- Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar is a short reference guide and workbook to the most important aspects of current Hebrew as used by native speakers.
- It presents an accessible description of the language, focusing on the real patterns of use in today's Hebrew.
- The Grammar aims to serve as a reference source for the learner and user of Hebrew, irrespective of level. It is suitable either for independent study or for students in schools, colleges, universities and adult classes of all types.
- The book sets out the complexities of Hebrew in short, readable sections. Explanations are clear and free from jargon. Throughout, the emphasis is on Hebrew as used by contemporary native Israelis today.
- Features include:
… a comprehensive range of exercises
… copious examples with vowel points
… detailed contents list and index for easy access to information
… a richly varied vocabulary ranging from the elegant to the very colloquial
- Lewis Glinert is Reader in Hebrew at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
- An exercise answer booklet is available from The Publications Office, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG.
Routledge; 2nd edition (28 July 1994)
"Glinert (Lewis) - Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar"
Source: Glinert (Lewis) - Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar
Preface (Full Text)
- Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar is intended as a grammar and workbook for the first two years of modern Hebrew at high school or university.
- The book covers the features of syntax and morphology—colloquial and more formal—that are most useful to the average student. Many other features of modem Hebrew might arguably have been included— but we wished to keep things short and sweet. For a much fuller picture of the language, teachers and advancing students are referred to our The Grammar of Modern Hebrew (Cambridge University Press, 1989).
- Modern Hebrew is not a graded, step-by-step course-book. Of those there are many. It supplies what they generally lack: a simple, up-to-date outline of Hebrew structure.
- The grammar and exercises are arranged by topic, with several sections on the noun, several on the adverb, and so on. Using the contents or index, students will be able to home in on the points of grammar that they wish to learn, in whichever order suits them best. The exercises should provide an entertaining challenge, but a carefully managed one: the exercises for Level One require no knowledge of Level Two (and in fact little knowledge of any subsequent sections in Level One), and all vocabulary is listed in the custom-built word list.
- If some of this vocabulary is rather more colorful than the usual beginners' fare, so much the better. The old 'basic Hebrew' word lists upon which modem Hebrew courses have rested for forty years are starting to look distinctly dated.
- Thus the exercises in this book are more than just an exercise-ground for the grammar: they also introduce a colorful spectrum of vocabulary, spanning the colloquial and the elegant, current affairs, kitchens and kibbutzim, and religious and secular culture.
- To the Teacher
- The way we have divided the material between Levels One and Two may cause surprise. Some of the things traditionally fed to beginners do not appear until Level Two — and not by accident. Hebrew education has had an unhealthy tradition of fussing over inflections while ignoring syntax, and the written word, even to this day, gets more attention than the colloquial language. We have endeavoured to redress the balance.
- At the same time, in leaving all defective verb inflections until Level Two, we have taken advantage of the fact that language teachers today no longer deal with each grammatical structure fully as soon as it crops up. Instead, a word (example) may be learned simply as a vocabulary item, or even just as part of an expression, until the time is ripe for the grammatical facts of the verb Halak or the guttural verb to be confronted in toto. The signal we have tried to convey in leaving all defective verbs till Level Two is that there are many more important— and above all, simpler—things to be learned systematically before these.
- A word on colloquial language, 'slang', and 'grammatical errors': some teachers may be surprised to see that we have given primacy to the norms of the average educated Israeli speaker rather than the traditional norms of school grammar books. For example, forms of the type (example) appear throughout the verb tables, rather than the 'classical' form (example). Similarly, our nikkud seeks to echo colloquial pronunciation rather than Biblical norms. The reason is simple: the main purpose of modern Hebrew teaching, as of modern French or Spanish teaching, is to teach students to understand and simulate an average educated speaker — not to sound like a newsreader or funeral orator.
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