All posts by Mark

Hebrew Vocabulary – Time, Seasons, Months, Days of the Week

Hebrew Calandar, Days of the Week, Seasons, and Time

 

 

What are the words for time in Hebrew?
Time – zman -זמן

Today hayom היום
Yesterday etmol אתמול
Tomorrow mahar מחר
The day before yesterday shilshom שלשום
The day after tomorrow mahratayim מחרתיים
Day yom יום
Week shavua שבוע
Month hodesh חודש
Year shanah שנה
Hour sha`ah שעה
Minute daqah דקה
Second shniyah שניה
Time zman זמן

What are the day’s of the week in Hebrew?
Days of the week – yamey hashavua – ימי השבוע

Sunday yom rishon יום ראשון
Monday yom sheni יום שני
Tuesday yom shlishi יום שלישי
Wednesday yom revi`i יום רביעי
Thursday yom hamishi יום חמישי
Friday yom shishi יום ששי
Saturday shabat שבת

What are the names for the secular calendar (Gregorian calendar) used in Hebrew.  The secular months are used by most people in Israel.
Months – hodashim – חודשים

January Yanuar ינואר
February Februar פברואר
March Merts מרץ
April April אפריל
May May מאי
June Yuni יוני
July Yuli יולי
August Ogust אוגוסט
September September ספטמבר
October October אוקטובר
November November נובמבר
December Detsember דצמבר

What are the names of the Hebrew months in the Jewish calender?

Tishrei tishrey תשרי
Heshvan heshvan חשון
Kislev kislev כסלו
Tevet tevet טבת
Shevat shevat שבט
Adar adar אדר
Second Adar (the leap month) adar sheni אדר שני
Nisan nisan ניסן
Iyar iyar איי
Sivan sivan סיון
Tammuz tamuz תמוז
Av av אב
Elul elul אלול

What are the names of seasons in Hebrew?
Seasons – onot – עונות

Spring aviv אביב
Summer kayits קיץ
Autumn stav סתיו
Winter horef חורף

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review How To Learn Any Language

Review: How To Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own by Barry Farber

[amazon_link id=”0806512717″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]How To Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own[/amazon_link]

Barry Farber was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1930.  His language career started when he nearly failed Latin in the 9th grade.  Soon after he tasted his first linguistics success learning Mandarin Chinese by speaking speaking to Chinese sailors during a trip to his grandparents in Miami Beach.  He has studied 25 languages, which he speaks to varying degrees of fluency, including Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, and Yiddish.  He spent most of his professional life as a conservative talk-show host.

If you’re looking for the memoirs of a polyglot with a sprinkle of anecdotal advice on how to learn a language this is a fascinating book.  Barry Farber truly lead an interesting life.  He learned Italian on the streets playing with neighborhood children, learned Serbo-Croatian on a 16 day boat trip, smuggled Hungarians into Austria, among other linguistically involved escapades.  Perhaps after reading “How to Learn Any Language” you’ll want to be Barry Farber more than learn another language.

His approach to learning a language is battle tested, challenging, and unforgiving old school.  He instructs you to get a basic grammar, a dictionary, a phrase book, and a magazine newspaper or simple book in your target language, language tapes, blank tapes, and flash cards (including homemade ones).  The first assignment is to read the first five chapters of the grammar and mark anything that doesn’t make sense to ask a native speaker later. Second step: start reading authentic material in your target language, highlight the words you don’t know, and make flashcards for those words.  The theory behind this is that if a word appears in an authentic text it must be an important words to know.  I’ve personally skipped learning the names for fruits and vegetables because I know I won’t need those words (which is a reflection of my needs for using a language, not necessarily my dietary habits).  He then motivates you to militantly review  flashcards utilizing every spare minute.  Step three: use your phrase book to find the most common phrases you’ll need, like “hello, how are you, what’s your name, how do you get to the…” I’ve recommended using a phrase book to several people to quickly sound more authentic and natural when speaking.  Being able to pepper your speech with natural sounding phrases, even if they’re canned, goes very far when trying to prove language competency.  Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to pretend to have conversations, don’t just memorize the phrases.  Lastly, continue to read more of the grammar and the authentic text.  Around chapter eight or so he advises you find a native speaker and start conversing.  He also recommends listening to audio while doing chores, driving, or the like.  He also suggests that people record themselves, one for speaking practice and two for monitoring pronunciation and accent.  Farber also praises highly praises the Pimsleur Series as being high quality and extremely effective. Having used them myself, my only complaints are the price and the fact that they didn’t make more levels. Farber calls this method the `multiple track attack,’ because it uses several different mediums.

