About this course
Why did we make this course at all
Course plan:(updated as of 1.1.2011)
Lesson 8 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 9 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 10 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 11 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 12 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 13 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 14 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 15 (temporarily - without audio)
Lesson 16-28 - to be available soon
Grammar - table of verbs conjugation
About this course:
How do i begin?
Read the chapter below, and if it suits you - click on lesson 0, and off you go. If you seriuosly intend to learn here - it would be nice of you to leave a comment on this entry, introducing yourself (name, and if you want to - your age and city - for statistics only). Feedbacks in comments are more than welcome )
What's the structure of the course?
4 weeks of 7 lessons. Each lesson consists of four parts, with a grammar note, vocabulary (5-8 words) and exercise.
There are 2 recommended schedules:
- Intensive one - a lesson every day. That makes it a 4weeks course. In that case we recommend to break a lesson into two “sessions” - a morning session (parts a&b), and an evening session (parts c&d). Each session is expected to take about 60minutes.
- Normal one - a lesson every other day, making it an 8weeks course. Still, it's best to learn parts a&b the first day, and parts c&d the other.
Who is the target audience?
Any person willing to learn hebrew with a serious approach. Suits mostly age-group of 15-40. We would like to underline – if you're going for a week-trip and want to pick up 10 useful words - this is definitely not for you.
Where will I be by the end of the course?
You will be able to hold conversation, read and write on a decent level.
How about some learning tips?
- Study when you're concentrated, not tired and sober. Devote yourself fully while studying and don't interrupt yourself (with phone, email, food etc.).
- Do all exercises completely. These have been carefully suited to make the most out of learning. Skipping any would seriously hamper your progress.
- Always check the right answer and right pronunciation, after you did the exercise. If the correct answer doesn't fit your – ask yourself why. In case you don't understand – write us / leave a comment – don't leave things unclear.
- Try to find a couple of minutes, here and there, everyday (while walking, taking shower or anywhere else) – and repeat the new words you learned today and yesterday. Try to repeat several sentences you met in exercises (words are best remembered through their combinations in sentences).
- When you have to write – write, don't be lazy. You can use keyboard, although we recommend to do it the good old way, with a pen and paper.
What is the vague outline of the course?
First week – alphabet, verb conjugation of main group in present&past, basic grammar, basic vocabulary.
Second and third weeks - verb conjugation of other groups, advanced grammar, lot of vocabulary.
Fourth week – yet more vocabulary, style + colloquial language.
What about modern/biblical hebrew?
This course is totally about modern hebrew. We are not teaching anything that is not commonly spoken these days.
Anything to know about IT aspects?
We're trying to make it as simple as possible. There are, however, two important features that run java script – so, if for some reason you don't have it – we suggest you go to java.com to install it. As of the moment, the website definitely works fine with firefox, explorer and chrome.
How interactive is the website?
You can pose questions in comments (of respective lesson).You can also contact us through our email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about the commercial aspects?
None. There are, and will be, no “paid features”, ads or any sort of commercial activity on the site.
And our thanks go to..
to be completed
Why did we make this course at all:(this is not very interesting)
Why do we want to do this project?
We believe in learning languages as an important social and educational tool, we see many people interested in and learning hebrew, we support self-studies, and we think the currently available tools (especially the free ones) are not of highest level.
What's wrong with the current tools?
There are 3 main categories: classical books, interactive sites and audiobooks. Interactive sites are of highest potential (nowhere near being fully realised yet); audiobooks are more convenient in certain circumstances (driving); and classic books are enjoying most experience, resulting in higher quality. Speaking of technological limitations – textbooks don't provide pronunciation, audiobooks don't provide visual texts, neither can provide video and both are awkward in navigation (especially in cross-referencing). The interactive sites, on the other hand, are (currently) of a low level from pedagogical point of view, “childish”, concentrating more on visual effects. We'd like to combine the best of all - construct a site, with quality content (effective learning methods), on a serious platform (rather than improvised flash-site), and with convenient audio (later – possibly video).
What about the methodics?
