Thursday, November 8, 2007

Learn Hebrew

Learn Hebrew is a simple but very nice Flash based web site from Jacob Richman which I first began using some months ago now.

First, you can choose what amount to Flash flash cards (er, possibly redundant but... whatever) mousing over the text of which and left-clicking will cause a very clear voice to intone the selection.

Second, the voice used is very clear. Did I mention that? Okay, it bears repeating. Also, the pronunciation is in the modern Israeli Sephardic style. Shabbat is pronounced with a definite T sound and not an S. So this won't help you follow the Charedi community with the heavy Yiddish infusions, but you can figure it out.

Third, there are many different categories of cards to choose from, not just Aleph, bet, etc.

My only real problem with it, and I have this problem with every single other free Hebrew site is there is no clear set of rules and variances taught for when to use a yod or vav to indicate an extended vowel intonation or which nikkudot mean which intonation based on which letter they are used with. Shin, bet, tav is very clearly shabbat. However, why the choice of how you are suggesting the vowel sound be "ah"?

Similarly, the choice of tet or tav, vet or vav, is left unexplained. As it is somewhat strangely in the Hebrew for Dummies book. Put together, you get the problem of the spelling of vet. It starts
with a vet with tsere under it followed by a yod then a tav. I assume Israeli kids get some sort of explanation. Can I have one?

Other than that, this is a great site to start off with learning the letters. I expect more to come from Jacob's site so will be watching.

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