Review-Aleph with Beth Video Course

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talmid56
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Review-Aleph with Beth Video Course

Post by talmid56 »

שָׁלוֹם!

The following is my review of Lessons 1-3 of the Aleph with Beth Biblical Hebrew Video Course, an immersive approach to learning Biblical Hebrew that is offered free of charge, available on YouTube.

List of lessons viewed:

Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Review Game for Lessons 1-2
Lesson 3
Lesson 3b

Some background: My reasons for using Aleph with Beth

Those who have read my posts and personal introduction here on B-Hebrew realize that I am not a beginner in studying Biblical Hebrew. So, why use a course that requires no knowledge of Hebrew, which is aimed at beginners, among others?

Well, for over ten years now, I’ve become convinced that the traditional methods are inadequate for long-term retention of the language and for mastery. Particularly this is so, if reading with comprehension and enjoyment are your goals.

As I’ve worked with the language during this past decade, I’ve slowly added audio materials such as readings of the Tanakh from Biblia Mirecurensia.com, https://biblia-mirecurensia.com/en/ and the Bible Society in Israel, either the download from Faith Comes by Hearing, https://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/aud ... HBRHMTO2DA or by listening to it streaming at Haktuvim, https://haktuvim.co.il/en/study/Gen.1.1 to my study. By repeated listening I have learned to understand large chunks of the text even without looking at the text itself, either in print or digital form. This has helped me become a better reader.

I became convinced that if one could learn Biblical Hebrew in a more interactive way still, it would help me learn vocabulary and even grammar better. So I began checking around for course options. There are some immersive courses out there that are quite good, but they also are somewhat expensive. There is also the time commitment, and if done by streaming video, require a lot of internet data, which is also expensive. In my case, like many others, family budget needs simply do not permit the expense. And, as I am still employed full-time, there is not the leisure time available for a class meeting at set times each week for a period of weeks or months.

So, I began looking for free options that would work within those constraints, yet be top quality material and provide the interactive approach. Thankfully, I found the Aleph with Beth materials late last year. They meet all these criteria.

The Review

One key advantage to these materials is that they are structured to teach the language, as much as possible, as though you were a child learning to speak your mother tongue. No English is used in the lessons, but meaning is made clear with gestures, props (dolls, toy animals, etc.), photos, and video. You can start without knowing the Hebrew alphabet at all. (It is introduced after several lessons first get you used to hearing the language and learning some basic vocabulary, as well as some simple sentence structures and phrases.)

The instructor is Beth (Bethany) Case, often joined by her husband Andrew, who interacts by responding to prompts and points to different vocabulary item props/pictures. As they point out in their website, Free Hebrew, they purposely designed the materials so anyone from any language background can use them, so did not use any English explanations. So even people who do not speak English can use the materials and get the full benefits.

Also, they decided that opportunities to learn the Biblical languages should not be limited to religious leaders, but should be open to everyone, particularly those who are committed Christians. So, they wanted to make the materials easy to use, without the need for memorization and translation, and also free of charge, so all of every economic status could participate.

I found the videos engaging, fun, and easy to follow due to the use of visuals and props, as well as the clear pronunciation of the vocabulary. The accent is slightly different from what I’m used to (Sephardic rather than the standard Israeli accent), but this is not a problem. Using the vocabulary in a conversational way helped learning. There is also plenty of repetition to help cement the vocabulary in your mind.

What about grammar? It is a common claim by doubters that you don’t learn grammar well with communicative approaches like this series. Well, if that’s where you are, I encourage you to look at these videos. You’ll find that the grammar is indeed there, just presented implicitly, in meaningful contexts. Among the grammar topics presented just in these four lessons I’ve viewed: masculine and feminine noun and adjectives, definite article, demonstrative pronouns, comparative adjectives, interrogatives, and more. They also have a document with a summary of the grammar covered in each lesson with Hebrew examples (over 100 pages worth) available from their website.

I am planning to continue on with the series, at least two times a week, or more as I can.

I highly recommend this series. There are over 90 lessons already available, each fairly short (less than 20 minutes).
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
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Jason Hare
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Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:07 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
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Re: Review-Aleph with Beth Video Course

Post by Jason Hare »

A fantastic review, Dewayne. I’ve never used it myself, but it would be great to recommend to those who want to learn.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
The Hebrew Café
יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
ספר משלי י״ב, י׳
talmid56
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: Review-Aleph with Beth Video Course

Post by talmid56 »

Thanks, Jason! There is a companion series for Koine Greek called Alpha with Angela, with a different presenter, who trained under Christophe Rico of the Polis Institute. Beth Case's husband Andew also assists with those videos in the same way he does for the Hebrew series. I'll do a review of that series on B-Greek sometime. I am using it as well.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
talmid56
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 am
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA

Re: Review-Aleph with Beth Video Course

Post by talmid56 »

To clarify, I did not mean to say that the traditional approaches have no value. Just that they do not lead to optimal results, and tend not to produce good reading skills in most learners. That is because they do not take the most natural approach to language learning. Ancient Hebrew and Greek are languages, just like Spanish or Arabic or Mandarin or Swahili. The same basic principles and best practices of SLA (Second Language Acquisition) can and will work with ancient languages if they are applied. I would say that learning grammar explicitly can help, but learning it in context of actual usage helps more. The same is true of learning vocabulary.

When I began learning Spanish in the Dark Ages (the 1970s), one of our types of homework was copying out by hand verb conjugation charts from the textbook. Very tedious stuff, but it did help learn them. However, using them in conversations helped a lot more. By the time I started reading literature in Spanish, I had already been speaking it for two or three years. It was much easer to recognize and understand verb usage in those texts because of that active use in speaking. Merely studying and copying verb tables would not have been adequate prep for this, in my view.

So, use the tradiitonal methods. They have some value. But, don't limit yourself to them. Add some more active, communicative methods to the mix also, even if you are like me and mostly don't get to talk with somebody else. (Although I did have a partner for speaking Latin for about 5 years, and it was very helpful, especially since all my Latin is self-taught.) You'll see more progress, and faster progress, than if you don't.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
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