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#1 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:03 AM

In another thread, a forum member posed questions concerning "advice for a Greek student." Several have weighed in, and one aspect was pronunciation of that language. James Tucker opined:

You need to read the language a lot, but also learn to hear the language. So I would recommend Spiros Zohdhiates reading of NA26th with modern Greek pronunciation. If you want proficiency, which I assume you do since you are taking a class, then you need to engage the language with all your senses...


This did spark some discussion on this topic (and how Koine Greek is taught in various institutions).

My question is, how should one learn to speak and hear Biblical Hebrew (and I know there is not consensus here)? For those outside the seminaries and universities, are there recordings of the Hebrew text read aloud, analogous to the Greek reading referenced by James?

Thanks!

Michael


#2 Julie Falling

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:24 AM

Michael - Thanks for asking the question. I'd like some advice, too. Is the modern Hebrew pronunciation taught in any of the seminaries or Bible schools? What about the sound files in Pratico & Vanpelt? Are they Anglicized like Biblical Greek?

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#3 Donovan R. Palmer

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for raising this question as I am more distantly interested in building on my knowledge on Hebrew. It also points out to me that I started the Greek thread in the wrong forum! :huh: My bad. I know better than to post things when I am tired.

Edited by Donovan R. Palmer, 11 December 2012 - 03:41 PM.


#4 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

I recommend using a basic Israeli (modern) pronunciation. It's not exactly the way ancient Hebrew would have been pronounced, but it's close enough and the huge advantage from a learning perspective is the ability to reinforce one's study with modern tools (songs, conversation, movies). Moreover, here are two sites at which they provide the entire Hebrew Bible read out loud:

http://www.mechon-ma...g/p/pt/pt00.htm
http://www.aoal.org/..._audiobible.htm

*Note: I am not affiliated with either group behind the sites above and endorse nothing other than using the mp3 files.
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#5 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

I recommend using a basic Israeli (modern) pronunciation. It's not exactly the way ancient Hebrew would have been pronounced, but it's close enough and the huge advantage from a learning perspective is the ability to reinforce one's study with modern tools (songs, conversation, movies). Moreover, here are two sites at which they provide the entire Hebrew Bible read out loud:

http://www.mechon-ma...g/p/pt/pt00.htm
http://www.aoal.org/..._audiobible.htm

*Note: I am not affiliated with either group behind the sites above and endorse nothing other than using the mp3 files.


Dr. Holmstedt,

Thank you very much!

Michael


#6 Mark Nigro

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:00 AM

I have been learning biblical Hebrew with great pain, sweat and tears but loving it nonetheless.

The only resources I can speak about with any personal experience are:

1.Biblical Hebrew from Yodea on CD for Mac and Windows (available from Accordance in fact). It is essentially a comprehensive method with a native speaker. One problem is that on the Mac it is for the PowerPC chip, not Intel so it wont run with Lion on up now that Rosetta has been removed. I run it under WINXP in a virtual machine (Virtual Box to be exact, which is free). But the pronunciation is great, done by a native speaker and yes, it differs from Pratico in that it is a mother-tongue speaker. That's as pure as you can get. But Pratico does do a good job as far as a native English speaker goes. As for modern Hebrew, it has not changed much in pronunciation as far we can tell. There are, however, no longer vowel markings and the vocabulary has changed. But many things are still in use. I was excited to put some biblical hebrew vocabulary to the test with a man from Israel who sat next to me at a dinner party a few months ago. Sure enough, the few words I spoke to him were still the same in modern Hebrew.

2. Hebrew Tutor, from Parsons Technology. It's quite dated, has a bunch of errors in it, but it does give you a full set of vocabulary, exercises, drills etc, which do really aid you in learning the material. It runs best under WIN95-WINXP, so I use it in a virtual machine on my Mac. Dr. Hildebrandt does a good job but his pronunciation is clearly not authentic. This becomes especially obvious when trying to distinguish vowels compared to the nuances a native speaker will give you. Parsons never released an update and I basically would avoid this particular product at this point.

There are online courses available too, with native speakers as I recall, but I have never used them so I can't say for sure how they are. Nor am I by any means a Hebrew scholar or even an advanced student. But that's been my experience.