We consider the following dogmas of teaching (that prevail in books&websites) to be wrong:
- The course must be 100% right. So, in order to avoid mistakes – books are often going way into details, overwhelming the reader with exceptions and minor rules. Instead – we prefer the reader to make “deliberate” mistakes and to fix those a bit later, as long as that makes the learning process easier, and the mistakes will be fixed fairly soon.
- Things should be learned by topics, themes or grammatic chapters. For instance – one lesson teaches 10 colors, one lesson deals with numbers 1-10, and one – with all forms of conjugating verbs. We think this is wrong – it's known that people struggle remembering more than 5-6 items of the same category, but can easily remember 3 items from each of 3 different categories. So, in that example – it's much more efficient to give 3 colors, 3 numbers and few verb forms every lesson.
- Exceptions are important, and should be taught right with the rule. We think people should first get used to the standard model, and only then there's a point talking about exceptions. Otherwise – student won't understand the centrality of standard model, will be overwhelmed at once with abundance of options, and will be discouraged by complexity of grammar.
- All grammar is (equally) important. No, we think the importance of a grammar topic is proportional to its relevance in language, especially – in colloquial speech, and that should dictate the order of studies. For example, the imperative verb form is dying – it can hardly be heard on streets; that means this topic can be postponed towards the end.
- Names of grammatic structures are important. We think these bear no importance at all. There's little use (and lots of redundancy) learning the official names of tenses, verb groups and so on. Generally speaking, attitude should be as simple as possible: instead of saying “third person singular feminine” we'd rather say “the 'she'-form”.
- Analyzing grammar is not at all important, teaching should be comparative. We think the importance of grammar lies in its ability, for student, to put huge vocabulary into structures, and declaring these structures explicitly makes the process faster. Of course, the structures are of no importance per se, only in its assistance with vocabulary.
- People should learn both typed and hand-written alphabet. We believe it's the typed alphabet only that should be learned (during this 4weeks course). Since the student will have no access to anything hand-written, and therefore no practice, we'd rather see him mastering writing (in hand!) the typed alphabet (even though few israelis can do that..). Getting used, later, to handwritten is very easy. Besides, in computer era, hand-written alphabet is becoming evermore obsolete.
- Student should get grammar and vocabulary, the rest will come. We believe a more important skill is to be able to form sentences from words, and to decompose a heard sentence back to basic units. We devote significant part of lessons to translating phrases, underlining the differences in sentence-wise thinking between english and hebrew, and then the student hears the translated sentence he just created himself, learning to decompose fluent hebrew speech.
- Words should be learned according to their importance in hebrew. True, but not only that: complexity of the word should be taken into consideration (relative to the native language of the student), as well as its normality vs. exceptionness, and its subjective link to the student. For example, word like 'super' (colloquial of supermarket) may not be most urgent to learn, neither is it most simple – but:
since it takes no effort to remember,
and since it actually encourages the student (giving him the illusion other words are just as easy),
and since it's a convenient word in fabricating practicing-sentences,
and since it can demonstrate and support grammatical rules (whereas most important words tend to be exceptions, only confusing student) -
to summarize, we believe much thought should be put into order of vocabulary to be taught.
- Exercises should be exercicing last lesson' material. We believe it should equally use the material of last 2-3 lessons, to keep it alive, and sampling bits of material from long ago – to renew the forgotten (so that every word will be exercised at much later stage, as well). Besides, student gets encouraged combining the new material with something he already firmly knows.
- Language is sacred, teaching should be objective and serious. We think that everything student can relate to – works. Fun always helps. If there's a mnemonic trick – why not to show it?
What, then, we think a lesson should look like?
Each lesson of ours contains little bit of all – several verbs, several nouns, several useful words of no category, a bit of standard grammar, some corrections to the standard grammar that was taught 2-3 lessons earlier, tips on daily use and cultural references and so on. Structure of every atomic part is: grammar, vocabulary, exercise (ideally – practicing the just-learned-grammar upon the just-learned-vocabulary). The final part of every lesson contains many exercises on sentence-level.