The Natural Approach toTeaching BH, Randy

Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at
Mon May 20 05:39:00 EDT 2002

A thought that I just had, too, is that this program does not last forever,
and that may be a good thing. Sure, there is the chance that some mistakes
will be made in getting all the ins and outs of the language exactly right.
But for a student who spends a while in the program, then goes on to read
actual BH for the rest of their life like anyone else, there is a corrective
process. The point is to parallel natural language learning. Well, what
happens with children? They learn their native tongue "by osmosis," then
they spend a dozen years or so refining that knowledge through classroom
instruction, learning rules, correcting errors, improving style, etc. The
process doesn't have to end even there, if the student develops sensitivity
to the relevant issues and continues to learn by reading. So, worst-case
scenario, Randall is the hillbilly parent teaching his kids to communicate
effectively in the language. Even if it takes a while to re-work the rough
edges, they're still better off than never having learned to speak at all.

Trevor Peterson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Kirk [mailto:Peter_Kirk at]
> Sent: Mon, May 20, 2002 5:08 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: RE: The Natural Approach toTeaching BH, Randy
> Great dream, Bryan! But how do you keep cats out? After all, there are
> none in BH! ;-)
> I see your point better now. Randy is trying the best he can in actual
> practice at the moment. It's not perfect, and I guess he would like to
> evolve a bit more towards what you are dreaming. But in my opinion it's
> a whole lot better than not trying.
> Peter Kirk
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Bryan Rocine [mailto:brocine at]
> > Sent: 20 May 2002 03:12
> > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject: Re: The Natural Approach toTeaching BH, Randy
> >
> > Hi Peter,
> >
> > I understand that Randy's ulpan attempts to teach using the
> > natural approach.   Immersion is an important consideration
> > because it is an intregal part of any natural approach
> > program.  The problem is that immersion is best achieved,
> > perhaps only achieved, in a real life setting in which the
> > target language is used to live and survive.  The natural
> > approach classroom is really only a sort of language game
> > that foresees and prepares the student for survival in the
> > world beyond the classroom.  In addition to his ulpan, I
> > believe Randy recommends a year or two in Israel.  Ahh...  A
> > year or two in Israel...  Let me keep dreaming...
> >
> > ...we need a special secluded language camp.  At the camp
> > will ONLY be allowed biblical culture, biblical technology,
> > and biblical Hebrew.  It doesn't even need to be in Israel,
> > because the students will have to stay in the camp 24/7.
> > (O.K., we will let them out for a few hours after shabbat on
> > Saturday night.)  Students have to survive there for six
> > months with a population of residents who are already fluent
> > in BH.  The students will end up pretty fluent in not only
> > biblical Hebrew but with a life-changing experience as well.
> >
> > Of course the expense of such a project in time and money is
> > pretty much prohibitive.
> >
> > Anyways, who says the student really wants to learn BH?
> > Maybe he only wants to read the Tanakh in BH.  I think there
> > is a considerable difference.
> >
> > Bryan
> >
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