Why are you learning Hebrew?
As an Israeli, I've wondered why would a man (or woman, of course) decide one day to learn Hebrew. The only place where you can really use it is Israel, which is really not such of a worth. Besides that, Hebrew itself is a mess and not as easy to learn or useful than most other languages. So, why?
I find it interesting and a fun challenge. Something different. It is not a language I am looking to be fluent in but I like getting to know the language. It is my just-for-fun language when I need a small break from spanish.
The 'useful' languages I know already. Useful in my part of the world that is. I studied Hebrew years ago, because of the books by Chaim Potok. I was looking for study material for Sanskrit, which I am also trying to learn. I found Duolingo and though it does not have a Sanskrit course, it does have Hebrew, so I decided to brush up on it. Once I've finished all the skills, I'll start seriously on Greek and Hindi and perhaps the French, German and Spanish courses to improve my spelling.
Anyway, I think learning a language that is very different from your own is worthwhile because it questions your ideas about how things 'naturally' are.
Did you start the Hebrew course with no prior knowledge? I am curious to know how difficult it is if you have to start with the alphabet. I knew the basics and I am sure that helped.
I knew the alefbet when I started. Also some words but not their Hebrew spellings. It was really hard in the beginning but it is kind of fun now! I had to push myself through it, but I really, really, really wanted to learn it!
Yes, reading takes some getting used to. But if you stick with it, it will work out.
For many people this is a kind of challenge. They see how a person solves Rubik's cube, or plays piano, or chess, or speaks Polish or Hebrew and want to master these skills, although there is no direct benefit from this skill. An Israeli told me: You don't have to learn Hebrew to visit Israel. Everyone speaks English here. Nevertheless, I have been learning it for eight months and I still enjoy it today. Just like Rubik's cube when I was a child.
I have been interested in the secular, academic study of religion for almost my entire life. As many prominent religious sites and museums are located in Israel, I want to be able to go there someday. I am well aware that I could go to Israel and survive as a native speaker of English, but I fell in love with the Hebrew language during my research of Israel's history (I'm using the term "research" lightly here-- I am by no means an historian, just finding articles on history and things). The fact that Hebrew was revived is so interesting to me. So, I have decided to learn Hebrew.
Why do you think Hebrew is a mess? I actually find it really logical and regular (not like French or Irish) Anyways, I have family in Israel and even though they speak really good English, it would be nice to know Hebrew. Plus, I decided to brush up my childhood 'Hebrew school' lessons (a common lot of many reluctant jewish kids in north america) and found I remembered more than I expected, so thought I may as well keep going. למה לא? All in all, Hebrew is different enough from french, spanish etc. to be interesting, but for some reason, I don't find it hard. The only real challenge for me is the vocab takes me a bit longer to learn.
Where's your Hebrew flag, MissSpells? I know you're farther along then me, but I can't see it on your posts.
i deleted and reset a bunch of courses recently, in a moment of stress, so I had to start again from scratch more or less (though I tested out a bunch). Now i need to work to catch up to you!
Oh, looks like you've been working hard. Testing out only gives you twenty lingots, so hard to level up. I am sure you are much more proficient than me in spite of the lower level. I hope you are less stressed now and enjoying learning!
Does your name refer to misspelling words? Or do you cast spells? I've always wondered. It's a clever play on words.
Yes, my username is a bit of a pun ;) so I was actually thinking of both, magic spells (I like Harry Potter, fantasy etc.) and misspellings (i admit i got a bit tired of people pointing out my spelling errors) Thanks for noticing!!
Well, I did have years of chldhood Hebrew lessons, and even if I was a reluctant student, it seems something stuck.. so I definately had a head start, plus lots of real life exposure..but I still don't feel like I could carry on much of a conversation... but I am working on it slowly. I really admire your passion for the language!
תודה רבה! אני אוהבת עברית! גם אני רק תלמודת. I misspell often in Hebrew!
You have been blessed with all that exposure. Learning Hebrew has been a dream of mine since my youth. I can't believe I can finally read it! (A few words!)
Are you doing Biblical Hebrew with Mango?
Congrats on following your dreams!
I definately had other main interests as a kid, but I suppose in retrospect I appreciate it, and of course spending time with my Israeli family is always a joy, though I wish they lived closer!
