Learning My Alef, Bet, Gimel’s

Learning a new language has been quite an eye opener for me. Do you know how many components are involved in learning a new language? Well I’m going to tell you.  A LOT!

Because I teach a Hebrew Roots class and I will be spending a lot of time in Israel in the next year, I have decided to take a couple Hebrew language classes.  The first is a Biblical Hebrew class, and in December I start my conversational Hebrew class.  I have a few weeks of my Biblical Hebrew class under my belt, and was I surprised at the amount of steps it takes to learn this.

#1. You have to learn the shapes of each letter.  In Hebrew they read and write from right to left.  This is so backwards compared to what I have done for 60 years, but my brain doesn’t seem to mine.  This has been easy so far.  Hebrew letters shapes are not close to the English shapes, so there has been a lot of memorization in this area.

#2. You have to learn the name of each letter.  In the title I write Alef, Bet, Gimel, this in English is A, B, G.  They don’t have a C as we think of C in English,  and the G comes before the D-Dalet in Hebrew.

#3.  There are also new sounds to learn.  CH is a Bach sound like the ending of Bach.  It’s a back in the throat sound and not very easy to do. Just clear all that flem out of the back of your throat and you’ve got it.    There is the TS like the end of cats,  and Hebrew words start with this sound.  Try to say a word right now starting with this sound.  It just doesn’t feel right.  Now to top it off, there are two silent letters, I guess just for grins and giggles. Their R is a rolled sound,  which isn’t that uncommon in foreign languages, but difficult for me to do.  Several of the letters sound the same, so you have to learn what letter is used in what case when writing.  I’m just learning how to read Hebrew for now, so I don’t have to worry about this yet, but come December I’ll be learning how to write.

So  far I learned the letter shapes, names, and sounds.  I’m thinking to myself, this is great, I’m almost there, and then I realize…

#4. They have a totally different vocabulary!  What do you mean, Father is not spelled F-A-T-H-E-R?  In Hebrew Father is ABBA, spelled Alef, Bet. Two letters, that’s all!  So now comes the hard part, new vocabulary. After learning the new words, I have to learn the definitions.

Well that about sums it up.  Learning a new language is fun and exciting, and truly exercises the brain.  But it’s also challenging and time-consuming.  I believe there is always victory behind every challenge so I’m going for the gold!

I have a granddaughter in kindergarten and a grandson in preschool. I see there little minds in a new light.  It is amazing how their brilliant brains work.  They accept this challenge with no thought of what it takes to accomplish what they are doing.  They come over and rattle off the ABC’s as if they were born with this talent.  How often we ask them to do this without realizing the process behind it.  These all-absorbing brains are an amazing gift from God.  By the time these children are 6 years old they will be writing and reading words like prose.

I’m glad I’m studying a new language, and I’m glad I’m exercising my brain daily, but most of all; I’m glad God gave me a reason to do it all!

Shalom and Blessing sent for a wonderful day!

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