Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hebrew progress:  Half way through first semester.

This is an online class with video lectures, lots of homework, and interaction with the professor via email and phone calls to check on my progress.  It started well, but things got a bit ugly when three very busy weeks in a row collided with the studies.  The class front loads a lot of material so that 13 lessons are in the first 7 weeks and an additional 9 lessons are in the remaining 8 weeks.  Hopefully I can breathe a bit easier moving forward.

So far I have had to learn about 200 vocabulary words together with various verb conjugations, along with transformations of adjectives, nouns and particles of various sorts.  The learning is all a bit tenuous because the changes that occur to vowels are numerous and confused with special cases as various words are transformed.

The professor has recorded Genesis chapters 12-16 verse by verse for our practice.  We need to read one verse per day and use the recordings to correct our pronunciation.  Every other week I give him a phone call and he makes me read a passage to check my progress.  So far he has been quite pleased with my pronunciation, which has generally been my strong point on learning foreign languages.  The problem for me is that my vocabulary knowledge tends to saturate early so that I can't improve.

The Hebrew reading was all meaningless sounds at the beginning, with the exception of proper names like Abram (אַבְרָם).  (I am curious if the Hebrew fonts I placed next to Abram show up on other computers, since I have special Hebrew fonts loaded onto my computer.)  My Hebrew Bible prints proper names with a different shade making them easy to pick out.  There are a number of words now that I am recognizing that is starting to give me a false confidence that this project might come to a successful result.

Western Seminary does this as a three semester sequence.  The first two semesters are building the language foundation.  The third semester gets into the text and is one that I would prefer to do at a formal class rather than online.  This class is taught nearby in San Jose, but only in the summer.  Thus, I will need to wait until summer 2013 to do this, or else take the third semester online.


Delirious said...

I'm pretty jealous because I had planned to take classes when I was in college, but then could never work it in to my schedule. Maybe someday....

Rummuser said...

The Hebrew font appears intact when I read your post.

Dee Ice Hole said...

I am very impressed that you are doing this. Good luck with the course.