Jason Hare wrote:
I prefer to use language in communication with comprehensible input (see Stephen Krashen). Grammar explanations are only used to fill in blanks. Seeing that you don't see what goes on in our sessions but only fill-in-the-blank materials that I add for explanation after-the-fact, I don't think that calling up things from my forum is entirely relevant to this discussion.
If I understand you correctly, I very much disagree with your view on Classical Hebrew grammar.
Children learn their mother tongue by listening to their parents and others, and they become fluent in their language without knowing a single grammatical rule. This is the “nature method.” Native speakers may also effectively communicate with other native speakers without knowing grammatical rules.
We cannot communicate with others in this way in Classical Hebrew, because it is a dead language, and there are no native speakers. It is impossible to understand Classical Hebrew if you do not have a good grasp of its grammar and syntax.
The course I most often taught at the University of Oslo was Intermediate Hebrew
, with a stress on Classical Hebrew grammar and phonology. In addition to a study of the Tanakh, the course included a study of the tractate Avot in the Mishnah, some modern Hebrew, and either the Aramaic part of Daniel or the Aramaic Targums (the student could choose).
One time a brother and sister in their early twenties attended the course. Their parents were Norwegian. But they had grown up in Israel and were fluent in modern Hebrew. This would seem to be an advantage, but it turned out to be a handicap. Both of them had difficulties to stop thinking in modern Hebrew and instead thinking in Classical Hebrew. They got their exam. But the exam of all the Norwegian students was better.
My point is that Classical Hebrew is a very different language compared with modern Hebrew. You cannot learn this language by the “nature method,” and you cannot learn this language via modern Hebrew. You can only have a good command on Classical Hebrew by hard work, by a deep study of its grammar, phonology and vocabulary.
You are a native speaker of modern Hebrew, and I do not insinuate that this is a handicap in your study of Classical Hebrew. But it can be a handicap, as in the case with the two students, if a person does not realize that the structure of Classical Hebrew—its grammar and syntax, and even its vocabulary, is very different from modern Hebrew.
My conclusion is that Classical Hebrew grammar and syntax are very important for the students.
Rolf J. Furuli