EDIT: I see while I was still typing Michael and Dr. Holmstedt posted. Awesome links Dr. Holmstedt, thank you!

Edited by Mark Nigro , 12 December 2012 - 01:12 AM.


#7 James Tucker

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:56 AM

Thank you, Michael, for merging the discussion to my first love, Hebrew.

I've used the recordings from the Academy of Ancient Languages site, as Dr. Holmstedt has provided the links above. I've not frequented this site for any other of its content, but I did download the entire mp3 offerings. I listen to these recordings in the car.

I believe the Applied Linguistics sessions at SBL are beginning to unveil the deficiencies related to grammar translation principles that mark a majority of seminary classrooms.

My same principles holds for Hebrew as mentioned for Greek. Read, Listen, Write, and Speak. In this day in age, you can readily expose yourself to Hebrew on the internet. There are of course other resources, like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur. Point being, just start using the language!

Edited by James Tucker, 11 December 2012 - 11:56 AM.

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#8 Rick Bennett

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

I've also used the recordings by Abraham Shmuelof (aoal.org) and recommend them for hearing the text read.

I've also had friends who have gone to local Temples and ask if they can read the Bible with the rabbi or others at the congregation. I've never done it, but it's on my list to try, not only for my Hebrew reading, but for the cultural experience.

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#9 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

For those who spend time in a car (or on a train or in a plane), I heartily endorse what James said about listening to the Hebrew Bible.

When I used to commute in Chicago and Milwaukee traffic, I used to listen to the Hebrew Bible audio and also listened (and memorized) a lot of Hebrew songs (some traditional, some pretty contemporary). There's nothing like music for making some elements of language stick.

And, while this is moving away from the original question of pronunciation, I would recommend *never, never* reading Hebrew (or Greek) silently — always read it aloud so that the sound of your own reading helps the language become more deeply embedded. I tell me students at the university that they should read out loud so much that their roommates and family ought to think that they've gone off the deep end by the time the first term ends!
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#10 Julie Falling

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

Great advise advice and links. Thanks, guys. Off the deep end it is. (I do that one well.)


Edited by Julie Falling, 31 December 2012 - 10:42 AM.

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#11 nicklaurence

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:52 PM

I reckon it's well worth having a transliterated Hebrew bible when learning Hebrew - not to use regularly, as one needs to become used to reading in Hebrew (Aramaic) characters from the outset, but to help check that one is getting some of the initially complex matters correct. For example, early on you have to learn the rules for:
  • distinguishing silent and vocal shewas
  • distinguishing dagesh lene and dagesh forte even in begadkepat letters
  • distinguishing qamets and qamets hatuf
All these things look identical to the newcomer, even though there are rules which separate them. Whilst learning the rules it is helpful to check your work/understanding by having a transliteration into Roman characters which instantly shows you if you've correctly understood and correctly applied the rules. A transliteration is much more accessible than searching through an oral recording to check these things.

I used a transliteration that comes as standard in Bibleworks - I don't know if there's one available in Accordance.

Edited by nicklaurence, 12 December 2012 - 05:53 PM.


#12 Rick Bennett

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:00 AM

How does this differ from the 'English transliteration' that appears in Instant Details for all original language words? This should account for all those items (maybe not qamets / qamets hatuf).

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#13 nicklaurence

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

I hadn't known that transliteration was available in instant details (I've just seen I can switch this on in preferences).

However, on quick examination this doesn't cope with dagesh fortes in compound words (e.g. article + doubling first consonant or prefixed מִן when the nun is assimilated leaving a dagesh forte in the following letter). So it wouldn't be helpful to students in learning these rules.

Similarly, and as you pointed out, qamets hatuf appears to be a strange mixture of getting it right and wrong - and I can't immediately see why it does this. E.g. in Deu 4:6 instant details transliterates the first syllable in

חָכְמַתְכֶם֙

with an "a" in the form in the text, which must be wrong (unaccented closed syllable) and yet correctly transliterates it with an "o" in the root form. Bizarre!


So I would very much stick to my original point - it's helpful to get a proper transliteration of the Hebrew bible to check one's work in the early days as one gets used to the relevant rules. It would be quite detrimental to learning to check one's understanding with a tool which gets it wrong.

