been to ulpan? + living biblical

yochanan bitan ButhFam at
Fri Sep 25 13:09:13 EDT 1998

on learning the alphabet:
     background:  the "learning studio in biblical hebrew" [ulpan le`ivrit
miqrait: by necessity the word 'bible/biblical' is post-biblical, 'ulpan',
likewise] delays any alphabet until after approx. 120 (current version) or
180 (next version) vocabulary words have been learned in context, generally
in full sentences, monolingually. Only pictures (500 and 1000) and
cassettes form the introductory units. nothing is written. the alphabet is
then 'discovered', using winitz 'paired discrimination' technique.
throughout the rest of course everything is both on tape and written so
that reading gradually comes into focus for the learner without slowing
down the pace of learning. they are not dependent on the script as though
hanging on to a cliff. 
     however, i have found occasional students so afraid of another script
and a foreign language that they are able to do better at the beginning
with with dialogue memorization when having a transliteration to refer to.
it's a bit like 'training wheels' on a bike for some. they may not be using
them but just knowing they are there helps them ride.

further info off-list.

on fear of modern meanings when reading the bible: 
     the fear is technically justified, but often only mentioned for modern
hebrew speakers. it works the other way, too. people without modern hebrew
are capable of many strange, brittle, counterintuitive or impossible
readings. people sometimes forget that scholars working thru traditional
bi-lingual dictionaries are frequently making their readings, musings and
creative work on the basis of associations and influences of the
second-language glosses.  academic training teaches someone how to override
such instincts and verify everything with citations. consequently,
'non-fluent users' of BH or fluent users of ModH are both able to make
impressive contributions to the field, when careful. 

     the bottom line is that EVERYONE must back up any proposed meaning
with a citation in a real context, in a literary world interacting with
speaker/encoder and addresee/decoder. and meaning, ultimately relates
within the system itself, not to an outside language. (too bad BH is only
half a system, much of the rest of the system is recoverable but 'outside'

     the same is true for a shakespeare scholar. 
again, would one pass up on modern english because of needing to
verify/learn elizabethan english? 

for fun:
ha-mashbir is the grain dealer in BibH. in ModH it is the name of a
department store. having the word in modern allows one to remember the
biblical word without trying. just as long as we don't suspect joseph was a
corporate May Co., JC Penny.

randall buth

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