Ben Putnam

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Ben Putnam
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:08 am

Ben Putnam

Postby Ben Putnam » Sun Oct 06, 2013 1:07 pm

Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker on the b-Hebrew mailing list for a while and am excited about this new format. I am an ASL (American Sign Language) / English interpreter and have been doing that for ten years now. I picked up ASL communicatively through interaction with native users of the language in a natural, immersive environment.

Later, I became interested in learning Koiné Greek and Biblical Hebrew. Because of my background with ASL acquisition, I realized the value of acquiring a language communicatively and started looking for any and all resources I could find that would help guide me to fluency in the biblical languages. In my search, I stumbled across the Biblical Language Center and have since purchased all of their products. (I would love the opportunity to attend their courses at some point in the future.) Beginning with the Greek materials, I spent hundreds of hours getting acquainted to the language in comprehensible contexts and building fluency. I subscribed to b-Greek and also joined Sxolé for a short while. After about a year of internalizing, I put Greek on the back burner and switched my focus to Hebrew, both the biblical and modern dialects. It has been about three years since then. Rosetta Stone has been a huge help in building modern Hebrew fluency, as has listening to streaming Israeli radio and joining in on a short-lived modern Hebrew class at a local Jewish temple. Watching videos online where Hebrew is being used and trying my hand at an Israeli newspaper designed for learners have taken me a little further in modern Hebrew.

I have also found modern Hebrew acquisition to be extremely helpful to my acquiring biblical Hebrew, and vice versa. As far as specifically Biblical Hebrew goes, online videos from the BLC and from those involved with their courses, in addition to the BLC products themselves, have been invaluable in my journey so far. I have noticed many distinctions between biblical and modern Hebrew and have found that I am able to keep the dialects separate, as much as they are different, and yet I am continually amazed at how much similarity they hold to each other and how much more in modern I have been able to understand in context due to increasing fluency in biblical, and vice versa again. I would not want to attempt internalizing biblical Hebrew without the added opportunity to gain real-time fluency in a modern dialect of the language.

One of my goals is to get a Master's in Linguistics and a PhD down the road, as well. In addition to remaining active in the ASL / English Interpreting profession, I'd like to teach biblical languages, utilizing CLT (communicative language teaching), as the BLC and others are doing, to get students thinking in and using Biblical Hebrew and Greek for real communication in order to boost their levels of comprehension and analysis of biblical (and other related) texts.

It's good to be here.
Ben Putnam

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