Sunday, January 09, 2005

א = Aleph, ב = Bet...

Week one of introductory biblical Hebrew concluded last Friday. We covered seven grammar lessons during the week - an almost unreal pace to be sure. Nonetheless, I find that I'm already able to read bits of Hebrew text. It's hard to discribe the exciting feeling you have when you see a world like:


and realize that you've just read the word "God" or "gods" (this common word, which has a masculine plural ending, can be interpreted as either singular or plural, depending on the context).

Now that we know the basics about the definite article, prepositions, conjunctions, noun roots, masculine/feminine/singualar/plural noun patterns, and adjectives, it's quickly becoming apparent that a deep vocabulary will be the key to reading and translating texts at speeds greater than glacial. I've already memorized 22 of the most common verbs, and this week I have to know 43 of the most common nouns. One of my more adventuresome collegues has already memorized about 250 words. My goal this week is to go well beyond the assigned vocabulary and try to catch up with my friend.

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