Modern Hebrew: To Practice or not to Practice?

There comes a time in our lives when we decide we should learn a new language. Why not? When learning a new language you usually learn about a new culture as well, get to meet new people with similar interests and some doctors even say it’s a good way to postpone getting Alzheimer’s disease.

Why learn Hebrew?

Hebrew is one of the sought after languages to learn. Many people all over the world want to learn Hebrew for several reasons: some wish to be able to read the bible in Hebrew and understand the meaning of the verses; some wish to be able to converse in Hebrew when they take a trip to Israel; some think it will strengthen their connection to Israel and some even plan on making Aliya!

What should I study?

The decision to learn a new language is the first step. You choose a class to fit your needs: studying basic Hebrew vocabulary through conversation, studying reading in Hebrew, learning Hebrew online or studying the bible or any other topic in or about Hebrew. In every class you get a taste of using the language while learning grammar, vocabulary, studying verbs, etc. You sign up for a class and start taking lessons for several weeks or several months, you study, do your homework prior to each class, practice your new skills and then the class is over. Now what?

Practice your knowledge

This is the hard part - keeping up with what you have just learned. In order to remember everything taught in the class you just left you need to practice. Remember when our parents and teachers told us: Practice Makes Perfect? It’s not just a saying – it’s really true! It is especially appropriate when studying a new language. It’s not like riding a bike – you need to practice in order to be able to use it. If you finished a basic conversational class and you don’t have a study-buddy to speak with, you are most likely going to forget what you have learned.

Why practice?

It’s important to practice your new skills if you plan on making Aliya or just visiting Israel – it’s a lot of fun to go into a store and be able to do some shopping in Hebrew! If you have an Israeli business associate, think of their reaction when they hear you say a few sentences in Hebrew – this will surely give you extra points with them.

Some advice about learning online

In order to maintain and strengthen your knowledge of the language people can do several things. Most Hebrew courses given in IStudyHebrew, offer some review exercises that you can do on your own after class. In addition to that you receive a recording of the online session that you can re-play on your computer and review the class. But the best way to practice your language, especially when you take online courses in Hebrew, is to find a friend, neighbor or colleague who speaks the language. The best way is to find an Israeli buddy who is looking to improve her English skills. This way you can hold weekly meetings when you speak half an hour in Hebrew and half an hour in English. One of the benefits of this method is that you can discuss current affairs in your current country and in Israel.

If you can’t find someone to study with, try thinking of taking additional classes in a group where you will be able to practice with other people who are at the same level as you, and you will be able to advance and become more proficient.