Saturday, April 08, 2006

One Hebrew Word at a Time

Perhaps like any other newcomer in Israel, I wanted to learn Hebrew, and eventually read and write it. But the language is tough. And I had to admit that in my quest to learn the language by self-study, most of the time I had fallen in and out of my enthusiasm. And end up not learning much as I wanted.

What usually happens is that there would be days when I'd check on my Hebrew-English dictionary and make a long list of words to learn. Make a few pages of words to learn and really go for it like, memorize the stuff. Then days would follow when I'd do nothing to learn more. So, is it not apparent to you that I am quite inconsistent in this regard?

Henceforth, I have decided that since I now have a blog, I would post as often as I can (if not everyday) one hebrew word or any hebrew fact that we could all learn. Certainly not much learning in one day, but you can imagine the number of words we can familiarize ourselves with by the end of the year.

In this post, let's first check out some characteristics of the Hebrew language...

1. Hebrew is written from right to left.

2.The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, all of which are consonants, except for yod (English equivalent is Y) and vav (V) which double as vowels.

3. The language is normally written sans vowels, except for the purpose of teaching how to read it.

4. Most of the time, the stress is on the second syllable of two-syllable words and next-to-the-last in multi-syllable words.

5. All nouns are either masculine or feminine.

...and a few facts.

1. The text of the Bible, the Tora, is written in Hebrew.

2. Eliezer Ben Yehuda, an educator and one of the first Zionists, is the father of the Hebrew language.

3. The language is now spoken in Israel by its 6 million people.

More about Hebrew next time.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I am having so much fun reading your Blog after you discovered mine. I have so many questions about why you came to Israel and what you want for your future. I too would like to learn Hebrew more than just to read it. I know some words, but not enough to converse. Is English your native language? I will check out your Blog on a regular basis because it will remind me of my recent trip to Israel.