Learning Hebrew made less hard I
I have been told, and I have read, that Hebrew is an "easy language" to learn for many reasons. You haveprobably read and heard the same thing. That makes it all the more frustrating when you find that Hebrew islike nothing you ever saw before and it is NOT an easy language for someone who knows only English or Romance languages.
What Makes Hebrew Hard to Learn
First the bad news:
- and many of the script letters are different from the written ones. The good news - it'seasier than pictographic languages like Chinese, and even easier than Arabic.
- English speakers in particular may have difficulties in pronouncing unfamiliar sounds.
- Hebrew is usually written without vowels, which are guessed from the context, can beread as "sefer" - meaning book, "safar" - meaning "he counted" and "Sapar" - a barber.
Irregularities and exceptions
- There are a lot of grammatical rules that should make it easy, but there arenumerous exceptions.
Unfamiliar grammatical concepts
- While Hebrew is not as difficult as languages that have noun "cases" -(nominative case, accusative case, dative case, ergative case, genitive case, vocative case, ablative case) itis a moderately inflected language. It has seven verb conjugations that are not always regular, different verband plural endings (and numbers!) for gender, possessive forms and something called Smichut.
- Because pronunciation of Alef and Ayin and 'het and chaf are usually indistinguishable, there aremany common words that SOUND the same, but have different meanings and are spelled differently.
What makes Hebrew Easy to Learn
Some good news:
Only three or four real tenses
- Past, Present and future are complete tenses. The imperative form is fairlysimple Conditional and imperfect forms of the past are easy to form using conjugations of the verb to be.- (holech) - Go (as in I go, you go, he is going or he goes).- (hahyiti) - I used to go.- (Hahyiti Holech) - I used to go, I would go.
Some people know at least the alphabet before they start -
If you have been to Hebrew school, youlearned the alphabet, and likewise if you know Yiddish you are familiar with the alphabet. You probablyknow at least some Hebrew words like:(Shalom) - means peace.
Easy to learn vocabulary
- Hebrew, like most Semitic languages, is made up mostly of 2, 3 and 4 letter rootwords that are used in different forms to generate nouns and verbs:(oved) means "worker (or laborer)" and "he works (or he labors)."
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