My recent Boulders2Bits contest asked readers to submit suggestions for vocabulary resources. Here’s the second (of two) posts giving an annotated list of the suggestions (Part One can be found here). I’m apologizing up front for all the screen captures. I know it makes the post look cluttered, but I think it helps to visualize the programs.
Ze’ev Clementson suggested another resource (this time for Modern Hebrew).
Another nice resource for someone learning Hebrew (modern Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew) is Sha’ar La’Matchil — a weekly newspaper written in easy Hebrew with vowels and vocabulary help. It is available in both printed and online versions: http://www.shaaronline.co.il/Eng/index.asp
It allows one to learn new vocabulary by reading and/or listening to current news articles.
This is a great resource if you are trying to learn Modern Hebrew. It is an easy-to-read newspaper. However, there is a fee: $60 for the year ($6 a month) for the digital edition. I don’t think the print edition is being offered any longer.
Steve B. pointed us to another online tool.
I have personally used this and can say that it is very helpful. The only trick is that the guys behind the Hebrew section are still adding pieces of the Hebrew section (they’re friends from Gordon Conwell). The best piece of this program (besides the fact its free and reliable!) is that it takes which words you don’t know and quizzes you for five mins a day on them. The idea is to commit words to long-term memory by monitoring the user’s day-to-day knowledge of vocab(which, of course, requires honesty!). I know of nothing better (and it’s continuing to improve!)
Quisition is a browser-based flashcard system that repeats old cards and introduces new ones at optimal time intervals. There are “decks” of cards for all kinds of subjects (not just Hebrew). It looks like there are currently 28 decks for Biblical Hebrew, all based on the Van Pelt/ Pratico word lists. The vocabulary will take you down to a frequency of 50. There is also a deck for numbers and one for transliteration practice.You can group existing decks into your own deck (“My Decks”) for a custom study set. For the student or teacher who really wants to go the extra mile, you can create new decks (and share them). So, an instructor could create decks that dovetail with a specific curriculum.
Ze’ev also gave a couple of suggestions for people learning Hebrew who have an iPhone.
1. My own HebrewBible (shameless plug!!!) iPhone app provides a ‘Words’ tab that lets one do a lookup of any Hebrew word’s English definition based on the first 2 characters of the root. This can be
done either online (with an Internet connection) or offline (storing the definitions locally on the iPhone) and provides Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic definitions. The app also has Google Translate lookup
functionality that allows for the translation to/from multiple different languages and Hebrew (modern Hebrew, Internet access required for this functionality).
iTunes Link: http://itunes.com/app/HebrewBible
2. Nogasoft provides an excellent off-line iPhone dictionary that translates Hebrew (modern) to/from English, French, Russian, and Spanish. If you only require 1 language (e.g. just Hebrew to/from English), you can buy just the single module for a cheaper price.
iTunes Link: Select the desired product from the bottom of the Nogasoft page or search for ‘nogasoft’ in iTunes.
Cost: $39.99 for 4 languages, $19.99 for 1 language
I’ve done a more extensive review of Ze’ev’s Hebrew Bible app here. I think that the language tools are a good reference, but not currently set up as a flashcard-type program for practice.
Another of Ze’ev’s suggestions was an online application that is very different!
One that is quite neat is HaDaR (Hebrew Dictionary Research Tool). It lets you select either the first, second, or third character of a Hebrew word root and then graphically displays all of the Hebrew words that contain that character in that position. It is ostensibly used to compare roots with related radicals but it would be a great aid for creating/solving Hebrew Bible crossword puzzles! In addition to being useful for crossword puzzles, it is neat in that it graphically illustrates concentrations of words around specific letter combinations. Have a look at it here: http://www.shiloam.net/radical-hebrew/hadar/viewrootmap.php
It took me a little while playing around with this tool to really get my head around how it works. You choose a root at the top of the window (I, II, or III), then the grid fills in where there are possible roots, based on the other two remaining slots. See if a picture helps (below). I’ve chosen the first root to be mem (see the green arrow at the top). Once I do that, a grid appears with squares aligning with letters across the top and down the left side. Then I’ve hovered my cursor over the square that is down the samek row and across the hey row (see the green arrow in the middle of the image). This would be for the root mem-samek-hey. Once I do that, a pop-up window appears with a gloss and some other information (see the second image). Get it? Ze’ev is right, it would be really helpful for crossword puzzles because you only get squares where there are possible roots! You need to play with it a bit.
Bob W. suggested this next website.
http://ancient-hebrew.org/7_home.html is a great way to start out. It builds from letters, then adds letters and goes through exercises pronouncing combinations. Eventually you will read small sections of scripture.
I’ll be honest, there are some helpful things here, but I am concerned about some of the material on the website. Particularly, the “mechanical translation” that the author of the website produces and sells. I disagree with his methodology and some of his ideas about languages, translation, and meaning. But, this is not the place to critique that particular item (maybe another time, because I do think it is important to address). I just want to make it clear that I am not condoning this entire site.
I’m preparing some iFlipr decks for Hebrew vocab
This is a web and iPhone application. I didn’t know about iFlipr and I’ve really flipped for it! Watch this little video for a good intro to the app.
Now, here’s what some of the Biblical Hebrew decks look like on my own iPhone. One thing to pay attention to is the font display. The decks that are titled “Van Pelt” are difficult to read and the pointing does not always line up (the first image below is from a “Van Pelt” deck). However, the decks named “Basics of Biblical Hebrew” display beautifully (2nd image below). Once you “flip” the card to the back (on the “Basics of Biblical Hebrew” word) you not only see the gloss, but also a button that will play an audio track which pronounces the word (3rd image below). Note, the titles of the decks are generated by the deck author and are not necessarily indicative of an official textbook affiliation.
To find decks, go online and search for “Biblical Hebrew.” You will see several different sets of vocab (usually keyed to a particular textbook or grammar). Once you find the decks you want, you can download them to a library and pull them up to practice another time. You can sync your iPhone iFlipr app with the online login info so that the decks you identify online can be loaded to your iPhone. I can’t wait to see the decks that Chris is developing!!
The iFlipr app for your iPhone costs $4.99. BUT there are 7,000,000 cards on iFlipr (many, many other categories and languages than just Biblical Hebrew). You can find it in the iTunes app store here.
Ze’ev got in the last word with this final suggestion.
A nice Hebrew vocab (primarily verbs) quiz is here: http://quiz.emergence.dk/quiz/hebrew/
This resource is actually a two-for-the-price-of-one (although, there is no price because it is free!) since you can generate both Greek and Hebrew quizzes. It was designed by Ulrik Sandborg-Petersen. The user can choose from an array of verb forms, and then restrict the quiz in a second window (there is also a noun section, but the verb choices are much more detailed). Finally, the desired quiz is generated. Very nice!
Well, that wraps it up for the vocabulary resources that were submitted for my B2B contest. I was surprised by the omission of some resources that I expected to see! So… stay tuned for my own additional list of vocab learning tools!