The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew
Hebrew in Israel
By Giore Etzion
Routledge – 2009 – 364 pages
Routledge – 2009 – 364 pages
Please note that as of October 2014 the website URL has changed from http://artsci.wustl.edu/~hii to www.routledge.com/cw/hii
The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew: Hebrew in Israel is an integrated language course designed specifically for classroom–based learners.
The course contains 90 lessons combining texts, grammar explanations, and exercises. This is supported by a Companion Website with audiovisual materials to guide the student through the key skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
All the texts, wordlists, and verb conjugations are freely available in an audiovisual format on the Companion Website www.routledge.com/cw/hii which contains a wealth of additional resources including:
Hebrew in Israel provides everything that students and instructors need for an engaging and effective learning environment.
Giore Etzion is a Senior Lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis
GREAT CHOICE FOR THE INDEPENDENT LEARNER, May 27, 2009 By Brian Beyer (NJ, United States)
This is an outstanding text. A person learning Hebrew on his or her own could hardly do better. Access to the companion website alone is worth the price. Among the many things available on the website are recordings of each and every reading passage (preceded by new vocabulary read in various conjugated or declined forms), additional listening comprehension passages, additional readings passages, lots of audio visual charts/recordings (e.g., numbers, days of the week) and a truly remarkable electronic verb dictionary that gives a full conjugation of each verb in Past, Present, Future, Infinitive, and Imperative, as well as its English translation, root, binyan and gizra. Each form is written out with vowels and *is read aloud* by a native speaker. Finally - critical for the independent learner - the website contains a complete and thorough answer key for each and every exercise.
The publisher's description of the course as "adopting a communicative approach," is accurate. However, the author does not shy away from overt explanations of Hebrew grammar and syntax (in English). When he does so, however, the explanations are always clear and helpful (and never grammar for grammar's sake).
A person truly learning on his or her own might consider supplementing this course with one that contains somewhat longer reading passages (e.g., Hebrew From Scratch Textbook Part I (Hebrew Edition), and Hebrew From Scratch Audio CD Set Part I). The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew, however, would be the very best of starting points.
Quality Textbook, April 9, 2009 By Yonatan Allon (Israel)
I have not seen the actual book, but I'm a former student of the author and he taught us using material, which eventually became the book. Therefore my review is based on my experience with the earlier drafts of the book, and I can only image that over the years (I studied with him 10 years ago) the author has refined and improved the material.
I've studied several languages and I'm aware how rare good language textbooks are. In my opinion this book is a wonderful exception. The author provides a very good grammatical base, explaining it in a systematic manner. Yet at the same time he makes it interesting and engaging by weaving everything together with a creative story line.
I recommend this book for anyone that is interested and serious about learning Hebrew. It would be disingenuous to claim that you will speak Hebrew fluently after completing it, but I can promise that it will give you the basic tools to begin the (satisfying) process of learning this wonderful language. I base this claim on my own experience as I now live in Israel. I have studied at several different places here, and I can honestly say that my studies with the author gave me a great basic understanding of the language that has helped me acquire Hebrew.
'…highly recommendable…' - Forum for Modern Language Studies
Overall, your book is a great learning tool.
Excuse the belated reply.
I just got the evaluations of the students and they were very positive about the book and impressed with how much they learned. The book is so well structured and the connections so seamless that the students feel they have covered so much material with so much joy. What makes the book especially successful is that the dialogues cover material relevant to the students thus maintaining their enthusiasm throughout. Indeed, the book is so good that most of it can be learned on its own. I used to have to combine material from different books, but your book and the website is so rich there is no need for supplementary material. ………… None of this should detract from my assessment that this is an excellent textbook for beginner's Hebrew and I recommend it without reservation.
As always, I would appreciate receiving any additional material and class activities that you have developed.
I am attaching a response from an excellent student who started off without any recognition of the Hebrew alphabet. If I can be of any further service, please do not hesitate to call upon me.
Part-time Lecturer of Hebrew Program
ETZION, GIORE. The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew (Hebrew in Israel). New York &
London: Routledge, 2009. 354 pp. £30.00/$54.00. ISBN 978–0–415–48417–6.
'This highly recommendable course consists of eight units made up of ninety lessons, an introduction to the alphabet, as well as a Hebrew–English dictionary which covers the vocabulary used, in addition to word lists at the end of the individual units. An eclectic methodology is used which, through the combination of grammar explanations and examples, with pieces of text, the introduction of vocabulary and related written and oral exercises, gradually teaches the structure of the language. The course enables the student to gain a good understanding of grammar and culture, while also developing written and verbal communication skills, both passive and active. The layout is clear and well-arranged and the text very readable. The material is accompanied by an equally well-organised website which supports the familiarisation with the alphabet and grammar through its audio-visual material, charts and links. The companion website also contains the answers to exercises in the textbook, which makes the course accessible to self-study too. Even though the course is primarily designed for classroom-based and fast-paced, first-year programmes, it can be used beneficially for less intensive courses or individual learning.' - Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol 46, no 1, January 2010
'The success of my Hebrew classes this year at Tufts University was significantly a factor of the excellent textbook, Modern Hebrew by Giore Etzion. The material is relevant to the students and keeps them involved and motivated. It also comes with a website. After doing the exercises in the book they must check their answers on the website so that they are responsible to check themselves and come to class totally prepared. All outstanding issues with the homework are resolved at the beginning of the class and they are quizzed every week. This keeps them on top of things and maximizes the learning situation.
The book is so well structured and the connections so seamless that the students feel they have covered much material relatively painlessly. What makes the book especially effective is that the dialogues cover material relevant to the students thereby maintaining their enthusiasm throughout. Indeed, the book is so good that most of it can be learned on its own. I used to have to combine material from different books, but your book and the website is so rich and so up to date visually, content-wise, besides being user-friendly, there is no need for supplementary material. The voices on the website provide the opportunity to hear other Israeli voices. Moreover, the voices are so well accented one feels the force of the readings which contributes to the students' ability to read well and with understanding. It also adds considerably to their interest in spoken Hebrew and listening comprehension. The dictionary structuring of the vocabulary units after each chapter is especially helpful because of its breakdown into the various grammatical units.This helps the student think clearly and become sensitive to grammar patterns. In sum, this is an excellent textbook for beginner's Hebrew and I recommend it without reservation. The students love learning from it and I love teaching from it.
As an aside, I want to emphasize that the author, Professor Etzion, was helpful and supportive every step of the way at the beginning. Once I got into the book it just flowed on its own.
Recommendations: If the class has no knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet, it would be helpful to have a supplementary booklet reviewing the dynamics of reading. All directions for exercises in the first two units should also be in English and they gradually wean the students away from the English and ooze them into the Hebrew.' - Hava Kimelman, Tufts University
To the user. Organisation of the lessons. Course Website. Culture. Reading and Writing in Hebrew. Overview. The Alphabet. The Vowels. The Syllable. The Cursive Alphabet. Unit 1. Unit 2. Unit 3. Unit 4. Unit 5. Unit 6. Unit 7. Unit 8. Hebrew–English Dictionary.
Giore D. Etzion is Senior Lecturer in Hebrew at Washington University in St. Louis.