[b-hebrew] Fact of Language and 'was Ruth'

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Thu Jun 17 06:05:11 EDT 2010

James Christian katav:
> I would also be
> interested to know what evaluation method you used to conclude what
> percentage of the discussions were in well formed b-hebrew (ignoring
> phonetic issues of course).

When I said 75-80% of time was BH, I was excluding English discussions
or brief excursions into other languages. (Korean, Spanish, French).
Modern Hebraisms from some were treated as 'static', see below.

Most well-formedness was controlled, as in any language, by checking
that communication was on target.
If someone said,
ani katav et ze 'I he-wrote this' (and at the pace of live communication,
things like that are actually heard to pop out of a mouth)
it might draw a query response
katavta? matay?
If the general sense was understood, and in the above, the 'ani'
would likely be assumed to override the 3ms in katav, then a
comment or question would follow the flow of the discussion and the
lack of concord would be ignored as 'static', as happens when
communicating in any language. The same was true if/when
someone said `axshav in place of `atta, or vehalax where vayyelex
would be expected in BH.

One of the fascinating items was listening to teachers with years of BH
experience trying to communicate in BH, like when
asking questions about, and discussing, a text in small groups. One of
the purposes of the exercise was to give persons a relatively stress-free
opportunity to communicate, with or without mistakes. Low affective filter
as they say in the SLA guild. For several, this was the first time they
had ever attempted extended, real communication in Hebrew, biblical or
modern. The purpose was to consider language development thru usage.

As many in the field of SLA have said, "the only way to acquire a language
is to use a language." So the participants were looking to see what that
might mean in individual cases and on broader issues. The goal, of course,
is not to produce mother-tongue speakers, but adult second-language
speakers/users with enhanced reading skills because of increased
processing efficiency. One week was a chance to look at pieces of the
process, and certainly not to arrive at any goal.

PS: Back in the Land, I don't have any of the recordings and they
may not be edited until Sept-Oct, due to other commitments.

Randall Buth

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list