For learning new vocabulary words he tells you to use mnemonics.  I believe this is an extremely effective way to learn a lot of vocabulary very fast.  The only draw back is that you might not be able to come up with enough mnemonics or spend a lot of time trying to invent them.  If you’re learning a language that people have already made mnemonics use those, even if you have to buy them, like Linkword.  Mnemonics can be extremely fun and entertaining, which is desperately needed in one of the most tedious areas of language study.  For example:  ‘kar lo’ means ‘he is cold’ in Hebrew by imagining my friend Carlo shivering.

The book was published in 1991 and needs to be updated to incorporate the use of computers, mp3 players, skype tutors etc.  The novelty of finding a Spanish speaking maid is lessened by living in a connected world of skype. Do a quick search for ‘language exchange’ or ‘language pen pals,’ and you’ll discover tens of sites and communities that link language partners together.  With a little common sense his methods can be easily adapted to the modern age.  Farber suggests using a tape recorder to record yourself, obviously, using an mp3 player or computer is the better modern option.  He recommends using flashcards, again, pre-made flash cards or free software like Anki are the modern equivalents. Also, YouTube offers a ton of language learning material, often subtitled and with translations.

Farber does offer a glimpse into what it’s like to actually learn a language, exciting, fun, challenging, at times difficult, and extremely rewarding.  Perhaps more valuable, Farber tells us how to not learn a language.  Though he did learn Russian in college, he didn’t learn 25 languages by taking seven courses in college to become fluent in his target languages.  Reading “How to Learn Any Language” offers the knowledge and experience of years of language learning in an easy read.  Past his easy to use and useful learning techniques his personal insights are invaluable.

The author is a little vague concerning several details. The book never lists the 25 languages he claims to speak nor does it fully explain what level of fluency he’s reached in any of the 25 languages.  I’m assuming that he does speak 25 languages to a reasonable level for several reasons.  One: Being known as language expert invites people to converse with you in their native tongues, as far as I know he hasn’t been caught out. Two: He could have stopped counting far before 25 and he still would have been impressive. Three: The majority of his livelihood was from being a radio personality, not a renowned linguist leaving him no financial incentive (aside from this book, he’s published two others) to exaggerate his abilities.

[amazon_link id=”0806512717″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]How To Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own[/amazon_link]

For a  more up to date product that offers effective practical advise to learn any language, check out the Language Hacking Guide by Benny the Polyglot

 

Counting in Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic

Roman NumbersThe following chart compares how to count from 1-10 in Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic.  I included transliterations of all three languages so everyone can compare the similarities and dissimilarities between the languages.  In all three languages, cardinal and ordinal numbers must agree in gender (masculine or feminine; mixed groups are treated as masculine) with the noun(s) they are describing.  All of the forms here are cardinal (numbers that express amount; one, two, three of something) as opposed to ordinal numbers (which indicate position in a series or order; first, second, third).  Interestingly, Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic numbers all exhibit ‘polarity,’ that is, masculine numbers are used for feminine nouns and feminine numbers are used for masculine nouns.

In Modern Hebrew, if a noun isn’t being referred, the feminine form is used.  In Modern Hebrew many speakers commonly use the feminine form as the default, even in instances in which it would be grammatically wrong to do so.

You may be wondering where the Arabic feminine numbers have gone, all of the Arabic numbers can be made feminine by adding “ة” at the end.

<scroll down to view the chart>

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Number Pron. AramaicMale Pron. AramaicFeminine Pron. ArabicMale Pron. HebrewFemale Pron. HebrewMale
0 Sifr صفر achat achat efes אֶפֶס
1 chad חַד chada הֲדָא waa7id واحد אַחַת echad אֶחַד
2 treyn תְּרֵין tarteyn תַּרְתֵּין ithnaan اثنان shtayim שְׁתַּיִם shnayim שְׁנַיִם
3 tlata תְּלָתָא telat תְּלָת thalaatha ثلاثة shalosh שָׁלוֹשׁ shlosha שְׁלוֹשָׁה
4 arba אַרְבְּעָה arba אַרְבַּע arba3a أربعة arbah אַרְבַּע arba’a אַרְבָּעָה
5 chamsha חַמְשָׁא chameysh חֲמֵישׁ khamsa خمسة chameysh חָמֵשׁ chamisha חֲמִשָׁה
6 shita שִׁיתָּא shet שֵית sitta ستة sheysh שֵׁשׁ shisha שִׁשָּׁה
7 shiva שִׁבְעָה shva שְבַע sab3a سبعة sheva שֶׁבַע shiv’a שִׁבְעַה
8 tmanya תְּמָנְיָא tamney תַּמְנֵי thamaaneya ثمانية shmoneh שְׁמוֹנֶה shmonah שְׁמוֹנָה
9 tisha תִּשְׁעָה teysha תֵּשַׁע tis3a تسعة teysha תֵּשַׁע tish’a תִּשְׁעָה
10 asra עַסְרָא? asar עַסַר 3ashara عشرة eser עֶשֶׂר assara עֲשָׂרָה

