Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hebrew, Again

Try not to think "book."
I don’t intend to blog my way through Hebrew, since I have no particular intention of making my blog as tedious as possible (if my blog is going to be boring, let that come without my intention). Something occurred to me as I continued my studying Hebrew with Rosetta Stone. Over the years as I have studied various languages, I’ve taken piles of notes (now, mostly long since lost or discarded; I’m not losing any sleep over not having my first list of French vocabulary words from when I was 12).

Rosetta Stone, on the other hand, isn’t really conducive to taking notes. Unlike my experience when I was 12, this is not language as a substitution code (if you’re thinking “boy,” say “garçon”), but instead a more organic way of learning the language (don’t think “boy,” think “ילד”).
But I’d still like to take some notes. There is a pdf of the course material. I might go through it and jot out the words as they occur, partly so I have a word list (and I don’t need to do what I did at twelve, connecting each word to its English equivalent; the bare list of words will be enough), and partly because I know that the physical act of writing down a word helps in the memorization (and it will improve my handwriting).

Today’s lesson actually introduced some new words, and it was strange they way they did it. We got four pictures: A dog, some bread, children writing, and a book. Then they throw the word “sefer” (ספר) at you and expect you to sink or swim. (Go for the book.) Maybe I’ve forgotten some earlier (as in years ago) review, but it seem sort of strange to say, “come on, you’ve got a one-in-four chance, and the odds only get better if you hit one.” Or maybe it knew that I’d been there, many times before.

It’s early yet, but I suspect this is something that would give many hopeful learners a lot of anxiety and frustration. Some of that also came from trying to tap things out on an on-screen Hebrew keyboard; an unfamiliar arrangement of unfamiliar letters. I’m going to persevere though.
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