https://www.duolingo.com/RowanM.1

Suggestion: Focus More on Alphabet/Aleph-Bet at Start of Course

RowanM.1Plus
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I would like to ask the designers of the Hebrew course to please take a look at how the Japanese course introduces you to hiragana. You have four initial skills that introduce to you specific hiragana and a small number of simple words and phrases. I particularly like the "pair matching", where you match a hiragana character to its sound. Something similar would be extremely helpful for starting out in Hebrew.

I realise Tinycards can be quite helpful with Hebrew letters, and I have used that, but I still think lessons devoted to the individual Hebrew letters at the start would slightly reduce the overall difficulty of the language for rank beginners like me.

To state the obvious, the Hebrew alphabet (or aleph-bet) is extremely different in appearance from the Western alphabet. This is an extra barrier to learning at the start. (The same is true for other languages with different alphabets and writing systems, such as the aforementioned Japanese, Chinese, many other Asian languages and some European languages like Greek and Russian.) The Romance and Germanic languages I'm most familiar with use much the same alphabet (barring a few extra accents) as English. Along with their numerous cognates, that makes them much easier to pick up initially. But when you're dealing with a totally foreign alphabet and writing system as well, it's like you have to learn to read again. I can look at a European language and have a rough idea of how to say the words even if I don't know what they mean. But if I look at a language whose alphabet and writing system I don't know, it's just meaningless scribbles. I can't even form the sounds of the letters of such alphabets, let alone know what they mean. I am starting to pick out a few Hebrew letters, but it's still quite tough for me at the moment to distinguish one from the other, let alone form sounds from them, and this is where greater concentration on the alphabet at the start would make the early stages of the course a little easier.

We have to learn to walk before we can run. The Japanese course starts out right by "walking" you through the hiragana. If the first few skills of the Hebrew course could follow the model of the Japanese course (concentrating on the letters only and getting you to pair them up with their English counterparts), it would definitely make the Hebrew course a little more "user-friendly" for complete beginners.

1 month ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Greatscotteh
Greatscotteh
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They do a similar thing with the Chinese characters as well. I couldn't agree with you more; I found it quite difficult to get the sounds right, especially for letters which change sounds depending on where they are in the word (i.e. vav and yod).

If you stick through the course in its current state it does begin to get easier. However, right now it may deter potential learners due to its difficulty.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Wesley
Thomas_Wesley
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Yes, I would definitely agree the course gets easier and you adapt. I should have mentioned that in my comment!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AJ_is_too_short

I myself find the lack of nikkud somewhat off-putting. It would be nice if new vocabulary showed them more, at least. Though that would also mean that they would have to introduce the nikkud as well......which perhaps wouldn't be terrible.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas_Wesley
Thomas_Wesley
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I would agree that the Japanese course is easier to get into than the Hebrew. It's been awhile since I began the course, however, so I don't remember exactly how difficult it was. I'm very curious to see what others think.

1 month ago
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