The Natural Approach toTeaching BH, Randy

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Mon May 20 09:25:31 EDT 2002


Dear Randy et. al.
I regret putting a wet blanket on the
enthusiasm generated for Randall's program,
but it seems really odd to me. I can't help thinking
that all -- and I mean *all* -- of the sentences in BH
have already been composed. The language is done.
Why try to create new sentences in BH, when we have
them all? We have every single sentence that exists (well,
 barring new finds, I suppose).
I couldn't help thinking of the complaint I made to my
(classical) Greek teacher. I told her that if I was going
to be going through all this trouble, I should at least be
learning German or something, so that I could talk to
somebody. She looked at me and said: This way you can
talk to Plato.
I'm not learning BH so that I can ask people for directions,
or so that I can discuss the political situation with people
I meet on my travels. I learn BH so that I can talk to the
biblical wirters, and all those sentences have already been
written. If you go to an Ulpan in Israel, why not go for modern Hebrew,
to talk to the Israelis, understand the radio announcers,
read the newspaper, understand sentences that are being newly
created daily. Why pretend a dead language is still living, when
it isn't?

Liz Fried





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