I just finished all the modules of the Modern Hebrew course on Mango. (it is excellent!). So I might try out the biblical Hebrew course out of curiosity but I think I want to review and finish the duolingo course first. If you try it out I would like to know what you think!
Thank you! I think German speaks to me, but I have a passion for עברית. I consider it a sacred language and the Jews to have a lot more truth and greater understanding than many Christians of what God really said in the Old Testament and also reflected in the way New Testament writers thought.
I've just tried out the free stuff so far. It only has like six passages. I learnt plenty from what I tried. I want to do the trial sometime on there, but I'm focused on translation differences at the moment.
Umm, I guess I can see why Hebrew would be easy in the sense of speaking usage, but when you dive more into the formation of words and such it becomes uselessly and stupidly complicated. But there's no real reason to know these stuff, only for the Bagrot exam in the 12th grade.
Every language is like that, when you really get into the grammar. People think French is 'easy' but I think it has about the most complicated rules ever. I think that is the problem of solely focusing on grammar. I am not expecting to have perfect Hebrew grammar (though I try my best), I think people in Israel especially are pretty understanding and forgiving because so many people there are immigrants, or children of immigrants, almost everyone had to learn Hebrew. I will be happy to be able to talk to my younger nieces and nephews.
Anyways, maybe I haven't gotten to the really tricky stuff yet (just starting on past tense) but I feel like there is something really logical about the way Hebrew is constructed. I like the fact that everything is constructed from 'roots'. I feel like once I learn a Hebrew grammar rule, that is it and there are few exceptions, unlike French (again, not to pick on French, it is a lovely language, but the grammar is ridiculous, just the rules for the passé composé are crazy everything is an exception to an exception) Luckily I am learning for myself and I don't think I will be taking any exams, but if I can attain basic conversational Hebrew, I will be pleased. I feel like if I can complete duolingo and get in some conversation practice, I will be on my way. Just curious, is Hebrew your mother tongue, or did you learn it as a second language?
I guess there's something in what you say, the whole roots thing is pretty logical, but anyway I meant by complexity to some really useless stuff, like figuring out the root of a specific word and such, almost totally useless. And it's my mother's tounge.
Well, I guess if it is your mother tongue figuring out the roots is useless, since you probabably know it intuitively without thinking! I am also trying not to get too bogged down in the grammar with memorizing all the binyans and just hopefully absorb the patterns. For me the roots, is just a way of helping me see how things fit together (I think of Hebrew a bit like lego.. if that makes sense) and it makes some vocab easier to learn like סופר ,בית ספר if I recall they come from ספר. In English book, author, school are all unrelated, but in Hebrew it is nice how they all fit together.
I know it will probably get more difficult... but so far so good. I am maybe a bit more than halfway through the course, and I already feel like I have learnt so much more than I thought I would. I am actually enjoying the Hebrew course way more than I expected.
I guess I needed to be more specific, by knowing the roots is useless in some cases I meant to a case which the word will look exactly the same if the root was one or the other, but you still need to know which one it is. For example: להתרוצץ The root is either ר.ו.צ or ר.צ.צ The knowledge of which one is totally useless because it will look exactly the same in almost all forms and shapes either way. (the correct one here is ר.ו.צ)
And I'll correct you there, you probably meant סופר, not סופת. Author is סופר while סופת is "a storm of" like סופת גשם is "a storm of rain".
Thanks, this is definately past my level of knowledge. I think I am safe from picking up too much 'useless' grammatical knowledge, as learning the basics is still challenging enough. I will leave the rest to the true linguists! I guess every language has its quirks. For me, I am trying to learn just as much of the grammar as I need, and then I hope that by the end of the duolingo course I will have enough of a base to be able to immerse myself more in some t.v, cartoons and storybooks.
Seem pretty obvious that רוצ is the root. It's right in front of my eyes in the word and צ is only used once. I know the Pealim tables are horrendous how you get them all like that! But anyway, they can't be impossible.
I also love the Hebrew roots! The way the words fit together. That is amazing!
The weird thing about Hebrew is that I'm used to words changing sounds when you add ב to the front or something like that. I wish I knew it well enough so I would understand them and the changes.
