[b-hebrew] Ancient Language Acquisition
06peterson at cua.edu
Mon Mar 1 20:12:33 EST 2004
Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 01/03/2004 15:39, Trevor Peterson wrote:
>> ... It would seem counterproductive for students to internalize a
>> conglomerate that is not really any one dialect.
> Doesn't this apply equally to all methods of learning ancient languages?
My point is that when beginning students are led to communicate in an
ancient language, there is a greater risk of internalizing inappropriate
configurations. As long as you're focused solely on reading existing
texts, at least whatever you're working with is authentic data (assuming
none of it is later forgery). And yes, the risk is still there for
students to combine features of different dialects in the biblical
material (although steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of this
happening). But I think the danger tends to increase when two-way
communication is sought, because the whole Hebrew Bible is a small
enough corpus as it is to come up with the necessary material. If it
were restricted to particular dialects, there would be even less to work
with. The other factor that increases the danger in this situation is
that under more traditional methods it takes a lot longer for students
to internalize the material; by that point, they have had time to
acquire a fuller picture of the language, which can provide a useful
corrective to whatever misconceptions may arise. A student learning by
the methods applied for conversational spoken language will necessarily
absorb phrases and structures before understanding how they work.
Undoubtedly, it provides a faster track to fluency; but if the result is
thorough acquisition of a poor construct, it could do more harm than
good to the student's future learning.
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