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I should be happy that in Hebrew one can at least talk in forward direction. It could be more difficult, indeed (imagine that one would not only have to read in reverse direction, but also talk backwards !!!!).  In an language, in which one has to guess the vowels to pronounce between the consonants, because they are never listed in written text (except perhaps in seder school books), in which the printed letters (in books) are so much different from the cursiv letters (which one has to know when reading a letter or a note in journal), and in which the infinite form of a verb has almost the reverse order of letters, one is well advised to find out the few easy parts. So there seem to be much less concern about conjugation of verbs or declination of nouns. Each verb has just 4 forms (male and femals, and for each gender singular and plural), plus the notorious infinite form.

I.e. “Speak”:  Medaber מדבר, Medaberet, Medabrim, Medabrot (s.m., s.f., p.m., p.f.), Ledaber (inf.)

And there are almost no verbs that follows exceptions from 3 rules.

Nouns are also left more or less unchanged, except that they are always fused with präpositions:

I.e. “House”:  Bejt בית (“this house”: HaBeijt, “In the house”: BeBeijt, “out of the house”: MeBeijt)

“Please” : BVKSR בבקשה  (pronouncation: Bevekasher).

The easy and the difficult things (the later are of course dominating) all have to do with Hebrew being a semitic, rather than an indo-european language. All the languages I learned already in school (Russian, English, Spanish) or on travel (Bulgarian) are indo-european languages. Their syntax follows certain common rules. Hebrew is much different, and closer to Arabic or Aramaeic.

What is a little bit helpful for someone who grew up in Berlin and learns Hebrew are the plenty of “Judaism” in Berlin slang. Words such as Tacheles, Mishpoke, Maloche, Schlamassel, Tohuvabohu, Schlemihl, Ische, Schikse, Schachermacher, TechtelMechtel and so on are always in common use on the streets and boroughs in Berlin.

Could this be the reason why after 6 month of studying, from the initially 12 students in the class Ulpan1, only 2 are left to continue ? Except myself, there is only Roya from Los Angeles carrying on. And she is really a linguaphilic, and I suspect she has quite a lot cultural jewish background and is imbedded in a hebrew community. But all the others, students from France, New Jersey, Morti from the UK, Sinvalda from Brasil, Victoria from Russia, Gabriela from Italy, they all gave up after the first couple of lessons. It is a sort of irony, that I myself, who never was a very committed learner, nor have I ever felt a particular talent in languages, is still taking the challenge very serious. Maybe its because I have a strong motivation, maybe thats more important than a congenital gift. And Maybe it is also because anything that is hard to achieve bears a particular attraction for me.

ulpan1

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