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I went to a Shabbat dinner yesterday which was an amazing culture experience. I want to find mp3s for the different blessings and  hymns that were sung during the Shabbat so I can learn them.

This Thursday I will go to a כפר נוער‎, ( Kfar No’ar) to volunteer and work with the children there on the organic farm. Should be heaps of fun and provide lots of opportunity for language study so I’m really looking forward to it.


Two weeks later

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Hebrew study has not been going as fast as I wanted to these last two weeks.  Lack of study  is partly due to getting accustomed  to Israeli and partly also because moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem gave me a whole new city to sight-see and get used to.

Regardless I’ve been having a fun time watching Mulan in Hebrew (which I’ve watched about three times now). I also went to a congregation on Shabbat.

The biggest disappointment has been my progress with the Accel flashcards. It’s harder to learn new words with flashcards than I realised.

I was able to acquire levels 1 and 2 of Rosetta Stone Hebrew version 3 (don’t ask me how, though!) and have started to use that to supplement my Pimsleur listening.

I’ve listened to level 18 in Pimsleur Hebrew I, but I don’t know everything in the lessons to that point. I’ve instead been trying a rather relaxed way of listening to them — listening right now to get a gist and find out where the lessons are going. . .and not yet for making sure I know how to say every word properly. After I’ve got a general idea of the things taught in the first thirty lessons I’ll listen to each one again carefully and make sure I get all the grammar and vocabulary points. I have level II and level III is on the way so that should keep me busy for a few weeks.

Next week Thursday I go to Kedma Village which should give me more opportunity to speak and hear Hebrew.

This week I want to practice writing every day — writing out something I find on t he internet or in a newspaper a little bit every day so I get used to writing the Hebrew letters.

I’ll keep on working on Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone to get those materials mastered as fast as I can. And I’ll keep on working on the Accel flashcard program because any words I learn there will be much easier afterwards to pick them out of conversations or movies like Mulan that I listen to. (I’ve been able to pick out ‘family’ several times in Mulan because I first learned it with the Accel program).



Hebrew. . a start today

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I came to Israel two days ago and I’m going to start studying Hebrew in earnest today.

I’ve wanted to study Hebrew since I was very young. I still remember trying to copy out some of the Torah onto my notebook when I was seven and memorizing some verses of a Psalm (I forget now even which Psalm) when I was a little bit older. I’ve tried so many times to learn Hebrew, and none of them got very far at all, so I decided I had to try going directly to the country and learning it there.

At present, despite my failed attempts my knowledge of Hebrew is basically zilch. I know the sounds for all the letters, but not all. I don’t know how to write any of them, except alaph. I only know a few random words: shalom (hello), or (treasure) boe (come to a female) bo (come to male) shma (hear), shalom alaechim (another way to say hello, I guess?) brother is akh, father is aba, sababa is good, eifo is where and mashu mashu. . . which I learned recently was a way to say something was very good. There’s probably a few other words I know from random times when I studied Hebrew but that’s pretty much it.

I don’t know how to order food or how to ask how much things cost. I don’t know greetings really, or how to conduct basic preliminary conversation (nice to meet you). I don’t even known directions.

So now that I know what I don’t know and what I know, where do I want to get? And how will I get there?

My end goal is native-like fluency in Hebrew but to get there I’ll need lots of smaller goals.  Weekly goals, daily goals.

I’ll use whatever I can to get there, but I’ll probably be using Anki a lot and focus on lots of audio and video (a la All Japanese all the Time), but I want to start speaking earlier than he normally recommends, more along the lines of Fluent in Three Months. I’ll also being using picture books as much as possible to serve as conversation starters with language helpers and a little bit of the LAMP approach (more on that later) in the beginning to help break down intimidation speaking Hebrew.

In the next week I have several goals.

1. Start using Accel Study on my ipod to learn basic vocabulary — they have two thousand basic words there with audio that I’ll use instead of inputting them first into my own Anki deck (they have a built in SRS as well, so that will be nice). I want to learn 1000 words the first week.

2. Pimsleur Hebrew — good for getting the tongue working on hard pronunciation hurdles. I think I can finish the first thirty sessions of Pimsleur in one week.

3. Make a basic introduction speech in Hebrew with people’s help, get a recording of it, practice it till I’ve got it perfect and then practice it with fifty random people on the street.

4. I also want to learn how to write Hebrew. . . and how to type Hebrew. For typing practice I’ll use this resource and for practicing writing this one.

Learning language is supposed to be fun though, and specially since I’ve only been in Israel two days I don’t want to be worried about goals or benchmarks (I shouldn’t be worried about them ever actually hehe). But nevertheless, this is what I’d like to see by next week Saturday night.