The thing is, I'm not even sure. I was raised Catholic in the U.S. and have no known Jewish heritage; I have no real desire to go to Israel. And yet, I am on my 19th day of learning Hebrew, according to this site. (And I'm not using Duolingo alone, my phone has filled with apps and my computer bookmarks are growing with this language.) I've found myself, like many who are raised Catholic in the U.S., struggling with religion in general and the very concept of Faith. For me, I've decided to delve more into Judaism and studying the religious roots that christianity sprung from. I no longer identify as christian, but I'm struck by the moral imperatives in Jewish teachings and culture. Originally I think I thought "Hey, it'd be cool to read the Torah without translation." but will I ever get there? Probably not, especially as I am focusing on modern Hebrew. But Hebrew is the language of Judaism, and I'm eager to learn the concepts that might not be easily translated into English. I'm eager for the challenge of it. I'm eager to know more. There are probably easier and more direct ways to know more about Judaism, but this is the path my feet are on, so I'm walking it.
Take heart in your goal to read the Torah in Hebrew. I only studied modern Hebrew, but am able to read and understand 90% or more of the Torah. Mainly from my knowledge of the modern language. Also if you already know the Bible in English its a great tool for picking up words since you recognize the stories etc.
Do you know Chaim Potok's books? They are novels set in a (Orthodox) jewish background (in America). If you want to know more about Judaism, this is a great way to do it. These books are history/religion lessons poured into novels and there's a lot of Hebrew and explaining of Hebrew text in them too. When I was a child I read 'The Source' by some James A. Michener. That was fascinating too.
The main reason I keep coming back to is the Tanakh, as well as the culture and history surrounding it. The revival of the language is fascinating and beautiful—we can still speak in a language not much different than one a few thousand years old and apply it in the modern world. Latin and Greek are similar in some ways, and Greek has had a continuous development, whereas Latin is languishing. But modern Greek is quite different than ancient. Yet no other language for me personally has had an impact in how I view the world as learning Hebrew.
What I find fascinating is, how in some languages there is a very close link to spiritual ideas and language / linguistic concepts. I am only scratching the surface of Sanskrit, but there seem to be a lot of similarities in thinking between Sanskrit and Hebrew and the way they approach language as - in a manner of speaking - the body of the divine, something which expresses the spiritual essence. My teachers read a Sanskrit text in class which was very similar to 'In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God'. I must ask them what it was, exactly.
Religions are based on תורה then...create new dogmas unconnecteds with תורה
This is an exemple : "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God..." We find this verse in "ברית חדשה" of christians.
Also, anyone reading this, you are more than likely welcome at the local synagogues even if you are not Jewish. Since I had been Jewish and become a believer in Jesus I thought some people might have an issue with me attending with them, but I just try not to bring that up unless someone asks, and stick with what we all share in common. So, if you are able to be respectful, you will benefit a lot in learning Hebrew by actually attending synagogue classes if they have them. Don't be afraid to create relationships with people just because you don't entirely agree with them. As a believer in Jesus I typically share far more in common with people at synagogue than i do with Christians that do not observe Torah, and way more in common than I share with people that don't read the bible at all. Synagogue is not the place to go if you're only wanting modern Hebrew though. But for transitioning to Biblical Hebrew it's pretty good.
Well, I am not sure if I am learning it at all.. I've reseted my progress to start the Hebrew course all over again. I've tried to learn the writing separately but I feel that I could score several kanji's at the same rate, so no. I want to learn economically (whatever that means..)
But there are a couple of reasons too, first is that I want to learn a language that is not similar to most European ones. The second is the main cultural reason, there is very much prestige and cultural relations to discover about Hebrew. It is just a subject worth knowing (like the airspeed of a loaden sparrow).
Congratulations on your streak and level. Here's a couple of lingots which I'm sure you will find good use for.
Like some other people posted here I'm Jewish and like many other American Jews we learn just enough to read out of the siddur or the Torah but only barely understand it. So, I figured this would be a good opportunity to brush up and reconnect with my heritage.
I know this is the modern language and that's fine with me as I believe that the modern state of Israel is a part of my heritage as well. And while I have to admit that my relationship with the state has been somewhat tortured as of late (not going to discuss further) I'm still a bit of a wannabe Zionist and studying the language is a good way to connect.
I'm an older guy living in Japan. Been here a long time and learned the language to the point where I make my living as a translator of legal and corporate compliance materials (now semi-retired). I became interested in Japanese because they are a unique and determined people that staged a miraculous recovery after WWII among other similar feats during its history. That was just for background.
