MisterVimes learns Hebrew

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MisterVimes
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MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:22 pm

Hi all, long-time lurker here who’s finally getting herself the accountability she needs. I realized I started a German log years ago that went entirely unused, so here’s to a new, more successful attempt!

This time around I’m dedicating myself to Modern Hebrew. Over the years I’ve started learning many languages, but have never reached a decent level in any of them. The only languages I’m proficient in are the ones I started learning in school (English and German). Now I’m determined to make Hebrew the first language I learn primarily through self-study, hopefully to (at least) an intermediate level.

Why Hebrew? The main reason is that I’m converting to Judaism. I’m still in the early stages of the process, but I figured it would help if I got some studying in now. Biblical Hebrew would have made sense too, but I like having the option to speak with people and to watch movies etc. I figure there’s enough transfer to make the time I spend on MH at least somewhat useful for reading and understanding BH.

So far I’ve only dabbled, so I’m still a beginner. I did a bit of Duolingo until I got bored with learning food names and I am on lesson 25 of Assimil Hebrew. I have a few podcasts I listen to, plus some movies and shows on Netflix I plan to watch. If anyone reading this has any recommendations for media, please do let me know!

My first objective is to finish Assimil, supplemented with Anki flashcards and immersion with podcasts/Netflix. I may join a course or take iTalki lessons, but I’ll have to see when I have enough time and confidence for that.

So that’s the plan for now! Knowing myself, the main challenge will be staying consistent in my studies. I hope to update this thread semi-regularly and slowly build up momentum. I’ll see you all around!
10 x

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MisterVimes
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Fri Dec 31, 2021 11:41 am

Here’s my first update before 2022 rolls around. This past week I’ve been getting back into the swing of things with Assimil and some Anki reps. I just finished lesson 28 of Assimil (a review lesson).

One other, important thing I did: I learned to read with niqqud. When I started learning with Duolingo I ignored them, because Duo doesn’t use them (much) anyway. But Assimil does, and the words look very different when they are fully written out. I lost most reading comprehension thanks to this, so I finally sat down and learned the dots. And I’m very happy I did because now I can sound out words I haven’t heard yet. Always a handy skill.

I’m noticing some progress in my comprehension thanks to Anki. I’m starting to connect related words that are based on the same root, e.g. ‘job’ and ‘employee’ etc. The other day I read a few (admittedly simple) Hebrew sentences here on the forums, and I understood most of it! It’s been a while since I’ve felt this growing of comprehension in a new language. I’m very excited to continue.

New Year’s is almost upon us. I don’t usually make resolutions, but I did sign up for the 365 day challenge in 2022. I have a terrible history with such challenges, but I’m optimistic this time around. The past few months have seen some re-sorting of my priorities and I’m all-in for Hebrew next year. Plus 30 minutes of learning a day doesn’t seem too bad; between Assimil and Anki it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve also made a deal with a friend to become learning/accountability buddies. They’re currently learning Japanese, so we’re going to keep each other updated on our goals and our progress.

I’m looking forward to the next year. It’s probably gonna be another weird one, but for language learning it’s going to be great. Happy New Year, everyone!
7 x

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MisterVimes
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Tue Jan 04, 2022 6:16 pm

I am more excited to keep up with this log than I have interesting things to say... so just a quick update this time.

I finished lesson 33 of Assimil today. Today was also my fourth completed day of the 365 Day Challenge. Assimil is getting into the past tense now, which is going to be fun.

I’ve also been doing two premade Anki decks (one small, one much bigger), but I don’t think I’ll continue with them much longer. This week I realized (probably quite late) that Anki is better suited for reviewing words I’ve already encountered than for learning new words. So as soon as I figure out how to create cards, I’ll start my own deck with vocab from Assimil.

Starting next week I’m adding more immersion into my routine. I have a few podcasts lined up and some shows on Netflix. I’ve been inspired by the Refold methodology to spend more time on immersion, but I have to admit I enjoy studying with a book too much to go 100% immersion learning. Going to try to find a happy medium.
4 x

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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Wed Jan 12, 2022 4:45 pm

Finished lesson 39 of Assimil. Still doing Anki flashcards from a premade deck. I wanted to start making my own deck, but I went back to work this Monday and I’m having trouble managing my time. (To be fair that’s not a new problem.)

