Hebrew is an ancient and beautiful language, and we’re here to help you to begin learning it with a few tips.
1. Speaking Before Reading
Learning the Hebrew aleph-bet can be rather simple; after all there are only twenty two letters. However, we recommend that you will acquire some Hebrew vocabulary first.
By talking to Hebrew speakers you will learn new words and get a sense of Hebrew grammar in a way that will be lost if you’ll only learn new words from reading.
Ivrit Talk offers a number of spoken Hebrew courses for people who want to learn Hebrew by phone or Skype.
2. Reading Hebrew – Start Small
Does the written word have a special place in your heart? Maybe your main goal is actually reading in Hebrew? That’s great, but before opening the Bible or David Grossman’s latest book, read a news article or a short story. Most people who are just starting to read Hebrew do so by opening children’s books, because the texts are short. However, it can be somewhat frustrating for adults so we recommend reading magazines with easy Hebrew. Jerusalem Post’s Ivrit Magazine can be just the thing you need. It is a magazine in Hebrew that features stories in different levels of Hebrew: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The articles are punctuated with vowel signs (nikud) and also include small dictionaries for new words.
3. Listening to Music and Watching Movies Can Be Educational
Two of the best ways to learn new languages are also the most fun: listening to Hebrew songs and watching Hebrew-speaking movies and TV shows. You will learn new words and phrases while practicing your listening comprehension skills by doing something you enjoy!
You can find plenty of Hebrew songs on YouTube, or listen to Israeli radio stations online. If you have Netflix, you probably know by now that the streaming service has Israeli TV shows and movies. At first, watch the shows with English subtitles, after you’ll feel more comfortable about your Hebrew reading skills try to watch the shows with Hebrew subtitles. You’ll be bingeing for educational reasons.
4. Read Something Familiar (in Hebrew)
You just decided that you want to read a story, book or magazine in Hebrew to see if you can understand what you read without nikud, dictionaries etc. That’s great, however, we recommend that you will start reading something that you are familiar with such as that Harry Potter book that you read 10 times or the newspaper’s sport section because you know what you’ll be reading about. Trust us, reading something familiar is much easier than reading a text that is entirely new and it’s also a great way to practice your Hebrew.
5. Use Online Material
There are online Hebrew courses as well as free worksheets, blogs, magazines, and other sources that will help you study Hebrew.
6. Be Consistent
Learning a new language takes time and it won’t be easy. The best way to reach your goal of learning Hebrew is by taking the time and spending a few hours every week to improve your Hebrew. Although learning Hebrew can be hard it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. You can learn Hebrew by talking on the phone, watching TV, attending cultural events, listening to songs and reading magazines. The most important thing is to keep at it until you learn Hebrew.