I'm not Jewish but have tremendous reverence for achievement and survival against long odds (isn't that an understatement!). By every stretch of logic, the Jewish people should not have survived the Diaspora and the relentless persecutions throughout history. It's nothing short of a miracle. The establishment of the nation of Israel is also nothing short of a miracle as is the resurrection of Hebrew as the national language. In short, I want to participate in the miracle. It's only going to get better from here on out.
P.S. I pushed my crown score in Hebrew up over 130 or thereabouts and then started over again from the beginning when I discovered that Memrise had a vocabulary course that tracked this one. I'm using both together now. Been at it for a solid six months beginning with Daniel's elementary materials on Youtube and then moving to Memrise. I didn't discover Duolingo until 78 days ago. My plan is to study in this manner for two years and then switch to Spanish in the hopes of bringing it back to the surface (from junior high school days back in Southern California).
I started going to synagogue in my late teen years and learned many traditional prayers and Bracha's, but never really understood what I was saying. Eventually I learned to read Hebrew script, but again, I really didn't know what I was saying. I became a believer in Jesus, and kind of lost touch with Hebrew, but when I started attending synagogue again I decided that I didn't want to just recite prayers without knowing what they meant, or read from the weekly Parsha without knowing what the reader is saying, so I figured modern Hebrew would be a good start. So far I've done Pimsleur's Hebrew 1, and then I started going through the DuoLingo course. The Rabbi where I have been attending teaches an adult advanced Hebrew class that I'm not really ready for, but I'll probably buy the materials and jump into that to help start transitioning over to Biblical Hebrew.
Very interesting story. I wonder what that advanced Hebrew course is like? BTW, I shared some of my lingots with you.
I haven't gone yet, so I can't be 100%, but I got the impression that it was a post b'nai mitzvah (after your Bar/Bat Mitzvah) class to continue studying Hebrew. So some kids go to Hebrew school (I didn't) and learn quite a bit, but for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah you only need to learn Hebrew script and nikkud and be able to chant the blessings and read, not necessarily be able to comprehend what you're reading. I'm hoping this class is more of a transition on to more comprehension, but it's $25 for the materials and taught by a Rabbi, so even if I'm completely lost it seems worth the time and effort to do it.
Corinnebelle, That depends on how you mean. Although I support the Messianic's, I am not part of a Messianic congregation because the closest one is an hour away. Some of those seem very good like Beth Yeshua International with Rabbi Greg Hershberg, and many seem just not very good at all. I am a believer in Jesus ישוע, but where I go to synagogue that is not their belief. They are however waiting on the first Messiah, so that would kind of be messianic in nature. Most Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Jews regard Messianics as converts to Christianity, and no longer Jews. So while I regard myself as Jewish because I have a Jewish paternal blood line, am religiously Jewish in that I study and keep Torah, and am joined with Jewish people through a Jewish community, they may not reciprocate those ideas. I would not be Jewish because contemporary conservative and Orthodox Judaism only regards maternal blood lines as Jewish (or anyone that converts), and people professing to believe in Jesus would be considered a convert to Christianity, even if they are like me and have never actually been apart of a Christian denomination or anything like that.
I know it's confusing the Jewish people's definition of a Jew, at least to me. To me, you don't lose your Jewish DNA if you become a Christian. I understand that with people coming into the Jewish faith, you become a Jew by belief. But are most Jews Semitic? I don't understand that you aren't a descendant of Abraham anymore if you become a Christian. I imagine you still keep Passover and other feast days. Are secular Jewish descendants also considered not Jewish?
Every father had a mother! But I understand you aren't considered so Jewish if your mother wasn't. In the Bible it is very nearly always the son of the father, not the daughter of the mother or the son of the mother.
I understand Jews have a greater understanding of the Tanakh than most Christians. Jesus was a Jew. He spoke Aramaic and possibly Hebrew. He thought that way too.
I am still learning about Judaism and Christianity. Some Jews receive ישוע and throw away the Sabbath and eat pork and while I am glad they found the Messiah, it kind of shocked me to see them do that. I am glad there are "Jews" that found the Messiah, but keep those things from the Torah יהוה gave them.
