Course Description

This beginner’s course will give you a strong foundation in Hebrew. We begin with learning the vowels, which then lets you feel comfortable with writing simple words and reading short dialogues. By the end of the course you will learn:
• 400 new words
• The complete Hebrew alphabet, the individual use and sound of each letter in both the script and printed form
• Basic syntax including: pronouns, prepositions, verbs in present tense, numbers
We also practice speaking through simple daily conversations, as well as working on listening skills through hearing and then discussing short dialogues.

Course Main Takeaways

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    Level Array
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    Weekly Hours 2 hrs
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    Duration 9 Months
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    Accreditation This course is worth 3 credits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Course Developer

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Dr. Ohad Cohen

Dr. Ohad Cohen was a linguistics researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he is now a Faculty Member at the Department of Hebrew…

Syllabus Summary

  • Introduction & Basic Terms

    Welcome to Course E! In this unit we introduce the basic concepts that will direct our discussions in this course. How does a “diachronic” description of the Hebrew language differ from the “synchronic” description that has guided our first four courses? What is “comparative Semitic linguistics,” and how can this help us to better understand the Hebrew?

  • Consonant Shifts

    As our course will follow the timeline of the Hebrew language from early to late, we begin by discussing the consonants of the Proto-Semitic language that preceded biblical Hebrew. How did the 29 original Semitic consonants become the 23 that we see in the Hebrew of the biblical text? How does this affect our understanding of Hebrew vocabulary?

  • Consonant Shifts: Emphatics

    In this unit we continue our discussion of consonant shifts in Semitic languages and how this phenomenon affects the vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. What are the “emphatic” consonants? How many were there in Proto-Semitic, and how did they enter biblical Hebrew? These are the questions we will answer as we look through biblical vocabulary for examples.

  • Consonant Shifts: Uvulars

    We conclude our discussion of consonant shifts by examining the history of the Proto-Semitic uvular
    consonants [ġ] and [h] and their relationship to the Hebrew gutturals. What are “uvular” consonants? How can the Greek of the Septuagint teach us more about how these consonants shifted in the Hebrew language?

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A weekly Q&A session in addition to the regular lesson