NEW: Did you know we have an Aramaic discussion forum?

 

 

Review of Colloquial Hebrew

“Colloquial Hebrew” is one of my favorite introductory Hebrew books that teaches Modern Hebrew you’ll actually encounter in Israel; not the hodge-podge Biblical and out-dated Modern Hebrew normally found in introductory books.  It starts by introducing Hebrew script, both standard block and cursive and progresses from the basics to a fairly advanced level.  The book comes with two 60 minute CDs that teach proper pronunciation and the dialogues. The book starts with vowels and slowly moves towards voweless words as the book progresses, the book also contains transliterations.  In my opinion, if a person is starting with this book and doesn’t know the Hebrew alphabet, the book shouldn’t stop using vowels.

Hebrew is a language built on verb roots and patterns.  If you can successfully master roots and their conjugations (tense, gender, number, noun formation) you have mastered Hebrew (at least the grammar!).  Introducing students to this system is one of the most challenging parts of Hebrew.  “Colloquial Hebrew” does a masterful job of slowly and intelligently introducing verb forms.  It’s truly unmatched.

Other highlights:

1) Contains a quick grammar reference- no more flipping around a book for a grammar rule

2) Audio is clear and professionally produced, although at times rapid.  This can be an advantageous if you want to accustom yourself to understanding the way Hebrew is spoken in the street, fast.

3) Contains a verb table of the different forms used in the book.  No Hebrew verb table is every friendly to a beginner.

4) Solid Hebrew-English dictionary in the back of the book.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an English-Hebrew dictionary.

5)  Dialogues in language learning books have never been fascinating.  The dialogues in this book are at least entertaining.  For a beginner’s book, the dialogues are very authentic; this is really the way people speak.  I know it’s called “Colloquial Hebrew,” so I shouldn’t be surprised that it contains colloquial speech but I’m impressed that they pulled it off.

6) There’s an answer key.  It’s surprising the number of language books that don’t offer answer to exercises.  However, there are a large number of errors in the key and throughout the book for that matter.

[amazon_link id=”041543159X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Colloquial Hebrew (Colloquial Series)[/amazon_link]

How long do I need to live in Israel to Speak Hebrew fluently?

The Western Wall - The Kotel - The Wailing WallThere is no definitive answer for how long it takes to learn Hebrew.  It depends on several factors including motivation, previous knowledge of Hebrew or other languages, innate ability, study skills, resources available etc.  If you’re a native English speaker you’ll undoubtedly encounter many Israelis that will switch to English in order to improve their English.  It’s a known problem that native English speakers who are serious about learning Hebrew face.

What is in your control, however, is how much you study, how intensely you study, avoiding speaking your native tongue, and the environment you put yourself in.  I know many people that would be able to speak Hebrew today if they would have immersed themselves in an all Hebrew speaking environment for an extended period of time.

When answering this question, some people emphasis that the younger you are, the faster you’ll learn.  As a broad unspecified statement, I disagree, something I’d like to explain in a different post in the future. At the end of the day, you can’t do anything about your age but control how much you study, how serious you are, how much you avoid using English etc.  So take advantage of the Hebrew learning resources available today and keep studying Hebrew.

Koreans Learning Hebrew and Studying the Bible

I recently wrote an article about a Korean TV crew’s visit to Ponevezch Yeshiva.  I’ve researched a little more and found some other interesting articles.  Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, published an article in November 2008 called, “Korean’s Dominate in Bible Studies in Hebrew U.”  Hebrew University awarded 328 doctoral degree in 2008, of which only six where in Biblical studies.  Among the six, two were Israeli, one American, and three were Korean.

