Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

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Jason Hare
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by Jason Hare »

ducky wrote:But it does appear in the Mishna. Even though, also in the Mishna, it comes more in the religious meaning of repentance.
Absolutely. It's clear that תְּשׁוּבָה most readily refers to repentance, as in the expression בַּ֫עַל תְּשׁוּבָה, one who repents and begins observing the Torah.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by Jason Hare »

@talmid56

Are there any questions you could think to add to this first test run? The text is adapted from the workbook of Learning Biblical Hebrew, which adapted it from Genesis 43.
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Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
talmid56
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by talmid56 »

Karl, Jason, and Ducky: Thanks for looking at this with me and for your suggestions. I will consider them all carefully and post again in a few days. Jason: absolutely, I'll be glad to interact with you with your Hebrew compositions, asap. As for additional questions, I haven't composed others yet, but I can imagine you could add more. The main thing was, in this case, to base them on the vocabulary of the Exodus passage itself as much as possible.
Dewayne Dulaney
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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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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by Jason Hare »

talmid56 wrote:Jason: absolutely, I'll be glad to interact with you with your Hebrew compositions, asap. As for additional questions, I haven't composed others yet, but I can imagine you could add more. The main thing was, in this case, to base them on the vocabulary of the Exodus passage itself as much as possible.
My big limitation in this regard is that I lack creativity. I'm very much a straightforward kind of thinker, and sometimes I don't get all that outside-the-box when it comes to thinking of what a learner needs to encounter in a language acquisition environment. In other words, I tend to be grammar-forward in my approach rather than message-focused. It's a problem of how I learned languages as an adult.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
talmid56
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by talmid56 »

Understandable, especially since most BH courses, at least for beginners, tend to be grammar-focused. My first course was. And the three reading courses that followed were as much about translating as reading, which is about the same thing. Not that they weren't valuable in their way. They gave me a foot in the door. In my case, the message focus comes from how I was trained in modern languages (French, Spanish, German, Portuguese), as well as my approach to teaching Spanish, French, and ESL. And Latin, also. About ten years ago, as I became aware of recordings of the Bible in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and the work of Randall Buth and his colleagues, the message aspect for learning ancient languages came home to me. Why wasn't I taught like that? Can I learn the languages better that way? These questions and how to answer them became an important focus for me. Especially after I started reading Krashen on second language acquisition and learning ( and using) TPR methods.
Dewayne Dulaney
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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
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by talmid56 »

So, I became convinced that language (including grammar) is best learned in a meaningful context. This can be in a reading context, a spoken language context, or both. Recalling how I was taught modern languages (starting in high school), this is what we did. Yes, we did some memorization of verb tables, for example. But we also used them in dialogues and saw how they were used communicatively. I believe this helped us learn and retain the verb forms and uses better than just memorizing the tables would have. So also with vocabulary. No reason why this cannot be done with Biblical Hebrew. There are challenges and controversies, to be sure. But the rewards are worth the effort.
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
kwrandolph
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by kwrandolph »

Dewayne:

My introduction to second language learning was via immersion, sink or swim, and I sank. I would have been a freshman in high school, beyond the age of easy language learning, instead I was in Germany. I knew no German. I sank, but because is was more difficult for me to learn German than for my younger siblings, I also didn’t forget as quickly. Years later, I lived in Germany for another year, this time without my family. It took about a month after returning to the States before I started thinking in English again. Ich kann immer noch auf Deutsch denken, wenn ich so will.

After learning another language the following year, I returned to the states having missed two years of high school. I never made them up.

I later studied other foreign languages before picking up Hebrew.

The method I learned to learn foreign languages is to learn basic grammar for a simple sentence, and the basic vocabulary to use in that sentence. Then concentrate on learning more vocabulary through use of the language. For ancient languages that are no longer spoken, that use is by reading the texts written in that language. It is in the acquisition of more vocabulary that bit by bit more complex grammar will be learned.

Memorization turns out to be more important than you think. It is by repeatedly going over and over a text that is accurate, an accurate use of the language sinks in, almost second nature. It’s one of those things that develops a feel for the language that goes beyond a mere description of grammar and dictionary look-up.

An example was my initial reaction to the “Jehoash Inscription”—my first reaction was that it just didn’t feel right even before making a deeper study thereof.

