So, you want to learn Hebrew for beginners? You’re about to embark on an adventure that will enrich your life with social opportunities, a deeper understanding of Israeli culture and Jewish history, and brain stimulation that may improve your quality life in the long run (language learning has been known to postpone the onset of degenerative brain conditions).
So how are you going to do it
But since at the moment there is no method of uploading the knowledge of a language to your brain, you will have to overcome some hurdles in order to reap these benefits. Learning any new language can be challenging: to get pronunciation right you have to work out muscles in your mouth that have been inactive, you’ll need to remember your new words and use them fast enough so they go into long-term memory storage, and you will have to humble yourself and feel like a third grader when suddenly you can’t express yourself as easily as you could in your native tongue. Learning Hebrew can be more challenging than say Spanish or French since there’s also a new alphabet to master if you wish to read and write.
In order to overcome these hurdles, your learning should include the following elements:
- Fun and relevant. If what you’re trying to learn bores you, you’re not likely to learn it. But if it’s fun, your chances of retaining
your new knowledge increase significantly. Make Hebrew learning fun by doing it with friends, learning words and phrases that you actually need to go about your day. Learn the most relevant words first.
- Daily contact. When starting off with a new language, it’s important to let your mind and mouth get around it every day. As you build new vocabulary, make sure to practice it, in actual conversation if possible. Daily contact with your new language over a sustained period of time (weeks or months) will help ensure that your new vocabulary sticks in your mind for the long term. Immerse
- Immerse yourself.yourself. Surround yourself with Hebrew. If you’re learning in Israel, make it a point to read all the street signs, to listen to the radio in Hebrew while driving, to work or hang out in cafes or other environments where you might practice with the waiter or eavesdrop on Israelis. If you’re
studying from abroad, listen to Hebrew news on YouTube while you’re ironing or doing the dishes. Even if you don’t understand what you’re hearing, the fact that you’re studying the language will alert your brain to try to make sense of the sounds and structures you’re hearing automatically, so that you’ll be learning (at least a little bit) by osmosis.
- Make mistakes. Get out there and speak to people in Hebrew. You will mistake and look like a fool occasionally – this is part of the game, try to enjoy it. If you can laugh at yourself when you make mistakes, the native speaker with you will laugh too. You will not only have made a friend but also someone who will continue to feel comfortable correcting you – helping you learn to speak Hebrew better and better.
Why learn Hebrew for beginners with us
Ulpan La-Inyan’s courses include all of these elements (well, except for the cafe – but we encourage such immersion once class ends). Think of Ulpan La-Inyan as a lab where you can learn to conduct relevant, useful conversations, with nearly daily classes (and review materials for the off-class days), plenty of opportunities to make mistakes and get corrected, and a group class where you can meet new friends who are also on this adventure of learning Hebrew.