A No-Teacher Guide to the Hebrew Language

Teach Yourself Hebrew

Oops, no teachers please. Todah Rabah!

UPDATE! I have just started a free conversational Hebrew course that you will love. You will get the chance to learn spoken and written Hebrew through this interactive story of an American traveling in Israel. You can control the story by suggesting places and activities for the future lessons. Important is that you learn the language along the way. No requirements needed or previous knowledge of Hebrew to start this course. Here is lesson 1.

Some people believe it is impossible to learn a language on your own. Since you are reading this, you can’t be one of them! So, let’s forget about them and talk about you… or rather us.

Hebrew is a language, though has no original relation to Latin languages, still modern Hebrew is not a completely alien language to European-languages native speakers, English counts.

I have to tell you that no matter which Hebrew learning method you’re going to follow, do NOT be discouraged by the Hebrew pronunciation. It is very common in Israel to hear all kinds of accents. However, if you work “hard enough” you will end up speaking Hebrew just like a native speaker.

So, before you get bored of me, here is a detailed (every-updated) list of Hebrew language learning methods you can use with the need of no teacher.

1: FSI Hebrew: (Free conversational course)

This was basically developed by the Foreign Service Institution for US diplomats and overseas officials.  It consists of a 40-unit book with accompanying audio files.

All FSI Hebrew course units start with a conversation going on between two Hebrew native speakers who usually pretend to be foreigners (without changing their native accent of course), they start talking to locals and to each other in Hebrew.

After each conversation you will be given vocabulary meanings in English then you will start spoken drills, you will take the part of each party once, then switch to the other person.  This way you are expected to:

  1. Get familiar with the Hebrew sound.
  2. Start having some conversational skills.
  3. Learn how to read a bit (if you ignore their advice “not to try to read till you are done with a few units”, which I advise you to ignore, and start with Pimsleur before you touch your FSI course).
  4. Having an idea about the Israeli culture and Jewish customs.

Click here to visit FSI Hebrew course page and download the material for free.

2: Pimsleur (Expensive, but perfect value for each penny)

Pimsleur is one perfect piece of art that teaches you Hebrew with ZERO pain. I am a huge fan of Pimsleur Hebrew and I will be writing more about it whenever I get more time on my hand. The idea is that it teaches you how to actually SPEAK the Hebrew language, not just how to perform baby talk like other Hebrew courses do.  This should have really been the first on the list, but I didn’t want to start the list with a premium option. Click here to read more about Pimsleur Hebrew.

3: LiveMocha (Free)

LiveMocha is not that much of a great language learning method, but the power behind it lies in the fact that it gets you in contact with Hebrew native speakers who will be very willing to help you off with your Hebrew learning experience.

Read more about LiveMocha here.

4: Flashcards

Flash cards are not dead! No matter how advanced computers get, no matter how fancy language learning techniques are. Flashcards provide vocabulary, and vocabulary is the life blood of your language.

All you need is to use flashcards wisely, keep them interesting and informative. Avoid boring ones and create your own! You can surely go wrong with flashcards, but you can get seriously right!

More about Hebrew flashcards to come in the future. I am preparing a very long section of the site for them. Stick around (do not forget to subscribe for free or to bookmark my page at least)

5: Rosetta Stone Hebrew (expensive)

To be honest, I am not feeling that good about Rosetta Stone Hebrew. The software is very nice I have to admit, full of useful vocabulary and eye-catching pictures. But Rosetta Stone doesn’t actually teach you how to speak Hebrew! It just teaches you tons of vocabulary. It teaches you how to say “I want to drink some coffee” and teaches you how to say “tea”, “eat” and “think”. But after a few months of depending on Rosetta Stone Hebrew, you will NOT be able to say “I think I want to drink some tea or eat something” in Hebrew! Though you know what each word means.

I guess I was very lucky that I only got my hands on Rosetta Stone after I have finished my Pimsleur Hebrew course. If it wasn’t for Pimsleur I would have thought that Rosetta Stone Hebrew is way over my head! And to be honest, unlike many people who swear by Rosetta Stone, I think it is not worth my money.

I have to say that Rosetta Stone Hebrew was wonderful for my nephew and nieces (ages: 9, 7 and 4). Probably because the pictures really grabbed their attention. They were able to remember more words than I did. However, since you are an adult, you should consider better investment in your money. I would surely advise you to invest in Pimsleur Hebrew.

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