[b-hebrew] Karl's lexicon

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Tue Aug 28 17:38:13 EDT 2007


James,

I pity your students. You teach them Hebrew as though it was an Indo- 
European language of meaningless patterns. Will they ever get to see  
its inner logic and beauty?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Aug 28, 2007, at 12:29 PM, JAMES CHRISTIAN READ wrote:

>> thrrf  - he went
>> ghtrf  - he came
>> sdfrf  - he gave
>> wsdrf  - he took
>>
>> By process of generalisation can you figure out which
>> affix indicates the 3rd masculine singular in the
>> verbs above?
>>
> KWR: But if he doesn't know that he is to look for a 3rd masc. s.   
> suffix,
> will he notice it?
>
> JCR: Good question. I should have given an example like
> the following:
>
>  thrsf  - she went
>  ghtsf  - she came
>  sdfsf  - she gave
>  wsdsf  - she took
>
> What generalisation can you make about the above
> translated examples? We are given no questions about
> grammar as we grow and acquire language but we figure
> it out on our own by process of making generalisations.
>
> This process of over-generalisation causes us to make
> errors of the type 'Yesterday I goed...' but we get
> there in the end.
>
> I'm not saying don't teach grammar at all. One method
> of teaching grammar used by works such as Athenazde,
> for teaching classical Greek, is to provide a text with
> several of the new forms included e.g. 3rd person
> verbs, and then after reading the text (this gives the
> student the chance to work it our for themselves) the
> grammar is presented (just in case they didn't figure
> it out or as a confirmation that their conclusions
> were correct).
>
> My Hebrew classes largely consisted of verb
> conjugations that are not even attested in the Tanakh
> just for the sake of learning complete conjugations.
> Exams consisted of producing conjugations of verbs or
> recognising the syntactical form of an already
> conjugated verb or transforming a noun into its plural
> and vice versa.
> The fast majority of verbs in the Tanakh are 3rd
> person, a natural consequence of any narrative. Perhaps
> the course would have given me a better preparation for
> reading Hebrew if it had concentrated on accumulating
> a vocabulary of verbal forms that actually are attested and  
> frequently occur. As it stands, all the course
> prepared me for was to pass a Hebrew grammar exam.
>
> I guess what I'm saying is that teaching can be
> function oriented rather than grammar oriented. A
> student can be taught that word X means 'he went'. They
> don't really need to know the grammar behind it, unless
> of course they really want to, in order to understand
> it.
>
> Generally people learn what they are stimulated to
> learn. It's like the difference between placing a cup
> of water on a table in the reach of a person and
> throwing a bucket of water over their head without
> their request. They will drink more water when they are thirsty and  
> decide to pick up the cup of water than in
> the scenario of having the water thrown over their
> head. Likewise, a student is more likely to gain a
> permanent understanding of grammar in the moment they
> demand it. After seeing , reading and understanding a
> few 3rd person verbs in context and in that moment
> where they are trying to figure out what is going on,
> that is the moment when they are most likely to learn.
>
> In TEFL courses we refer to this kind of learning as
> the discovery approach. An example exercise would be
> to present an object and name it. Present a few of the
> same object and name them. Repeat this for a few
> different objects so that they get to hear the
> similarities between a few examples and then ask them
> questions which lead them to the answer of how to
> recognise a plural.
>
> Of course, different learners learn in different ways
> and an ideal course would give learners multiple
> learning routes to follow so that the learner can take
> charge of their own learning and follow the direction
> that works best for themselves.
>
> -------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------------------------------------------
>
> James Christian Read - BSc Computer Science
> http://www.lamie.org/hebrew       -  thesis1: concept driven  
> machine translation using the Aleppo codex
> http://www.lamie.org/lad-sim.doc  -  thesis2: language acquisition  
> simulation
> http://www.lamie.org/ngelta
>
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> n learning and follow the direction
> that works best for themselves.
>
> ---------
>
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