Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Friday, August 03, 2012

Hebrew for Dummies: Introduction, Part I

Most folks trying to learn Hebrew for the first time are utterly baffled and bewildered by it.  It runs the wrong way, right to left, instead of vice versa.  It uses a different alphabet, with some sounds repeated, some sounds interchangeable, and some omitted.  You can write it with vowels or without [no Israeli needs vowels by 4th grade, incomprehensible as that seems].

Over the years, I've developed some of the things I've learned into several essays that make Hebrew a bit more accessible for those raised on a language which derives from Latin and the Romance languages [Indo-European base], and Germanic tongues.  Hopefully, this can make learning to read, and speak, Hebrew a bit easier.

With my usual lack of consistency, Heaven only knows when I will have the time or the will to discourse on this topic, so don't be distressed at either the frequency of posts or the lack thereof.  Fortunately, for the beginner, modern Hebrew has not had time to become markedly irregular, and the vocabulary one needs for davvening [apart from reading Tehillim, which has many words not found elsewhere in Tanach] is fairly limited.  Moreover, Hebrew is read phonetically [in spite of the "no vowels" business"]; the wild aberrations of English spelling [which we don't even notice, being so used to it] nowhere appear in Hebrew, and as a result, loan words from other languages can easily be inserted in Hebrew.  However, the language remains pure enough that Tanach seems no distant than Shakespearean English does to us; King David could show up tomorrow and he'd understand me, although he would undoubtedly think I spoke a bit oddly.  He'd have a tougher time with the Ashkenazi pronounciation, and he'd probably think the Lithuanian style unintelligible [it's largely unintelligible to any but Litvaks anyway, which may be why they use it]

Two books which I recommend highly are "How The Hebrew Language Grew" and "501 Hebrew Verbs".  Also, to get you started, once you have the Aleph-Bet conquered, a dry-erase board with both dry-erase markers AND permanent markers will be of use.

Next: the Aleph-Bet
Coming soon to a blog near you

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