One of the fruits of dyslexia is that a dyslexic needs constantly to anticipate what comes next in a sentence, which means that he needs to develop a feel for the language. This is a feel that transcends mere grammar studies. If a dyslexic expects to read a verb next, and instead finds a noun, he stops to find out what he read wrongly. I got a lot of that feel for Biblical Hebrew by memorization.

Biblical Hebrew had an extra difficulty—what I was taught in class was not Biblical Hebrew. The textbook was by Weingreen, and the dictionary used in class was a translation of the Gesenius’ dictionary. Weingreen taught medieval Hebrew grammar, while Gesenius’ dictionary a mixture of medieval Hebrew with references to cognate languages. The answer to both problems was the acquisition of a larger and more accurate Biblical Hebrew vocabulary. In fact, your biggest challenge in the long run will be the acquisition of vocabulary.

By the way, I mentioned in an earlier message that I had written a dictionary. Originally I wrote it for my personal use. The last few years I’ve sent out copies in a pdf format, updating every six months. If you write me at kwrandolph@gmail.com with the title “dictionary”, I’ll send you a copy.

A major reason that I don’t recommend Randall Buth’s method for learning Biblical Hebrew is because Biblical Hebrew language is not that well known. We only fool ourselves if we claim that we have perfect knowledge of Biblical Hebrew. Some of us have better knowledge than others. Therefore, if we try to make up conversations and questions, there’s very good probability that we’ll teach something that is inaccurate.

Karl W. Randolph.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by Jason Hare »

kwrandolph wrote:A major reason that I don’t recommend Randall Buth’s method for learning Biblical Hebrew is because Biblical Hebrew language is not that well known. We only fool ourselves if we claim that we have perfect knowledge of Biblical Hebrew. Some of us have better knowledge than others. Therefore, if we try to make up conversations and questions, there’s very good probability that we’ll teach something that is inaccurate.
I have to wonder what keeps you from teaching, then. If you have a better knowledge of biblical Hebrew than others, why don't you attempt to pass that knowledge on or create a better grammar?
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
talmid56
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by talmid56 »

Karl, I agree that memorization is valuable in language learning, whether of vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation/orthography conventions. I am working toward memorizing some selected Psalms in Hebrew. Before doing the memory work on the Psalm text, I am making notes on unfamiliar vocabulary and grammar forms there. Also any pertinent textual variants that impact the meaning of the text. At some point in the future, if this approach proves helpful, I will share the notes either here, on my blog, or on Facebook.

Could you provide some examples of the medieval Hebrew grammar taught by Gesenius? Granted, the nikudot represent a medieval rendering of pronunciation (although some believe the system reflects pronunciation from an older time). But I assume you mean grammar or vocabulary issues, not pronunciation. Or am I wrong about that?

I don't know of anyone, Buth or anyone else teaching BH, who claims to have a perfect knowledge of it. And I would submit that making mistakes is part of the learning process. Sure, we need to be as accurate as we can. No question there. But we need not make the perfect the enemy of the good. The fact remains that while immersion is not the answer for everyone, it does help many people. Now, my high school and college language work I referenced were not immersion method, per se. The teachers would give explanations and let us ask questions in English. But, to a great extent, particularly as our skills improved, we used immersion. And we used lots of conversation. We had grammar focused portions and work. But because we also put these into practice in a meaningful context, when we began to read texts, it was easier to understand them. We were already used to working with the language as a vehicle of communicating meaning. And since a text, particularly a literary text, is an instrument for conveying ideas, it helps to be able to think in the language to a degree. Not that we did it perfectly at first, or later. But we didn't have to constantly look up words or idioms, or check grammars for forms or tables. Learning the language communicatively helped make us good readers in the language. You seem to feel that because we do not have a complete knowledge of BH, such an attempt is not possible. You of course have the right to your opinion. But keep in mind, BH is still a language, like any other. The principles of language acquisition that are being learned and applied in our times work for all languages, not just for modern ones.
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
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Re: Don't Translate First to Check Comprehension-Do A Q & A in Hebrew!

Post by talmid56 »

And, as I noted concerning interrogatives, there are numerous examples of conversational material in the Tanakh. While these doubtless do not cover every topic we might want, they get us started if we want to use them as such. Prayers and preaching recorded in the Hebrew Bible also could be examined for such material. Besides the canonical texts, there are Hebrew ostraca with private letters and other similar material (Lachish, Arad, etc.). The latter are within the Biblical period, and are by native users of the language.
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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