Corinnebelle Its a big world with a lot of different views. Fortunately, whether people regard me as Jewish or not, I have never felt unwelcome in a synagogue and have generally been treated very well, and am thankful for the friendships. So I don't have any complaints about it all.
I understand there have been many "messiahs", but the true Messiah must fulfill Bible prophecy.
Not only "Jesus" proclaimed to be משיח, but other Jews on the centuries. An exemple : שבתי צבי Shabbatai Tzvi. He proclaimed too to be the משיח. He did miracles him too ! His end was dramatical as the end of "Jesus", but different... He converted to Islam.
Isaiah 53. Daniel, Psalms, Moses, in Genesis he will bruise the serpents head, bless all the nations of the earth, God promises David that the Messiah will come through him.
b8v21 Does it ever get exhausting being such a pretentious douche? Your troll level is admirable. Please teach me? I am your student!
I thought you were Jewish and would have read the Bible a lot so I just mentioned things generally in case you didn't and were actually interested!
Not specifics verses ? Don't you know the Bible ?
אספרה אל חק יהוה אמר אלי בני אתה אני היום ילדתיך .Psalm.2.7
מי הקים כל אפסי ארץ. מה שמו ומה שם בני. Proverbs 30.4
Good questions ! Who is His son ? What is his name ? Teach me !
No problem: Psalm 2.7 and Proverbs 30.4...who is His son ? What is his name ? The answer is in Exodus 4.22:
כה אמר יהוה בני בכרי ישראל
Israel קהלת יעקב is the son of יהוה
Other question ?
As a Christian, I've wanted to visit Israel for a long time. I started to learn Hebrew once and gave up after the first lesson. More recently I fell in love with Jewish music and decided to take it up again. Still struggling with the alphabet.
I struggled with the alephbet heavily, too!
Other comments on duolingo pointed me towards memrise.com - they have two very helpful courses that I'm using. The first was quick, on the Hebrew alephbet, and helped me immensely on that. The second is much longer and is for Duolingo Hebrew vocabularly. Memrise is like a flashcard system, and really helps to reinforce the Duolingo lessons!
I'm also using a phone app called Drops. It also uses a flashcard-like reinforcement of vocabularly. For free, you can do 5 minutes every 10 hours on Drops, anything more and you have to pay (and I am broke, or I would). But in eight days of these five minute increments, plus the duolingo and menrise, I've cemented the alphabet and many other common phrases.
I'm on day 24 of Duolingo now, and can make reasonable guesses as to the pronunciation of words without hearing them first, which I think is huge progress for someone learning a brand new script!
I hope that helps with your journey!
I'd already gone through the alphabet Memrise course and it did help a lot. I'll certainly look up the other course and check out the app as well. Thanks a lot!
I love history and etymology, most specifically the history and languages of the Mediterranean and Germanic worlds since the earliest antiquity.
History and languages/etymology go hand in hand, so already speaking French, English and German, I decided to improve my Italian and start Hebrew and Norwegian.
Hebrew is not easy for sure, but I find some of the vocab beautiful or quite funny, and I like to go and compare Hebrew to Arabic when I can, to see how close or different the languages are.
I would also like to learn the earliest forms of French (or late latin) and see how different dialects evolved between France and Italy, and once I am good enough in Hebrew I would like to get to know Aramaic a little. I have 2 duolingo accounts just to make the most of it :-)!
Nowadays,there are dictionaries for the language of fish and birds. So why you wonder that people learn hebrew? and why you consider it a "mess" while Chinese letters are more or less near to hebrew letters ?
Hebrew letters are much closer to latin and greek ones than to chinese kanji. Alef-bet, alfa-beta, alphabet. They all evolved from the same base (phonician I think). Hebrew is written in another direction which might take some getting used to. Any new writting system takes getting used to, but the Hebrew alphabet is relatively easy to learn.
There's a different between being the first to analyze and learn a certain language and learning a small and pretty much useless language such as Hebrew. Well, I did write 'most', not all. And I'll give an example, if you know English, you can get the hang of most languages the formed from Latin, the letters are similar, and the grammar is similar, Hebrew on the other hand has totally different rules, letters and sound to all Latin languages.
I think this is part of what draws me to it, that it has different rules and letters and sounds than I am used to with english and other languages with the latin alphabet. I like being able to take what initially looks incoherent and be able to decipher it. I similarly enjoyed toying with Korean.