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I am trying to learn Hebrew on my own. I currently am not in a position to be attending Hebrew classes, and I tend not to do so well in a classroom environment. I wish to learn biblical Hebrew primarily; I don't have an immediate interest to learn modern Hebrew.

I've taken a few basic Hebrew classes so I know my aleph-bet well enough, but I haven't been able to bridge the gap to basic reading. I picked up "Learn Biblical Hebrew" by John H. Dobson and its a decent book but as soon as I get beyond the obligatory aleph-bet chapter I feel like I'm missing something.

Any advice or insight from those that have done this? I've looked at this question but I don't think I'd say I have "decent Hebrew knowledge" quite yet.

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A similar question, but for a more advanced student: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30014 –  msh210 Jul 18 '13 at 15:28
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5 Answers 5

I think that a gap between aleph-beis and reading tanakh is big enough.

I would suggest you to read children books - they are fully punctuated and use pretty simple words.

When I was learning hebrew (my parents made aliyah when I was 13 years old) I was watching cartoons for 5 years old children and that helped me pretty much.

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+1, excellent idea. –  msh210 Jul 10 '11 at 21:17
    
How does reading children's books help if I don't have a transliteration? –  ARKBAN Jul 12 '11 at 11:04
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If you know alef-beis and Niqqud you don't need transliteration, or maybe I'm missing something about the question. –  jutky Jul 12 '11 at 20:43
    
I'm sorry, I meant a translation. I'm asking for clarification as to how this helps. While I could pronounce the words in a children's book I don't know what they mean. (For example I have a Dr. Seus's "A Cat in a Hat" book in Hebrew, but I don't know what it means unless I compare it to an English version.) –  ARKBAN Jul 14 '11 at 21:45
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@ARKBAN, oh, if you can't read any words at all, then I guess start with a basic textbook instead. Alas, I can't recommend any one in particular (and your question indicates that the one you tried was no good). –  msh210 Jul 14 '11 at 22:31
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I don't know if this is good for self-teaching, but what about the Alep Champ home kit?

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You should check out this link, it has parallel english and hebrew bible & transliteration: interlinearbible.org

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I recommend verifying any translations you find there with those of a Jewish translator such as the one found here: mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm –  Double AA Nov 13 '12 at 23:04
    
I agree. I wasn't referring to the quality of english translation. This is for a purpose of learning the language, not for the purpose of studying the bible. –  toninoj Nov 13 '12 at 23:43
    
Besides, I doubt that even mechon-mamre translation can really convey the full meaning of text. The issue is not just that of a translator. The issue is that of the language and it's inherent limitations. I believe that hebrew and english reflect different mindsets and as such, even with a very good translator, english language will still be limited in giving the full meaning. At least in any concise way. That's why I started learning hebrew. –  toninoj Nov 14 '12 at 15:04
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I'm not fluent (yet), but after failing to find suitable classes I worked my way through The First Hebrew Primer from EKS and that helped quite a bit. From there you'll still need to use a dictionary, but with the grammatical foundation in this book you'll be able to use a dictionary (you'll know how to decompose words), which you probably don't now.

If you're a bit grammatically/linguistically inclined, you might also benefit from Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew. This book walks through grammatical concepts and, for each, explains how it works in English and then how it works in Hebrew. So if you learn in part by pattern-matching, this helps. (Of course, not all concepts transfer, but for the ones that do...)

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I have used the Hebrew from Scratch textbook in college. It starts from a zero knowledge perspective.

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