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A question for the grammar experts. How can I learn Hebrew grammar in a systematic way? Especially a book that would help me understand how to layn properly. Something that covers rules of nikkud, teamim, word stress. Verb conjugation. Something that would help me understand the technical terminology that the Minchat Shai uses.

I'm familiar with the Tanakh, and I speak passing modern Hebrew, so its not a question of basics. I just feel that I never advanced beyond a well-informed "balabatish" understanding.

I would prefer a classic book that is available online, e.g. through hebrewbooks.org

Will I get a complete picture by reading one or two of the major books? Has the understanding of Hebrew grammar evolved over time? And if so, how drastically? Are there any accessible academic works on Hebrew? I enjoyed, for example, the few examples in the Wikipedia articles on Hebrew grammar which explained the relation of Hebrew to the other Semitic languages.

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I would recommend either "Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew" by Marc Zvi Brettler or "A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew" by C. L. Seow. I've used each of these books in a biblical hebrew course in college.

  • 1
    Welcome back to Mi Yodeya! – msh210 Jun 5 '12 at 5:27
  • I learnt Biblical Hebrew from that book (and from Pr. Brettler himself)! I highly recommend it. It is up-to-date with the latest scholarly understandings of BH grammar, Semitic linguistics, etc... And it explains everything in a clear-to-follow and not overly-jargonly fashion. – Noam Sienna Jan 14 '13 at 2:52
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The Radak wrote Sefer HaMichlol (available on HebrewBooks) in order to make it easier for a person to learn grammar.

Another good grammar book to read is Sefer Mo'znayim by Ibn Ezra. In the title page, Rabbi Wolf Heidenheim says that there is no better Hebrew grammar book than it. I also found this pdf which has the book newly typeset and easier to read.

  • Sefer MaMichlol is written in Yiddish corrrect? – Hashamyim Nov 18 '16 at 16:43
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    @Hashamyim It's written in Hebrew. I assume the Radak didn't speak Yiddish (he spoke Arabic at least) – b a Jan 8 '17 at 0:02
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I didn't know modern Hebrew when I started studying Biblical so this might be too basic for you, but I found The First Hebrew Primer (it's for adults, not kids) very useful for its systematic approach and focus on one or two concepts at a time (with gradual introduction of vocabularly). For a more-grammatical/linguistic approach, I recommend Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew, which explains how grammatical constructs work in English and then maps that to Biblical Hebrew. Since you already know some modern Hebrew, you should be able to jump into the latter book.

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The Guide To Lashon Hakodesh, Vol 1: Mastering the Basics (recommended by Torah Umesorah schools)

Link http://www.feldheim.com/the-guide-to-lashon-hakodesh.html

Description

Learn Hebrew easily and rapidly with this convenient, self-paced, step-by-step guide. Especially designed to teach the fundamentals, The Guide to Lashon Hakodesh Series enables you to quickly build a basic vocabulary, understand the structure and meaning of words, along with the fundamentals of grammar.

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Another vote for Brettler; I wanted to add, for taamei hamikra, I found Jacobson's Chanting the Hebrew Bible a clear and systematic reference (and comprehensive, the book is huge). The author is a musicologist, not sure about his Jewish background, but it doesn't figure in to the text as far as I read. More technical (ie academic), but invaluable: Yeivin's Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah. However, I read these for grammar; not sure how useful these for leining, as I don't do that.

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