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Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:19 am
by Henry
I have recently finished the FSI Hebrew course and am thinking about using Assimil to compliment what I've already learned. Has anyone used Assimil Hebrew? Is the older L'Hebreu Sans Peine better than the current course, or is it not worth the hassle to find a copy?

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:02 pm
by Speakeasy
I conducted a quick search of this forum and came up with the following discussion thread which you might find interesting:

Modern Hebrew Questions

One member, Seneca, made direct reference to Assimil Hebrew:
Seneca wrote:I have read the Assimil course is solid, though only 85 lessons. Perhaps that combined with finding a news site with transcripts could keep you busy a while.

There are numerous discussion threads on the HTLAL forum wherein resources for Hebrew are discussed; however, it seems that there were more questions posed concerning Assimil Hebrew than there were answers.

The Amazon.FR Customer Reviews of Assimil Hebrew are very positive.'hebreu&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aassimil+l'hebreu

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:58 pm
by Henry
I looked through the older posts, but I was unable to find any detailed opinions on the older program vs the newer program. I guess that's really what I'm looking for.

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:57 am
by zenmonkey
I don't know about the older one, but am currently using the newer one. I like it, but use it as a complement currently. Ask away.
The older ones are likely less useful unless you get access to the tapes or sound files.

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:39 pm
by PfifltriggPi
One thing I wish to point out with Assimil is that a higher number of lessons equals neither higher quality nor more actual text in the target language. Just because the new Hebrew book only has eighty-five lessons doesn't necessarily make it bad. (Nor does it necessarily make it good, either.)

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:25 pm
by Henry
How far into the course are you?

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:15 am
by Thunter
The course is worth studying it. I already worked through it.

By the way don't wonder about that I say that my current Hebrew is about A2.
It's not because I'm really at that level, but because I didn't have much practise via Skype
and generally prefer to say that my level is low instead of exaggerating.

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Sat May 06, 2017 10:53 pm
by stormj
It really depends on what your purpose is. If you just want to make a successful trip to Israel, English will get you through 95% of situations and if your Hebrew sounds halting most natives will just switch to English on you.

FSI Hebrew is, frankly, out of date. It's not wrong or anything, and if you master it, you'll understand a lot. But Israelis are not formal people.

But if you're interested in liturgical or Biblical Hebrew, ymmv on whether Modern is a waste of time. The difference is roughly the same (and often parallel) to the differences between dialectical Arabic and fusha. Of course if you're in it for that, reads knowledge is all you need and listening/speaking drills are largely superfluous.

Assimil Hebrew, the new one, is a good program. I still think the best bet is to use that as a start and then get a text and a teacher from an Ulpan if you can't attend one.

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:00 am
by geoffw
Just stumbled across this somewhat dated post, but since nobody else offered this answer...

There are some important differences between the two Assimil Hebrew courses. The newer course is indeed much shorter in terms of number of lessons, but also in terms of total text in the lessons. The newer course seems to assume that the writing system is beyond the ability of mere mortals. They take forever to introduce the letters in supplemental pages for the first 21 lessons. (I skipped all of these, as I already knew the alphabet well.) Not only is all Hebrew text given with vowel points, but the Hebrew is also transliterated. This could have been a mere waste of space, but they put the transliteration on the side with the English (likely to save space). This means that it is not really practical to cover up the Hebrew and do active wave translation, because the transliteration is thrown in there on every line. The newer course includes information age vocab, like words for cell phone, internet, and the like.

My verdict on the newer course: very slow starting, which is good for total beginners, but frustrating for those with some background. It ramps up quickly, but doesn't have enough time to get super far. Overall, an excellent introduction that will expose you to a significant amount of authentic Hebrew. I'm contemplating putting white-out over all the transliterations so I can actually do an active wave.

I have read through some of the lessons in the older course, but I have not (yet) taken the time to really work my way through the course. The older course starts immediately with longer and more complicated lessons. A lot of words are not vocalized. The lessons are all much longer in general. No transliteration crammed in with the English.

My early opinion on the older course: This reminds me of the Hindi course. I abandoned that one, because it broke the Assimil formula of lessons small enough to be digestible. When lessons get longer than 1:30, you can't cycle through them 12 times in quick succession, and you don't remember things by the time you cycle back around. I suspect it was pulled from the market because it was impossible for beginners to use. But I also suspect that, for a more advanced Hebrew learner (e.g., after completing the newer course), it would be a good way to continue your studies and learn more in the controlled Assimil environment.

No idea whether either of these is still super helpful after getting through FSI, however. But I guarantee they'll be infinitely more lively! I could never stick with FSI for too long--too dry for me. The recording and print quality for both Assimil courses should be much better than FSI, too.

Re: Assimil Hebrew

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:48 pm
by senorsmile
I have used both the 80's and the new 2010's versions (both in French and then I bought the English version just to look through it).

My verdict is:
Stick with the newer version. Not only does it use newer, useful vocabulary, but the language it teaches you is much more accessible.

Long story:
I started out my Hebrew using the 80's course. I painstakingly put every single lesson into a spreadsheet, extracted relevant vocab and phrases, and imported them into Anki. There were several times where something new was introduced in the exercises, but without vowels. The audio I have is not the best quality, so I couldn't always even guess at how to pronounce things. Sometimes I could figure it out between using, and Sometimes I couldn't.

I eventually realized that many of the things I was learning were either "old fashioned" sounding or simply literary. Between the errors, lack of vowel pointing on many new items and the outdated grammar and vocab, I simply dropped it. I had started the second volume but didn't finish it.

I have gone through the newer version, but by the time I had purchased it, much of what it teaches what already second nature to me. There were a few points of grammar in the review lessons that I didn't actually understand from pure immersion, as well as several vocabulary words that I learned. I do suspect that it's a shorter course in total, although by no means short compared to most language courses.

All in all, the new version is a great starter, but eventually you need to start gathering vocab and phrases from real sources like books, news, tv, movies etc.