Hebrew is a language enveloped in an aura of mystery. Learning it requires mastering a square-shaped alphabet, and decoding words without all the sounds written out. Tricky new letters make pronunciation a challenge.
You might be thinking:
Hebrew is a really difficult language.
But is it?
Hebrew is one of the only success stories of language revitalisation. Not spoken for nearly two thousand years it has been brought back to life 🌱 through the passion of a handful of individuals, and the strong will of a community of learners.
LinguaLift will be by your side as you join this vibrant group of Hebrew enthusiasts.
Do I need to be Jewish to learn Hebrew?
It’s true, Hebrew is the language of Israel, where the Jewish religion plays a major role, and it’s a language used in the Jewish liturgy. However, the ancient writings are written in a slightly different variety of Hebrew known as ‘Biblical Hebrew.’
Modern Hebrew, the language currently spoken in Israel, is a kernel of a whole new culture, with hip-hop songs, Instagram celebrities 🙎♀️, stand-up comedy, Netflix TV series, and all other symbols of modern culture you can think of. This is the Hebrew that we teach at LinguaLift.
Of course, to understand the Israeli soul, you will need to learn a little bit about Judaism, and the turbulent history of the Jewish people. No need to worry though, LinguaLift’s unique “like a local” section will help you navigate this new cultural labyrinth. 💪
You can learn Hebrew
Did you know that just two months of intensive study in a Summer school (plus a hefty tuition fee!), you can reach Level 1 of the proficiency exam called rama aleph. Now, of course you don’t have time to spend 5 hours a day studying (or do you? 🤭).
With the LinguaLift course, which covers most of rama aleph, and just 20 minutes of study a day, our study algorithms predict that over 90% of students will be able to communicate in basic conversation in less than one year.
How is it possible?
Our team of tutors has found several cracks in the hard crust of the Hebrew language 🥪, and identified methods to make it accessible to all learners.
Here is a taste of how we dispel the myths about the Hebrew language.
Writing is easier than it sounds
You might have heard that there’s a difference between Hebrew printed alphabet and the cursive (how you write letters by hand). Yet, the difference is really not that huge! Take a look at the letter bet below 👇The right hand side is how it looks when printed, and the left is how it’s written by hand.
They look pretty much the same! 🤩
True, you will have to learn a new set of characters, but there are just 22 letters! (If you took our Japanese course instead, you’d be facing thousands of new characters instead 😛)
The LinguaLift course goes through the alphabet first to enable you to quickly abandon ‘transliteration’ (writing out words using the English alphabet instead of the genuine one), meaning that you’ll eventually learn vocabulary more quickly, and with a better accent.
You will have fun exploring the letters, and you’ll be reading original Hebrew texts in no time.
We leverage your knowledge of English
According to language scholars, Hebrew does not belong to the same language family as languages such as German or Spanish. It belongs to a group of ‘Semitic’ languages, which include languages such as Arabic or Aramaic
However, although Hebrew is officially part of this language family, due to the long history of contact with European languages, Hebrew picked up certain features that make it similar to European languages. So similar in fact, some linguists don’t agree it’s a Semitic language at all 😯
Some of the reasons why people think this way is that the word order is the same as in European languages, and tricky word endings to mark possession (common in other Semitic languages) are infrequent, too.
What’s more, Hebrew has borrowed a load of words from English, Russian, Arabic, and Polish. So, the moment you learn to read the Hebrew alphabet, you’ll be able to understand a fair few items on any restaurant menu! You’ll be able to order yourself a פיצה (pitsa 🍕) and some קפה (cafe ☕️) — perhaps a strange combination, but you’ll be glad that those were the things you can order! Learn to read and you will eat well! 😝
You already know Hebrew
Many Hebrew words have sneaked their way into other languages. You basically already live in Hebrew: when you order a bagel, celebrate a jubilee 🎉, read about the pharaohs, complain about a behemoth 👹 of a homework you got, and say hallelujah when you finish it, you are using Hebrew words!
Many of these words came to other languages through Yiddish, a mix of Hebrew and German widely spoken in Europe throughout medieval and modern times. If you’re interested in learning it after mastering Hebrew, it’ll be a piece of… bagel 😂
LinguaLift’s course points out similarities between Hebrew and other languages, and this will help you to memorise what you’re learning faster.
Accent doesn’t matter
Israel is one of those unique places which is almost exclusively composed of immigrants.
The citizens and residents of Israel come from all around the world — from Brazil, through the Philippines, to Ethiopia. 🌏
This can make it hard to understand the way different people speak — there is such a plethora of accents! At the same time, it makes it easier to pass as a native speaker, even with imperfect pronunciation.
At LinguaLift we have thousands of audio files of words, sentences, and expressions, recorded by native speakers, to demonstrate model Hebrew pronunciation.
Don’t tell anyone we said that, but accent doesn’t really matter that much. So, if in the end you still struggle to pronounce letters like resh (ר), ayin (ע), or het (ח), worry not! There will be at least five different pronunciations in every bus you step on in Israel 😉
Patterns make it easier
Hebrew is based on a system of roots 🌳 — three or four letter combinations that hold the key meaning of a word. Together with specific beginnings and endings they form word patterns. This might sound complicated, but it actually makes it much easier to guess the meaning of new words.
Think of the English words letter and dictate. Both are related to writing, but you wouldn’t guess it if you were learning English — the relationship isn’t obvious. In Hebrew, both these words come from the same ‘root’. The three-letter combination k-t-v (כ.ת.ב) contains the meaning of “writing”, and every word that contains it must also relate to writing.
By adding different beginnings and endings we generate new words, all related to the same core meaning. For example, the word for a letter is מכתב (mikhtav) meaning literally ‘something written’, and the verb to dictate is להכתיב (le-hak-tiv), literally ‘to make someone write’.
If you encounter a new word, once you know the root, you might be able to guess its meaning.
Pretty neat, right? 😎
LinguaLift explains all the patterns so that you can proceed to do the detective work on your own.
We know you can.
Over to you
Hebrew is by no means a common language to learn, and the very fact that you’ve read to the bottom of this page means that you’re special.
You’ve got the curiosity, interest, and ability to succeed. All that’s left to do is set a learning goal, work out a study routine around your lifestyle, and let the experts at LinguaLift help you get there.
Ready to learn smart? Then try your free Hebrew lesson today.