Modern Hebrew Beginner I

Course Status: 
CEU code: 
SLTG 5005
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
19 Sep 2016 - 9 Dec 2016
Szonja Komoroczy

SLTG 5005 - Modern Hebrew I
Language course, 3 credits
2016/17 Fall Term

Instructor: Szonja Ráhel Komoróczy

Office Hours: by appointment


Modern (or Israeli) Hebrew is the standard form of Hebrew spoken today, mainly in Israel. Its roots are in Biblical Hebrew, which died out as a vernacular by the 3rd century BCE, but was used continuously as a liturgical and literary language, and came to be revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries – using Biblical Hebrew morphemes, Rabbinic spelling, Sephardi pronunciation, and idioms and calques from Yiddish. In its modern form, it has been highly influenced by Yiddish, Russian, English and Arabic as well.

Over the course of two terms, students with no, or minimal prior knowledge of the language will master the basic principles of writing, reading and speaking Modern Hebrew. They will be exposed to modern Hebrew in various contexts, including basic dialogues, edited newspaper articles, songs, radio and film.

These foundations are useful to anyone involved in Jewish Studies, for the analysis of Hebrew texts and documents, and for understanding Israel and the Middle East.

Goals and learning outcomes
The goals of the course are twofold. On the one hand, by the end of the two terms, course participants will be able to read and write basic Modern Hebrew without vowel signs, will understand basic conversational Hebrew by listening and speaking, and will have acquired the skills to read Hebrew texts of various kinds with a dictionary. On the other hand, through the medium of Hebrew, students will have become acquainted with Israeli culture, art, literature and film.

There will be a new grammatical topic and a new theme introduced each class, with related reading material and vocabulary. Classes will be based on active student participation, and will focus on speaking and reading skills. There will be homework assigned regularly – these assignments are essential for progress and will be discussed in class. Students should be aware that in order to successfully participate in the course, they will have to dedicate extra time outside the classroom (at least double the time we spend in the classroom).

Shulamit Chayat, Sarah Israeli and Hila Kobliner, Hebrew from Scratch, Part 1. (Jerusalem: Academon, 2000).

CD-s accompanying book. (online English/Hebrew dictionary)



Regular attendance (at least 20 sessions out of 24) is mandatory for everyone, including those who are registered only for Audit. (According to the SLTG Guidelines, students signed up for Audit who fail to meet this requirement will be given a W, or withdraw, grade.)


Student performance will be assessed by short weekly tests of ca. ten minutes at the beginning of the first session of every week (40 %), a mid-term exam (20%), a final exam (20%) and class work (20%).


Grammatical topics

Week 1

• Introductions

• Hebrew alphabet

• Reading and writing Hebrew

• Personal pronouns

• Nominal sentences


Week 2

• Hebrew vowels

• Nouns: gender

• Adjectives: masculine and feminine

• Nouns: plural

• Definite article, conjunctive


Week 3

• Using the dictionary

• Verbal sentences

• Interrogative sentences

• Negative sentences

• Demonstrative pronouns


Week 4

• Gender of nouns

• Plural of nouns

• Prepositions

• Paal verbs, present tense

• Piel verbs, present tense


Week 5

• Paal verbs, present tense

• Plural of nouns

• Adjectives

• Impersonal

• Basic sentences


Week 6

• Mid-term test

• Interrogative sentences

• Feminine numbers

• Definite article, agreement of noun and adjective

• Impersonal


Week 7

• Infinitive (paal)

• Feminine numbers 1-10

• Time

• Object clauses

• Demonstrative pronouns


Week 8

• Infinitive (piel)

• Nominal clauses

• Negative

• Feminine numbers 11-20


Week 9

• Feminine numbers 20-100

• Hifil verbs, infinitive

• Construct case singular


Week 10

• Masculine numbers 1-10

• Construct case plural

• Hitpael verbs


Week 11

• Masculine numbers 11-100

• Infinive (hitpael)

• Construct case with adjective


Week 12

• Written final exam