Teaching Hebrew without the dots and dashes

I am exploring how an adult human brain can learn another code of symbols and then use them to express thoughts.  In almost every Hebrew book that teaches beginning Hebrew, the writers expect you to learn 27 symbols in the first lesson.  By the second lesson, they take it for granted that you have not only memorized these letters but you have the ability to manipulate them to begin to make words.  They offer no practice sessions, no drills–you’re on your own.  Why does a good language teacher expect students to be able to suddenly juggle 27 sounds and signs at the same time?  They shoot arbitrary sounds and signs at students and call it language learning.

Then to top it off, most books teaching Hebrew then throw in the dots and dashes that go on top and at the bottom of the letters.  They are called the nekod.  Here’s how to type nekod on a Mac: The nikood was a system invented by the Masorets (Jewish scholars in the Middle Ages) in order that people would not forget how to pronounce the words.  This is all very good, but is it necessary for the beginning learner?  William P. Griffin is one professor who thinks not. This question of using the nekud is up for debate by many scholars.  Read here.

When introducing a language, especially Biblical Hebrew, to many who find it challenging learning another language and another alphabet, it is best to keep it as simple as possible.   E-Vreet courses are based on the philosophy that if we get the students on board, on the ark, and transport them to the promised land of Hebrew, then after they get used to the new language, they will be ready to learn the dots and the dashes.

it is amazing what happens when you throw in context and meaning when teaching the letters from the very beginning.  E-Vreet courses show that these letters,  this code, these arbitrary symbols have meaning–and are indeed language.  By using this method, E-Vreet does not simply offer data but imparts the beginning words of language.   Students are able to not only read words but generate sentences in just a few lessons, using only a few letters.  This puts the students in control of the Hebrew language from the start.  They are able to express their thoughts in Hebrew–that is when Hebrew becomes a real language to them and not just a list of arbitrary vocabulary words.

Professor Zohar Eviatar in the BBC has found in the Arabic language that even the brains of native speakers find it hard to read Arabic.  They have to process it differently.  Why?  Because of all the small dots.  This article was printed three years ago.  Shouldn’t this research make a different in the way Hebrew is taught?


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