[b-hebrew] Grammar with Discourse Perspective?

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sun Oct 19 18:53:16 EDT 2003

Hi Clay, you wrote:

> Not sure, however, that discourse analysis (a.k.a. text linguistics) is a
> cure for angst. The subject seems to have caused more angst, fear and
> loathing among students of biblical languages than it has cured. The
> appears to be considered by many students an "advanced" topic that one may
> take up after several years of studying from a traditional approach.

BTW, thanks for your kind comment.

As for angst, I hear ya!   ;-)

Two things are a tough sell in my approach to teaching first year BH.  One
is that instructors may have to learn something before they teach with it.
Enough said on that.

Second is that it's hard for people to believe that we may teach students
more material than we used to without over-burdening them.  To be specific,
some people can't believe that we may still teach students the nuts and
bolts of BH pronunciation, vocabulary, morphology, syntax (from the sentence
level and smaller), and now ADD discourse issues in the first year of
instruction.  Well, I have a dream of happy, smart second year students.

It is indeed possible to add discourse issues to beginning studies for a few
reasons:  1.)  Discourse issues help organize the course functionally rather
than only grammatically and thus artificially.  I say artificially because
real language users rarely think in terms of grammar.  The "natural,"
functional organization of my course makes learning easier.  In other words,
the nuts and bolts of the language are learned in context.  E.g., Module One
is twelve lessons on the clause types utilized in story telling; Module Two,
twelve lessons on clause types used in commanding, instructing, and
predicting.  Research into the psychology of learning has proven that
learning in a functioning context produces much greater gains.  Context
makes material easier to remember!  2.)  When first year students learn
discourse issues (right from lesson 1 in my book), the learning itself in
motivating and reinforcing.  We don't have to wait until BH 3 to enjoy this.
3.)  It's the right thing to do.

On #3:  If I *had* to teach less material, I would stop teaching stems
and/or vocabulary, not discourse stuff.  Computer programs can give
definitions to words for the students fairly quickly and easily now adays,
but they are not giving the discourse stuff yet.


B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766

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