"Non-Academic" Original Languages?

Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Wed Dec 18 22:04:05 EST 2002

Serge wrote:

>   I understand that Randall Buth actually teaches contemporary Hebrew (in
> spite of his claims to the contrary), but the vocabulary is restricted
> wherever possible to BH, `a$er rather than $e, no niknas etc.

I haven't gone through the Hebrew program myself, but he's more careful than
that. I'm not saying the material is pure, unadulterated BH, but I think he
makes a conscious effort to depart from IH syntax where BH does so.


>   I prefer to have the students  taught real BH and/or  real contemporary
> Israeli Hebrew and/or real Mishnaic Hebrew, but each thing genuine and
> taught by different methods (IH like Spanish, BH like Akkadian).

I tend to agree. My point is that I think a foundation of IH would help
students develop greater fluency than is normal when only BH is studied.


>   I believe analytical keys, morphologically tagged editions
> etc. are just
> awful for beginners because, evidently,  learners  will never get
> the joy of
> developing their own thoughts. It is pure imitation of having the real
> thing.

I agree completely.

>    True, Huehnergard does have made-up things in the basic vocabulary and
> grammar exercises of each lesson (incidentally, I once  made my
> student do
> them, but I am not going to repeat this experience), and he was criticised
> for it by the reviews.

We didn't work on them much (contrary to our practice of reading *all* the
actual texts in the exercises), but they were useful for drilling certain
aspects of the language.

>   I believe Ugaritic is best taught as an exercise in comparative
> Semitics.
> It is not a "language", exactly as Mesha Inscription or Tell-Fahariyya
> inscription are no "languages"

Which is basically how we do it. But to do that, students need a good
foundation of other Semitic languages, which doesn't seem to be the case in
a lot of programs.

Trevor Peterson

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