On top of that I had my booster shot yesterday and have been sick since then, so I almost fell off the bandwagon for the 365 day challenge. Luckily I started watching She-ra in Hebrew, which gives me an easy option to spend 30 minutes with the language. I’m already catching words and simple sentences which makes me happy.

I really hope I can keep up the daily learning. I started the year with time off so it was easy then, but now that I’m back home and back to work I fall right back into my old patterns. I was hoping for some sort of reset, but nothing has changed re: lockdown + working from home + not living near most of my friends and family. The whole becoming jewish thing is also still full of uncertainty, which doesn’t help. Maybe I’m just pessimistic because I feel like crap right now.

Anyway, this is a language log, not a diary. I’m gonna keep trudging along and hopefully make it to Assimil’s active wave before too long.
4 x

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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:16 pm

Yesterday was the first day I didn’t do my 30 minutes of Hebrew. I’m not too fussed about it, since I knew the full 365 days were too much anyway. It caused some necessary rethinking of what I’m doing/why I’m doing it. This week I’ve been feeling pretty crappy (today is a lot better) and I kept ending up doing Hebrew at the last minute while tired and irritated, so not in ideal learning circumstances. I decided it’s better to spend less, but conscious time studying than simply going through the motions and not learning much at all. Of course I’m not giving up daily studying; I’ll just try to make it more effective/satisfying.

I might also be bored and frustrated with Assimil. To combat boredom I’m going to spend more time on podcasts and tv-shows. The frustration comes from the fact that Assimil is going through all the verb tenses too quickly for my taste. I have no idea how exactly different verb types (pe’alim? I’ve been meaning to look this up) form their past and future tense (and present tense, for that matter). Perhaps they will explain this in detail later, but I prefer to have an overview beforehand. So that’s my next step: read up on verb conjugations.

Fun bonus: One of the rabbis I’m talking to invited me to take singing lessons with her. Music is as big a passion of mine as languages, so I’m very much looking forward to it! Kind of ironic, while there’s a discussion going on about the use(ful/less)ness of songs in language learning. I agree the content of songs isn’t always good learning material, but for me music is very effective at keeping my interest and enjoyment alive.
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby AroAro » Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:57 pm

MisterVimes wrote:I might also be bored and frustrated with Assimil. To combat boredom I’m going to spend more time on podcasts and tv-shows. The frustration comes from the fact that Assimil is going through all the verb tenses too quickly for my taste. I have no idea how exactly different verb types (pe’alim? I’ve been meaning to look this up) form their past and future tense (and present tense, for that matter). Perhaps they will explain this in detail later, but I prefer to have an overview beforehand. So that’s my next step: read up on verb conjugations.


Good to know I was not the only one frustrated with this Assimil course! It may be a good resource but probably not for absolute beginners. And no, they don't mention even once "binyanim" (pa'al, pi'el, hif'il and so on) which is rather a central part of Hebrew grammar so it's good you're going to complement Assimil with other resources that will explain to you the conjugations. That's also what I did after completing 50 lessons or so of Assimil. Good luck with your singing lessons!
4 x
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MisterVimes
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Wed Jan 19, 2022 4:22 pm

AroAro wrote:Good to know I was not the only one frustrated with this Assimil course! It may be a good resource but probably not for absolute beginners. And no, they don't mention even once "binyanim" (pa'al, pi'el, hif'il and so on) which is rather a central part of Hebrew grammar so it's good you're going to complement Assimil with other resources that will explain to you the conjugations. That's also what I did after completing 50 lessons or so of Assimil. Good luck with your singing lessons!


Thank you, it's nice to know in advance that I'll have to do my own grammar study to supplement the book. And thanks! :)
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MisterVimes
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Sun Jan 30, 2022 4:22 pm

Well then... the past few weeks haven’t been great in terms of language learning. This was not unexpected, but it’s still frustrating when it happens. Since the holidays I’ve been busy with work and keeping my life in order and my hobbies tend to take a hit. So time/interest allocated to Hebrew has been low.