Young Sik Cho wrote a doctorate about “concepts of wealth in the Book of Proverbs.” Yun Ho Chong examined the “factors which created a negative stance toward the Golden Calf cult in the Bible.” Song-Yun Shin investigated the “language of Hagai-Zecharia-Malachi and its place in the history of the Hebrew Bible.”  Additionly, Song Dal Quan completed a doctorate in the Hebrew Language Department which pertained to “use of ‘haya (to be)’ syntax in biblical language.”   A 2010 Y-net article, “The Korean girl in Bible class“, mentioned one Korean girl who is fluent in Hebrew.  One student advisor in Hebrew University remarked about the increasing number of Korean and Japanese students and the diligence to Bible, Judaic Studies, and the Hebrew language.

Most of the students are motivated by a strong Protestant or Catholic faith and wish to explore the roots of their religion.  After the completion of their degrees many hope to return to home, to Korean or Japan, and teach Hebrew or Bible. 7MRPZM5TCGH9

Korean TV Crew Visits Ponevezh Yeshiava

A TV crew from South Korean paid a visit to Ponevezh (Ponovitch) Yeshiva in Bnei Brak in order to film and learn about the study of Talmud. The yeshiva has well over one thousand Talmidim, and is one of the leading Lithuanian-style yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel today  The film crew interviewed students and Rabbis in the Yeshiva about their experiences learning Gemara and other Jewish texts.
“The reason why we came was to see the real Talmud. Jewish people are known for [a high percentage of] Nobel prizes. The Korean people are curious about how Jewish people started and why Jewish people are so smart,” the Korean journalist told Channel 10 TV. The TV crew also interviewed the yeshiva’s Rabbi Meir Volk.
I’ve also noticed a high level of traffic from google.co.kr, South Korea’s version of Google.  It seems that thereis a large number of Koreans searching for terms such as Hebrew grammar, Hebrew vocabulary, and Hebrew lessons etc.  Koreans realize that in order to learn Chumash, Talmud, and other texts they need to understand the language.  I’m sure there isn’t a large amount of books written to help people who speak Korean learn Hebrew, let alone material specifically written in Korean.  I’m interested in seeing if we could start a joint project to help more Koreans learn Hebrew.
Here’s the youtube video of the December 2011 visit:

Korean TV Crew Visits Ponevezh Yeshiva<

Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar – The Classic by Wilhelm Gesenius

Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar is the standard reference grammar in English for Biblical Hebrew and remains as an undisputed classic in the field.  Anyone who is serious about reading and translating the Hebrew Bible will need a copy for reference.  It’s used in many advanced courses around the world.  Gesenius is legendary and immovable from it’s status as thee Hebrew Grammar of choice because of it’s exhaustive nature.  There is almost no match for it’s utter comprehensiveness.  Few have ever read it cover to cover; instead it stands as a reference for any grammatical point that might arise during serious translation study.

What the Gesnesius has in comprehensiveness it also holds in level of linguistic complexity.  People purchase the Gesenius to learn more about Hebrew grammar and more often than not walk away feeling that they know even less about English grammar.  The language used to describe grammatical and syntactic features might be unfamiliar to someone even with fairly advanced knowledge of English grammar and modern linguistics.

My advice when approaching the seemingly incomprehensible jargon is slow down and really absorb what is being said.  Often, with a quick pause and deep thought about what the passage actually means, comprehension naturally follows.

Historically, this work has been monumental in the formal study of Hebrew grammar.  It should be noted however that significant points have been proven to be untrue.  This doesn’t render the work obsolete but one should be made aware of that fact.  More up to date information can be found in Waltke & O’Connors An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax.

Here is a list of two available editions.  Both are scanned and enlarged versions with varying degrees of imperfections:

The first is the Nabu Press one based off of a newer edition so it has updated indices, however it’s 34.87$

[amazon_link id=”1176644777″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gesenius' Hebrew grammar[/amazon_link]

The second is the Dover Press edition with out the newer indices but with a more moderate price of 17.98$

[amazon_link id=”0486443442″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (Dover Language Guides)[/amazon_link]

Learning Hebrew Online – Online Hebrew Course

1. Online courses are convenient.

The biggest advantage of a learning online is that your classroom and instructor are available 24 hours, a day, seven days a week.  Because their are no whether delays the only excuse for missing a class is not logging online or maybe internet connection problems.  You can access notes, review previous assignments, take practice quizzes, real quizzes, discuss readings and assignments, and communication with fellow students and a time that is convenient for you.  You can make your own schedule for completing the requirements of the course.

