[b-hebrew] Post biblical forms of Hebrew

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Fri Oct 16 09:09:49 EDT 2009

The only you've just proved there is the general point. There are different
types of learners with different types of experiences. Each one typically
pushing his experience as the superior one. Conclusions based on
introspection. The step beyond that is to acknowledge that we cannot judge
the entire world on the limited data of our own introspection and that
subset of observations which agree with our introspection. What works for
you doesn't necessarily work for all.

Personally, I aim one day to get around to going to Isreal and learning
Modern Hebrew. No doubt this may in some way affect my understanding of
Biblical Hebrew. Whether or not the understanding will be better or not is
debatable. It is quite clear that there are people in this world who read
Biblical Hebrew intuitively without being speakers of Modern Hebrew. They
have a justifiable position that they are able to read the context of BH
passages without the bias which is inherent to speakers of MH. We could sit
around all day and debate which party has the superior position and never
come to any definitive conclusions or universal agreement.

The simple facts remains Randall, whether you appreciate it or not, that
there are different kinds of learners with different goals and motivations
and there is no magic learning recipe which works for all of them. This was
something I had to learn the hard way with my English schools because at the
end of the day you can push your philosophy on language acquisition as much
as you like. But the bottom line is this. If you are not satisfying your
paying clients they will not attend your courses and you will earn less
money. This I had to learn the hard way and it took me a lot of losses to
do. Something as simple as putting the Southern Italians in one class
(regardless of level) and the Northern Italians in another class can make or
break you school because ideals of languages learning aside the two groups
of people quite simply do not get on and the Northerners will quietly
dissappear if you keep them with the Southeners who will dominate oral
sessions regardless of how low their level of English is. Of course, these
are overgeneralisations but these are the kind of issues I had to deal with
in order to keep the schools running.

You then also get your learner types who simply must be the best in the
class. There is a surprisingly high amount of them. They will lie about
their level of English just so that they can get into the lowest level class
so that they can make a 'bella figura' in front of the other students whose
English is not as good. If you put them in their true level they will not
come and will be intimidated out of learning the language. There is whole
spectrum of different learner types which I am only just touching the very
surface of. There is no such thing as a bad language learner. We can all
learn a language. The fact that we have all already done it at least once
proves this. There is no bad learner there is only a faulty system which
fails to give the right stimulus to learn. Given the right stimulus everyone
will learn.

Ask yourself this honest question out of all of your enquiries what
percentage enroll in and attend your classes. The percentage that don't is a
good indicator of what percentage you are failing to even give the correct
stimulus to start learning to. Then ask yourself this 'Of the percentage
that start what percentage continue to completion with your school?'. The
percentage that leave may give you a good indication of the percentage you
are giving the wrong stimuli to learn to. I am sure that if you are honest
with yourself about these questions you will eventually come to the only
correct conclusion that there are different learner types with different

Further evidence is the classic Bell curve. If you have a Bell curve of
performance that is not an indicator of the abilities of your students. That
is a good indicator of which students respond well to your stimulus and
which don't. Those that don't are not necessarily less talented they just
don't respond well to the stimuli you are giving.

James Christian

2009/10/15 Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>

> >> If his purpose is to read Tanakh, learning modern Hebrew before he has
> >> mastered Biblical Hebrew may actually detract from his understanding of
> the
> >> text.>>
> >
> >I agree wholeheartedly with Karl here. Randall,
> Which means that two people who have not learned modern Hebrew
> feel that learning modern Hebrew might be detrimental. That's their
> experience and their choice.
> I've seen many students go through the opposite reaction. After learning
> modern Hebrew they wonder why there was a debate and hesitation in the
> first
> place.
> Which is why I recommend that people should get advice from those who
> know both.
> And while we are theoretically open to having teachers at BLC who fluently
> control biblical but do not speak modern, we've not yet met any that could
> do
> this.
> Randall
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
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