I’m bored with Assimil, so I haven’t progressed past lesson 41. I did start mining previous lessons for words to put into an Anki deck, but haven’t finished yet.

Instead of Assimil I tried to up my immersion time by watching Netflix and listening to podcasts. I’m not getting a lot of hours in but I’m enjoying my rewatch of She-ra in a different language. For whatever reason I don’t feel up to immersion with live action content, so I’m sticking to cartoons for now. I did some sentence mining with She-ra and realized I understand quite a bit of simple vocab and a lot of simple sentences. That was a nice little boost of confidence.

I’ve also decided to book an iTalki lesson with a professional teacher. I’ve never done an iTalki lesson before but I really miss the interactive component of language learning, even if I can barely say anything. Plus, while I’m technically able to supplement Assimil with my own grammar study, my brain just doesn’t have the space for it currently. So I’d rather have someone explain it to me than look it all up myself.

Oh right, and the main reason I’m frustrated: the 365 Day Challenge hasn’t been going well at all. I knew I would miss a day here and there, but for the past four or five I just... straight-up forgot the challenge existed. So my goal is going to have to be “keep going” and not “attempt to score a lot of points”. Welp, that’s ADHD life.

(Also had my first singing lesson with the rabbi - learned the words to Hava nagila.)
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Sun Feb 13, 2022 11:15 am

Wow, it’s been a while... Time moves a lot faster than I realize.

I don’t have as much to report as I would like, but I have been doing a bit. I had my first iTalki lesson two weeks ago, which was a big step for me. I was nervous to talk but the teacher was very nice and we spoke Hebrew for a little bit. I can’t say much yet, but for a first spoken interaction I was pretty pleased with myself. He also gave me some words to fill up a few gaps in vocabulary that I ran into. Plus he gave homework, which is very helpful; I need an external framework to get anywhere with a language. Tomorrow is my next lesson.

Assimil has gone largely neglected but I’m determined to pick it back up again. I’m not sure if I’ll stick to the recommended structure of Assimil, though. I might take some more time for each lesson and properly mine the dialogues for flashcards. Time to experiment!

Lastly, I’m dropping out of the 365 Day Challenge. What with work, other obligations and lack of sleep, the daily challenge stresses me out more than it motivates me. And if something stresses me out, the barrier to doing it becomes ten times greater. Hence the streak of 8 missed days and counting :))) The challenge has given language learning more weight in my mind (among my many different hobbies and interests), so it hasn’t been for naught. I may not do 30 minutes of Hebrew every day but I’ll do some Hebrew on most days, which is the most workable for my brain.

I’ll be honest, I was on the fence about quitting the challenge until I wrote this... but I already feel more relieved and more excited to get back to learning. So it’s the right choice, I think.
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Re: MisterVimes learns Hebrew

Postby MisterVimes » Sun Mar 27, 2022 12:04 pm

So it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated my log... whoops. I didn’t expect myself to be very regular about it, so I’m counting it as a win that I’ve returned!

I’ve been busy with non-language stuff and I was sick a couple of times in the interim, so not a lot of time was spent on Hebrew. But I’ve regained some enthusiasm so I’m looking forward to diving back into it.

I’m still doing Italki lessons, which are great fun. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it in this log, but I went into Hebrew planning to use the Refold method (immersion learning). Recently I’ve decided that full-on immersion learning isn’t working for me (not enough external structure and not enough of time to spend on it) so I’m letting go of that for now. Instead I’m going to treat podcasts and shows as a nice bonus and focus on lessons. On Italki for now and next school year I’ll sign up for an irl course.

Although I haven’t spent much time on active study, I’m still noticing improvements. I’m recognizing more and more words in podcasts/shows. When reading new words I sometimes get the pronunciation right first try. I think I’m very slowly starting to develop an ‘instinct’ for the sound of Hebrew. This also feels like the start of properly falling in love with the language — something I was missing with most languages I studied in the past. Hebrew just sounds so good?? I’ve found some fun music too, so at this point I’m just vibing with the language. I’ll get some structured study going again soon, though. :)
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