starts, trying to get yourself used to the alphabet, the sounds the letters make, and basically reading aloud (it doesn't matter particularly that you don't understand what you're reading). I found that once I was over the mental block that such a different alphabet represents, then it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be!

Biblical Hebrew is quite widely taught with vowels, so you shouldn't worry about that side of it!

I learned from Davidson's Hebrew Grammar, which I didn't like very much, I preferred Weingreen's A Grammar of Classical Hebrew, but that can be quite hard to get hold of (at least in the UK, I don't know where you are). I wouldn't stress too much about the book though, buy whatever the course tutor recommends, and anything you know in advance will put you ahead of the game!
Date:September 22nd, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
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I can't speak to your dyslexia, because I don't have it, but I got over the right-to-left thing after like the first week of class. It's really not an issue.
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Date:September 28th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I would second the idea of trying to learn and practice the alphabet beforehand.
Date:May 27th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
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I took Hebrew for seven years of my life, and during this time I studied both modern and biblical. I suggest learning basic, modern Hebrew to some degree before trying Biblical, although I wouldn't go too in depth because it might confuse you. When I studied Biblical Hebrew, it was somewhat easier than the modern Hebrew, but there are so many more exceptions. I suggest learning it consistenly in small doses or signing up for structured classes. Oh and don't even try to touch Rashi....that blew my mind.
I know what you mean with the backwardsness. I can remember having three Hebrew classes then going to my English class and doing a crossword puzzle backwards with the correct terms. And I was reading it! Moral of the story, break it up a little or give yourself some recovery time between languages.