At 3,000 years old, Hebrew is one of the oldest languages to survive the test of time. Knowing the language allows you to go through ancient documents in their original format – like the Bible, which was originally written in Classical Hebrew. But Hebrew is more than just a portal to the past. Israel has become one of the most important countries for technology and business, recognized worldwide for developing the technology of the future.
Learning Hebrew can boost your career too. The American government sees Hebrew as a critical language and offers roles in areas like diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for fluent speakers. Israel is also a beautiful place to visit due to its rich history, stunning beaches, and modern cuisine. Knowing how to speak Hebrew opens the doors to go beyond popular tourist attractions and experience the local culture.
Why Learn Hebrew With Language Learning Software
Hebrew is a unique language as it’s one of the few that made a comeback after being recognized as a dead language. Consequently, there are two types of Hebrew. Biblical Hebrew only exists in written form, and is the language used in historical texts. On the other hand, Modern Hebrew is the official language of Israel and, probably, the one you’ll want to learn. To make things more difficult, Modern Hebrew has two main dialects – Europeanized and Oriental. But no matter which dialect you’re studying, language learning software offers a structured curriculum with a study path that ensures you learn everything in the correct order and at the right time.
As a root-based language, Hebrew becomes easier to learn if you first understand its patterns – these will help you figure out new words by yourself further down the line. Language learning apps that take the time to explain the language fully are perfect for this. Plus, since Hebrew is phonetic, you’ll also want to know how to make the correct sounds for Hebrew characters right away. Language learning platforms with speech recognition software tell you exactly where your pronunciation needs improvement, speeding up the learning process.
Recommended Language Learning Apps for Hebrew
Direction is one of the most critical aspects of studying a language as complex as Hebrew. With a meticulously designed curriculum, LinguaLift makes sure you learn the ins and outs of this beautiful language. Each lesson includes a thorough explanation of the topic you’re learning, a small quiz to make sure you’ve retained the material, and interesting information about Israeli culture. Then, LinguaLift prompts you to go through alphabet and vocabulary exercises and wraps it up with two videos: one for shadowing and another just for fun. The biggest perk you get by signing with LinguaLift is a personal roadmap that considers your starting point, study schedule, and final objective. Moreover, you can try the first three lessons for free.
As one of the first language learning apps, Rosetta Stone has had plenty of time to develop a well-rounded Hebrew course. The software offers both writing and speaking exercises, and you can expect to reach an intermediate fluency level when you complete the program. Rosetta Stone combines a Dynamic Immersion Method with native dialogues to increase your Hebrew exposure and help you learn faster. Plus, it takes advantage of speech recognition to evaluate your pronunciation and uses gamification to make exercises more engaging. Rosetta Stone is available on desktop and mobile, and Pro users have the option of downloading lessons to study offline. Anyone interested in Rosetta Stone can try the platform out first through the 3-day free trial.
Since Pimsleur is completely audio-based, it’s best suited for Hebrew students who want to improve their speaking skills. The app uses the Pimsleur Method, which combines organic learning with graduated interval recall and the principle of anticipation. In other words, the software does everything in its power to decrease the time that new vocabulary takes to move from short-term to long-term memory. All lessons offer information about the culture behind Hebrew, and since the platform has a mobile app, it’s perfect for regular commuters. Additionally, Premium users get access to some interactive games, and everyone can get a taste of Pimsleur for free through the 1-lesson trial available.
The Challenges of Learning Hebrew
Hebrew is one of the toughest languages for Westerners to learn. Even so, there are a few things that make this language a little easier to grasp. Since Biblical Hebrew didn’t have many words for modern things, the language borrowed words from others, such as English and French. For example, evolution is אבולוציה (evolútsya). Like English, Modern Hebrew also follows an SVO (subject + verb + object) word order, making it easier than languages like Japanese or German.
However, written Hebrew is one of the most complex parts of the language, as you’ll have to learn a new alphabet and get used to reading and writing from right to left. Plus, Hebrew usually doesn’t use vowels in written form. Vowels are only added to simple texts for children and students to help them memorize where the letters should appear. Because of this, many words are written in the same way, which makes it tricky to read when you don’t have a large Hebrew vocabulary.
Other key challenges you’ll face when studying Hebrew include memorizing seven conjugation patterns (English only has one), learning both printed and written script, and getting used to dropping the verb ‘to be’ when mentioning something in the present.
Best Ways To Learn Hebrew Online
Language learning software will show you the ropes, but if you want to become fluent in Hebrew fast, you’ll need to complement your studies with other activities. Reading is one of the best ways to learn new vocabulary. Additionally, since Hebrew is a phonetic language, it also helps you master your speaking skills. Complete beginners should start with children’s books because they’re usually written with vowels. Meanwhile, you can take advantage of streaming services to hone your listening and speaking skills – Netflix is home for some of the best Israeli TV shows and movies, such as When Heroes Fly, Fauda, and Mossad 101. It’s also beneficial to talk with native speakers as often as possible, either through social media, a language learning app, or by meeting Hebrew-speaking people living near you.