I a very surprised to hear the amount of vocabulary they required. In my classes, I try to focus on specific texts (like the book of Ruth) and provide vocabulary required only for the texts I am working with in class. What I try to drive home is learning the shlamim verb paradigms well (beginning with Qal), noun forms, prepositions, and declensions. With this and some basic grammar, you can be reading relatively quickly. Like Greek, the key is being able to parse the verb and nouns quickly so that the only barrier is vocabulary that can be quickly built as you read. By the end of the first year, my students can typically read comfortably through simple narrative texts (using a Hebrew Reader).
I strongly recommend using a Reader's Version of the text (They are available for the Greek NT, Hebrew OT, and (just released) for the LXX). I find that students who use these text advance far more quickly than those who try to use a computer or tablet (they make it far too easy to get the answers without thinking). I strongly recommend avoiding the use of an interlinear of any kind (they only hinder the learning of the biblical languages).
P.S. This might help with the paradigm patterns.
That is encouraging, Mike.
After 5 years of Greek in the classroom (starting 10 years ago) and coming away feeling very comfortable with the language, and really loving it, Hebrew was a real shock. A lot of the problem was the pace – it was deadly. Of course, I was older when I started Hebrew than when I started Greek, and I had already heard that 1 year of Hebrew doesn't get a student to the same place in that language as 1 year of Greek does in Greek. But 2nd year Hebrew at the seminary where I was auditing was just 1 semester and required the learning of 1200-1500 new vocab words. I was already not having fun. Did I really want to take that on? Did I have the time (and still prepare meals, do laundry, keep the house relatively clean, do a little gardening, and teach Sunday school)? So I opted out. When it comes to Hebrew, I'm going to have to rely upon tools. I do not recommend taking up Hebrew for senior citizens. I suppose it might help one keep one's wits, but, then again, it might cause one to lose them altogether!
Edited by miketisdell, 16 June 2018 - 01:28 PM.