2. Online courses offer flexibility.

You can study whenever you want and however you want.  You can study in pajamas or in a business suit after a day of work.  Online courses offer the flexibility to spend time at work, with family, friends, a significant other, or doing a hobby that you love.  People with changing work schedules, people who have business trips, parents, or students with health issues can benefit from online course delivery.

3. Online courses bring education right to your home.

Online students often find their friends and family involved in the course.  Parents can be an example to their children by demonstrating that education, especially religious education is important to them.  Taking the time out of the day to learn Hebrew online shows that you value Hebrew and what it offers you educationally and spiritually.

4. Online courses offer more individual attention.

Because students are directly in contact with the instructor via e-mail or online chat you can get your questions answered directly.  Many students aren’t comfortable asking questions in class because they don’t want to feel stupid.  Learning Hebrew online can help eliminate this fear.  Many times you think of a questions after class or while you are studying.  Most students forget their questions by the time they ever reach the classroom.  Instead of forgetting it you can instantly e-mail the instructor.  You also don’t have to compete for valuable instructor face time.

5. Online Hebrew courses are available everywhere

Hebrew isn’t a language that is has a vast amount of resources to help you learn it, like Spanish, French, or German.  It’s a language that has a much smaller amount of speakers.  Courses to learn Hebrew aren’t available and neither or speakers of Hebrew to help you practice speaking Hebrew.  An online course to learn Hebrew can supply you with an equivalent, or better, learning experience that might only be available after traveling a significant distance.

6. Online courses can save you money

Some people are pushed away from learning online because of the sometime high costs involved.  In reality however, the money spent driving, paying for gas, and the time it takes to commute to a private Hebrew tutor or class is often much more than online learning options.

7. Online courses promote life-long learning.

Most people leave academic learning after they graduate from high school, college, or university.  Learning Hebrew Online allows you continue your education throughout you life.

8. Online courses have financial benefits.

There are many ancillary costs to attending a college.  Parking costs, eating our versus eating at home, child-care, missing work or overtime opportunities.  The flexibility of learning at home has many financial benefits.

9. Online courses teach you to be self-disciplined.

Perhaps the greatest enemy of online courses is procrastination.  Most of us, put off things until the very last moment.  In education, pushing things off to the last minute is the worst way to learn.  Learning online doesn’t just teach students the course subject, it also teaches students responsibility.  Students learn the importance of, and how to, get things done on time or ahead of time.  Students also become self-motivated in learning which increases not only satisfaction from the course but an increased likelihood that they’ll continue learning in the future.

10.  Learning Hebrew Online offers the chance to practice speaking

One of the most essential skills of learning a foreign language is the ability to speak.  Depending on where you live there might not be any Hebrew speakers available.  Even if there are they might be interested in helping you practice or not know how to help you.  People often feel embarrassed when they are trying to speak a foreign language. Learning online can help a student feel more comfortable speaking because of the anonymity that the internet provides.

-I’ve carefully selected some of the best, most experienced Hebrew teachers to make them available online.  If you’re interested in more information about learning with one of our teachers please fill out our contact form to arrange online Hebrew lessons.

 

Process vs Product in Learning a Foreign Language

In learning foreign languages I have picked up many strategies and approaches in order to maximize my time and effectiveness. If I had to choose the most important idea I’ve learned it would be “Process vs Product.” The idea is simple, it means maximizing your result and minimizing your effort to achieve those results. Instead of getting things done “right” (i.e. perfectionism) it means achieving. It’s especially important because every strategy can be analyzed through the lens of Process vs Product.” It’s so intuitive it’s often overlooked, here are some examples…

1) making flashcards – Just make the cards! It doesn’t matter if they’re perfect what matters is that you have flashcards for the vocabulary you want. True, you are in a sense studying while you’re making them but the real benefit is actually using them. You’ll get far more effectiveness out of studying them then making them, so focus on that.

2) Writing notes – It’s important to remember that writing notes is not an end unto itself. The one with the best notes doesn’t get to speak with the locales in a foreign country, however, the one who has internalized those notes does. The focus shouldn’t be on having the most beautifully written notes or most organized. The focus should be on being able to use the information in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

The list goes on and it’s different for each person depending on their approach to learning a foreign language. You can even think about this idea in relation to other areas of your life. Apply this more often and you’ll find more time than you ever imagined to master your target language.