Over 200 days learning Hebrew

Thank you content creators for this course! I am a bit over half way though (I think) after 200+ days learning modern Hebrew here. I really appreciate the work you all put into the content here.

I wanted to share a bit of things I have found helpful longer-term in case anyone here might find them useful as well.

  1. Duolingo vocab course on Memrise (decks). It's really handy to have the vocab/flashcard approach for brushing up on vocab. I am further along with the vocab in Memrise, so I get used to seeing the words and learning the basic meaning before I encounter them in Duolingo lessons. I like this better than clicking on the words to see the meaning the first time in Duolingo. Vocab/flashcard approaches help keep the words fresh, but it can be hard to tell what exactly they mean and how they're used. But I still find getting a basic sense of the meaning out of context first is useful, then seeing it in context to help solidify the words.

  2. Finishing 50 XP on the oldest lesson to get to level 5. I have had different approaches on how to do the different bubbles over the last 200 days. The one I have been doing for some time now which I like best is to do my quota of 50 XP on the oldest lesson that is not yet level 5. Then after that I do whatever I want, usually getting the newest sections to level 1. I personally have tried to have lots of sections going at once, but I notice I wasn't getting as strong of a memory recall for the words as I was by diligently finishing the lessons to level 5.

  3. While I miss the iOS clubs, the leaderboards have encouraged me to drill the lessons more in order to get more XP. So I end up doing more drilling than testing out the last few weeks. Cheaters are annoying though, which is discouraging.

  4. Pimsleur courses: Hebrew 1, 2 & 3. They cost money, but I have found them very helpful to get a better variation in sentence construction, both in listening to small variations in the audio and speaking the language out loud. Pimsleur does a great job with using the vocabulary it has in much more varied ways. With Duolingo I end up just memorizing the sentences. Pimsleur keeps me on my toes.

  5. While it costs money, on Audible I found you can get them much cheaper if you: A) get the annual platinum membership and B) buy them with credits. It ends up being like $50-60 per course rather than $120 per-course list price.

  6. Hebrew servers on Discord. It's really helpful to ask questions about Hebrew and have native speakers give answers. That happens on this forum to some degree, although lately it seems pretty empty.

  7. Reverso context. Occasionally I look up words in Reverso Context and that is helpful to see other contexts for the use of words and phrases. It is also useful to look up words that it's not clear exactly what they mean based on the gloss in the Duolingo Memrise course.

June 6, 2019


I did about 300 days of Hebrew before switching to Spanish. My advice is to find someone to consistently speak Hebrew. Luckily, one of my employees is Israeli, but Hellotalk is a great way to find Israeli language partners. Clozemaster is also a great app to pick up slang and to really expand your vocabulary.

Good luck.

June 13, 2019

Thanks for the encouragement and tips!

June 13, 2019

Hey, Scott! Nice to see you here (and sad that the clubs are gone..)! Thanks for sharing your experience!! On the Level 4 when I feel that I know the sentences pretty well, I organize myself kind of speaking practice: I use voice input feature on my phone. As for me it turns out that it is hard to pronounce correctly even those senences which I am already able to type without mistakes.

June 15, 2019

Hi Sonya! Good to see you here too. Yeah I miss the clubs. Good point about pronunciation. I also use my phone's voice input sometimes. Especially after having a lesson trying to talk, I need to be more diligent about trying to speak the sentence first before trying to type it (or just speak into the voice recognition, but sometime the voice recognition doesn't work very well, even in English).

June 15, 2019

As for me, Hebrew voice recognition works better than the English one:) May be this is due to my accent in English, as I am not a native English speaker)

June 15, 2019

Thanks for these helpful thoughts and ideas. I wanted to note that you might want to check your local library for the Pimsleur series. Mine has series one, and I listen to the cd's in my car.

June 15, 2019

If your library doesn’t have Hebrew Pimsleur, you can request getting the three volumes through inter-library loan. That’s how I got them (one at a time). And since I only got to keep them for 3 or 4 weeks before returning them, that provided motivation to faithfully use them during that time :-).

June 18, 2019

Level 22 is halfway? I haven't seen anyone over level 25 so this level system seems a bit strange. Anyway it's pretty impressive. I think I have spent around 190 days and I'm still 5 lessons short of halfway and at level 15. I spend 30 minute to 1 hr every day.

June 6, 2019

Yeah levels are a bit strange. They're based on XP, so if you only finish each lesson to level 1, you could finish the whole tree but probably won't be on level 25. Since I'm bringing every lesson to level 5, I will likely be on level 25 before I finish the tree.

A further complicating thing is that previously you could get a lot of XP for testing out of levels, which I do a fair amount once I get too used to the sentences. But now you only get 20 XP, so it's possible someone could test out a lot and not even reach level 25 and still finish the entire course with each lesson at level 5.

June 6, 2019

Thanks for your post and mentioning other courses and options. I wonder, Are you able to talk any Hebrew by now?

June 13, 2019

Interesting that you mention that. I just tried speaking in Hebrew with someone for the first time here: Alisa Zingerman offered a free lesson and I took her up on that offer.

My speaking is pretty choppy with lots of vocabulary holes and I miss a lot of what people other say. I still have a fair amount of Duolingo lessons to go. Since I've been getting each lesson up to level 5, I'm going more slowly through the lessons. And toward the end there's lots of new grammar (tenses and such) that gets introduced.

We'll see where I am at in another 200 days!

June 13, 2019

Good job! That's really your first time speaking Hebrew? Keep it up!

June 13, 2019

Hi Scott really nice to see you learning Hebrew :). I have seen a bit of your video and i have a few suggestions for you

  1. The teacher has also a bit of a Russian accent, especially when pronouncing the letter ח and כ so beware of that

  2. If you want to sound more native you might want to work on your pronunciation:

  3. The letter ל has a softer sound like in Spanish, it is easy to learn so i think you will pick it up quickly

  4. The letter ר is pronounced completely different from English, there are many resources on youtube on how to pronounce it, even if you can't get it right at first, the ר sound really changes how native you sound.

  5. The letters ח and כ (the ch sound) also are a bit difficult to get at first but are also very important to pronounce correctly.

I really like seeing people learning Hebrew, I am a native speaker so I will gladly help you if you have questions. Keep up the good work and good luck :)

June 27, 2019

Want to help me? I think my Hebrew is alright but my accent has to be absolutely painful for native speakers. Haha.

June 27, 2019

Wow thanks for the helpful suggestions! Yes I am sure it will be hard to root out those English habits. I have been focusing a lot more on audio lately, both listening and trying to speak it. I don't have someone locally that speaks it well, so I am not sure the best way to correct myself, since I probably add lots of English sounds without thinking or being aware.

June 27, 2019

Hi Evan and Scott, I will gladly help you with anything you want with Hebrew, it's my pleasure. You can ask questions here or if you have more lengthy questions or problems with pronunciation feel free to leave your email (maybe? or find another way to contact me).

June 27, 2019
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