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lists and logs neph's Biblical Hebrew progress

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

Independent study. My textbook is Introduction to Hebrew by Moshe Greenberg (1965). Wicked dense but I've already been able to pick up a lot. Right now I'm almost done with section 13, which goes over the conjugation pattern of hif'il verbs. There's 30 sections total I believe. I guess I'll just update this thread when I finish each section. May HaShem give me the strength to complete this beast of a course. Hopefully I'll be able to do some cool Hebrew calligraphy down the road.


Interested in learning too? Here's some links:

Reverso — Excellent verb conjugation resource Sefaria — Large collection of Hebrew literature/scripture with translations, manuscripts, and codices Niqqud Tool — If your keyboard layout doesn't support vowel markings, this tool can add them in for you (it's about 90% accurate) Chabad's Torah Recitation Tool — Great tool for Torah/Haftarah vocalization and cantillation JewishEncyclopedia — Digitized and searchable Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-6), arguably the best English language encyclopedia on all things Hebrew

posted 10/8/2023, 2:55 am

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

§13 — 11 October 2023

I think I can finally say that I have satisfactorily internalized the contents of §13. I have a decent feel for the hif'il conjugations. Mostly it's being able to remember which pre/suffixes go where. The qal and pi'el pre/suffixes are basically the same.

This is a great example of highlighting the pre/suffixes for the hif'il conjugation (imperfect tense). You can see how the tri-consonant root (קטל) remains the same (colored black) while the changes between conjugations are colored red. For hif'il in particular, a yod ( י ) is inserted into the root after the second consonant.

My pile of index cards continues to grow... LOL

edited 10/12/2023, 12:36 am

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

14 October 2023

Just read Genesis 1 in Hebrew. I actually got most of it (there are a lot of repetitions) and luckily had the interlinear text for missing vocabulary.

One thing I never understood about the KJV translation is the odd phrasing "created he him" and "created he them" found in verse 27. Literally, the Hebrew reads "ברא אתו" lit. he created him and "ברא אתם" lit. he created them. Why the KJV translators saw fit to mess around with the order of the subject pronoun is beyond me. It must've been some artifact of older English or something. To our modern ears, ironically, the literal rendering would've been far more legible.

posted 10/14/2023, 11:24 pm

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

§14 — 17 October 2023

Just finished this section, which is about male pronominal suffixes. It was straightforward, but pretty tedious. Then next section is for the female and verb suffixes, so it should be more or less the same.

posted 10/17/2023, 11:32 pm

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

§15 — 23 October 2023

Finally done with this one. I think it's going to be taking a lot longer to do these sections/exercises because the Torah/Haftarah reading schedule I'm doing is taking up a lot of time. I may just create a separate log for that...

The next one's about "wåw consecutives," which if you look at those interlinear bibles online you'll see so many of 'em. I swear man "ו" is the single most versatile letter in Hebrew, outside of maybe "ל" :D

posted 10/23/2023, 7:20 pm

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

§16 — 27 October 2023

This section was wicked brutal. There's so many different "layers" you have to peel off of a wåw consecutive form of a verb to figure out how to "translate" it.

Here's what I mean: let's say you're reading some Torah and you come across "וַיַּעַן". What's the "correct" aspect to translate it in? Well, we know that you're supposed to read it as if it's in the opposite aspect. This is clearly imperfect aspect, so we need to change this into perfect. But, what is the actual verb? See, you've gotta know that when encountering a verb form ending with ה–ֶ you need to remove it and re-vocalize it somehow (there's no pattern!). The original verb would then be "עָנָה" and put into imperfect aspect it would become "יַעֲנֶה" and then "וַיַנֶה". At that point you scan for any ה–ֶ endings and remove them, resulting in what we started out with: "וַיַּעַן". After all is said and done, וַיַּעַן > יַעַן > עָנָה. Holy crap. Now do that 22 times as an exercise XD good freakin' luck, pal. Onto hollow verbs...

posted 10/28/2023, 3:54 am

joined oct 5, 2023

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Newport, RI

joined oct 5, 2023

So... it's been a while. Luckily, I haven't abandoned Hebrew! Quite the contrary: since October 14th of last year I began actually reading in Genesis. This Friday (the 5th of January) I'll have completed the whole book in Hebrew!!!

This is basically how I've been doing it: I have a Torah/Haftarah commentary book which I primarily read off of. There's two columns on each side: Hebrew on the right and English on the left. I'll read the Hebrew verse first and take note of any words I don't know. I use an old iPad as a lexicon, so I follow along the verses on there as I read and can see the Brown-Driver-Briggs entries for them. It's super convenient and beats flipping through pages obsessively just to find all of the instances of a word's usage! I write those new (or still not-quite-learned) words into a notebook, along with cool insights or linguistic intrigues. cat smiley (This is what it actually looks like physically on my desk.)

On my Tiblur profile you can check out a series of posts of mine made since beginning my readings. I call it NephTorah. It's not nearly exhaustive as to all the cool things that I've discovered and learned over the past three months but I tried to include things that most people would actually find even remotely interesting or useful. That's sometimes a challenge LOL shrug smiley

I honestly didn't know if I could last this long on this journey. It's been relatively grueling but as I come to the close of Genesis I think that at this point I have the chutzpah to survive until the end of the Torah cycle, that being this October. happy smiley

Also, as for the grammar readings and exercises... I haven't been doing them since the readings began out of laziness. I could do them but I am also studying John's Revelation on top of what I'm doing here, as well as the Church-wide Book of Mormon reading for the year. I think I have enough on my plate! Maybe once I get more fluent in Hebrew and amass a respectable enough inventory of vocabulary I'll be more able to keep the grammar going.

Godspeed to all my basement dwellers and here's to 2024 salute smiley

posted 1/2/2024, 6:12 am

lists and logs neph's Biblical Hebrew progress