Patton, Matthew, and Putnam, Frederick. Basics of Hebrew Discourse: A Guide to Working with Hebrew Prose and Poetry. Edited by Miles Van Pelt. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2019.

In October of last year, I pre-ordered a copy of Patton and Putnam’s much acclaimed book on discourse analysis principles as they relate to biblical Hebrew (pictured to the right). Book Cover: Basics of Hebrew Discourse (click to enlarge)I picked it up and read quickly through it in the first week that I had it. It’s certainly not a disappointment!

The first thing that you notice about the book is its compact size. It is definitely smaller than I expected, especially given the way that Zondervan has taken to making their language series books inordinately large lately. I didn’t pay attention to the dimensions when I placed the order, so I expected to hold in my hands a volume about as large as the recent editions of Basics of Biblical Hebrew and Basics of Biblical Greek. This book is nothing like those. You can easily toss it in any handbag to take it with you to the coffee house (once we’re on the other side of the COVID-19 restrictions—may it be בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵ֫ינוּ [soon in our days]!) to sit and read at your leisure and then take back home to mull over and work through the examples on your own.

Continue reading “Basics of Hebrew Discourse – A Review”

I would like to begin the HEB 101 course sometime in mid-August!  More information is available here.  Basically, the cost is $200/student. I plan to meet twice/week and cover what is equivalent to one semester of Hebrew at the graduate level.  So, if you are planning to go to seminary or another graduate school, by the end of the course you should be well-prepared to test out of at least the first semester.

Please contact me at jbeck@thehebrewcafe.com if you’re interested in signing up!  Hope to see some of you there!

Dr. Stephen Krashen talks and writes a lot about the importance of free voluntary reading (FVR) in the process of second-language acquisition. Check out the following video of a lecture he gave in Hong Kong on the value of stories in acquiring a language.

When it comes to free voluntary reading, you have several types of literature that you can choose from in order to increase the exposure you have to the Hebrew language.

Continue reading “Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) & Hebrew”

Introduction:

The second בִּנְיָן we are going to study in this series about Hebrew verbs is the פִּיעֶל. This category usually include verbs whose meaning is somehow more intense than the “simple” פָּעַל verb.

For example:

לִכְתֹּב – to write 

לְכַתֵּב – to address 

This way, we can see that לִכְתֹּב refers to writing in a broader sense, whereas לְכַתֵּב refers to writing a specific thing, “an address”, thus being more intense.

Continue reading “Hebrew verbs – Pi’el”

The following is the first English-to-Hebrew drill from Exercise 32 of Weingreen’s A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Participation in the translation drills dropped off, so I’ve decided to continue on my own. My dear friend Jonathan is welcome to post his work as a comment on this blog post, but I’m not going to continue to post the threads on B-Hebrew when no one seems interested. Perhaps this is a personal task that I will need to go forward on alone (or with Jonathan).

Continue reading “Weingreen – Exercise 32 #1”

You may know that I’m currently leading a group through a study of The Basics of Biblical Aramaic (BBA) from the Zondervan Language Basics series. Last week we covered chapter 9, which you can view here on our YouTube channel (youtube.com/thehebrewcafe).

You may also be aware of the project known as the Daily Dose of Hebrew  (DDH), which is currently working through Deuteronomy chapter 7. I happened to passively listen through their playlist of Deuteronomy chapter 5 while working on other things online today, and once I got a chance I decided to just open up the chapter and read through it on my own. The following verse (5:23 or 5:27, depending on your version [DDH Video]) jumped out at me because of a connection to what we covered in Aramaic this week:

Deuteronomy 5:23 (Hebrew = 5:27 in Christian Bibles)

קְרַ֤ב אַתָּה֙ וּֽשְׁמָ֔ע אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֹאמַ֖ר יַהְוֶ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ וְאַ֣תְּ ׀ תְּדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלֵ֗ינוּ אֵת֩ כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְדַבֵּ֜ר יַהְוֶ֧ה אֱלֹהֵ֛ינוּ אֵלֶ֖יךָ וְשָׁמַ֥עְנוּ וְעָשִֽׂינוּ׃

Notice that the expression וְאַתְּ תְּדַבֵּר “and you shall speak.” This looks like grammatical discord. We would expect to see either וְאַתָּה תְּדַבֵּר‎ (2ms) or וְאַתְּ תְּדַבְּרִי‎ (2fs), but what we actually see seems odd.

Continue reading “Aramaic and Hebrew Personal Pronouns”

Today we are going to talk about two special cases of the בִּנְיָן פָּעַל.

  1. The case of the פָּעַל with a ו OR י as the SECOND LETTER  of the root. 
  • Infinitive: the infinitive of this group consists of the ל that usually indicates the infinitive followed by the 3 letters of the root (where the second letter MUST BE a י OR ו)

Examples: 

לָשִׁיר – to sing

לָגוּר – to live

  • Present:  here we are going to use the example of לָגוּר but the characteristics are the same no matter if the second letter of the root is a ו or a י.

REAL/IRREAL MOOD AND WORD ORDER

In the last postI introduced the concept of real and irreal mood in Biblical Hebrew.  In  this post, we’ll take a look at real and irreal phrases and clauses in the Bible.

Recall that certain grammatical words at the beginning clauses indicate irreal mood.  These include:

  1. The negatives אַל and לֹא;
  2. Conditional clause markers (אִם and כִּי אִם)
  3. Volitional forms: Imperatives (second-person), jussives (second- or third-person), traditionally-called cohortatives (more properly, first-person jussives).
  4. Purpose clause markers, such as לְמַעַן

Both the Imperfect and Perfect forms can express irreal mood. 

Continue reading “Word order in Biblical Hebrew pt. 3(b): Real/Irreal Mood”

Or: Weingreen English-Hebrew Translation, Exercise 31, Number 6

I’ve mentioned before that we are doing English-to-Hebrew translation exercises from Weingreen’s A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew as entertainment, not as a formal study. I figured that I would post the exercise that I have just posted on B-Hebrew and give you some insight into what goes into my thinking when I produce my translations. You are free to comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with my decisions and why.

Continue reading “How I Go About My Translations”