The Natural Approach toTeaching--Liz

Randall Buth ButhFam at
Mon May 20 18:29:21 EDT 2002

shalom Elisheva`,

>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

Yes, the sentences are already written and I suppose you would like 
to feel their texture as you read through them. 
  An Elizebethan English scholar is likewise limited. Should they avoid 
being able to speak either it or modern English, just because their target
study is already written? Don't you think they'd both do a better job 
and find their subject more enjoyable as their language skills grew 
more automatic, subconscious layers?

>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?

Yes, by all means, please come and learn modern Hebrew to the level 
you just described. It will take an investment of time and energy, though 
highly recommended. (your description typically takes 12-18 months for 
committed students.) 
(If you have responsibilities for undergraduate students you might want to 
check out the special BibSTudies package that we are offering thru 
Rothberg in 2003. See website below, "courses", "year-abroad".)

As for BH, the students who come for the six week BH ulpan, leave 
with a reading program for parashot ha-shavua` for the following year.
We want students to learn BH in as efficient a way as possible, so that 
they can reach a functional, encouraging level in as short a time as 
possible. We encourage any who can stay on or return to Israel to 
continue reading BH while deepening their overall fluency thru 
modern Hebrew. The whole point of this exercise is efficiency, not
make-believe. People need to be reading these emails with as much of
their "practical" glasses on as with their "purist/theoretical" glasses.

and just maybe the language is still living, at least when we listen 
with the writers.
tsiyon bemishpaT tippade (is 1.27)

yevarexex ha-shem

Randall Buth

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