#14 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:39 PM

Nick's quite correct that the transliteration of the Hebrew vowels in Accordance is often inaccurate. The program is clearly performing a 1-to-1 process that doesn't (probably can't) handle the issue of syllable structure and stress and how it affects the reconstructed vowel quality and the complicated Tiberian-to-modern scholarly convention (e.g., SBL).

Linguist's Software has (or did years ago) a full Hebrew Bible in transliteration. I remember it being pretty accurate (haven't used it in many moons).

And this brings me to a point I'd like to throw out there -- as a teacher, I am troubled to see students using Roman characters for Hebrew after the first week (i.e., learning the Alef-Bet). Writing systems are not "language," per se, and so I don't want anyone to think I'm conflating a host of language issues, but learning Hebrew in Hebrew script is not just a practical issue of being able to use the tools of the trade, it's also an important psychological component of keeping Hebrew a bit "other" in the learning process. Along with this, I'm not really sure it's necessary for students to understand a host of "rules" as they learn Hebrew (and by the time the "rules" become truly helpful, they should know the Hebrew script well enough that transliteration is unnecessary).

So, all this to say -- for Accordance to invest in a transliterated text would be mildly helpful, but probably not worth putting it very high on the priority list. There are not only the pedagogical issues I've superficially described above, but also the issue of which scholarly convention to follow (or even to represent the text in purely Tiberian terms, which is different than any scholarly convention I've used in publishing in variety of journals).
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#15 Mark Nigro

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:42 PM

What about turning on the interlinear in the original text and limiting it to only display word transliteration below the Hebrew?

EDIT: Just saw that Dr. Holmstedt posted right before me here, and that the interlinear would still have accuracy issues.

Edited by Mark Nigro , 13 December 2012 - 04:47 PM.


#16 nicklaurence

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

...And this brings me to a point I'd like to throw out there -- as a teacher, I am troubled to see students using Roman characters for Hebrew after the first week (i.e., learning the Alef-Bet)...


I would certainly agree with that in terms of reading the text - I started learning a quarter of a century ago with Lambdin's grammar that transliterates for the first chapter or so without Hebrew script and spends about half the rest of the book transliterating alongside Hebrew script - it drove me mad!

Students need to get to proper Hebrew characters from the outset. But my point is that, when checking one's learning and understanding without the immediate guide of an ever-present tutor, a transliteration is helpful in limited circumstances. If a transliteration became a crutch that prevented a student from learning to read Hebrew script then I would be horrified - they certainly shouldn't be using it this way.

#17 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

We are on the same page, certainly.

Oy -- Lambdin. Brilliant but ... well, his disdain of native scripts is fairly well-known and no doubt arose out of his overriding interest in Comparative Semitics. Thus, for him the languages were only systems to be compared and the literature of those languages simply repositories of data. I've gathered that neither the languages for their own sake nor the literature in which they were written were of interest to him. That is fairly rare student of biblical Hebrew.
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#18 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:46 PM

Thanks to all for enlightening answers and discussion.

Michael


#19 A.D. Riddle

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:49 PM

Here is another link to the same audio recordings by Abraham Shmuelof which have been listed above:
http://www.pmapitkan...ebrew Audio.htm

Another nice audio recording is that of Shlomo Bertonov, but it is not free like the other one:
http://www.hebrew4ch...v/bertonov.html

A.D.

#20 Elijah

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:46 AM

For those who spend time in a car (or on a train or in a plane), I heartily endorse what James said about listening to the Hebrew Bible.

When I used to commute in Chicago and Milwaukee traffic, I used to listen to the Hebrew Bible audio and also listened (and memorized) a lot of Hebrew songs (some traditional, some pretty contemporary). There's nothing like music for making some elements of language stick.

And, while this is moving away from the original question of pronunciation, I would recommend *never, never* reading Hebrew (or Greek) silently — always read it aloud so that the sound of your own reading helps the language become more deeply embedded. I tell me students at the university that they should read out loud so much that their roommates and family ought to think that they've gone off the deep end by the time the first term ends!

 

Can you recommend some of the CDs (or other sources) with Hebrew songs (traditional and contemporary)?

I was also looking for movies, but I couldn't find a cinema movie (hollywood,...) that I already knew, that has a Hebrew soundtrack - only subtitles. 

I try to find as much hebrew material as I can...






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