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quinta-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2008

Learning the Hebrew Language

Learning the Hebrew Language

The study of Hebrew is so important to the study of the Hebrew Bible and its exegesis that we at Bat Kol Institute consider Hebrew studies to be essential for all our students.

· The Hebrew alphabet.
· The script form of the Hebrew letters.
· The most common Hebrew vowels.
· An introductory vocabulary.

We suggest that you begin by learning the Hebrew alphabet. This task will be made easier if you also practice writing the letters (remember to write using script form). You may download and print practice sheets here. You will need to practice writing these new letters many times. Follow the guidelines on the sheets so that you form the letters correctly.

At Bat Kol Institute's Israel study programs handwritten Hebrew is always written in the script form since our professors will be using the Hebrew script form in common use in Israel. It is important, therefore, that you can recognize the letters when they are written in script, and that you practice writing in the script. Of course, you will need to be able to read and recognize the letters in PRINT form also. It is not necessary to learn to write the print form of the letters.

The Hebrew alphabet (or Aleph-bet) consists of twenty two letters, all of which are consonants. Five of these consonants are written differently when they appear as the last letter of a word. These ‘end’ letters are called ‘sofit’ letters—a word that means ‘final’ . The letter is pronounced in the same way whether it appears as a regular letter or a sofit letter.

In Ancient Hebrew, and now also in Modern Hebrew, the letters were written without any ‘vowelization’. However, the Hebrew Bible now uses a series of indicators so that we know how to pronounce the words with the correct vowels. You can practice writing the most common vowels with the consonants using your practice sheets.

Once you are familiar with the letters of the alphabet and the vowels you will be ready to learn a few Hebrew words.

We hope you enjoy your introduction to biblical Hebrew.

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