Hebrew Grammar Question

My familiarity with introductory  Hebrew grammars is rather lacking, so I’m interested in some comments.

My wife is beginning first year Hebrew this next week and she’ll be using: Biblical Hebrew, Second Ed. (Yale Language Series) by Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Victoria Hoffer, & Rebecca Abts Wright.

Does anyone have any experience with this grammar and have any thoughts on it?

There are a variety of people I’d be interested in hearing from (John Hobbins being one of them; I also know that Mandy uses Kittel for teaching, so I’m curious about her thoughts).


11 thoughts on “Hebrew Grammar Question

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  1. I would download Cook and Holmstedt’s grammar from Holmstedt’s U of Toronto homepage as a backup to the Yale volume.

    But really, learning a language doesn’t have all that much to do with the grammar book one uses, unless one plans to filter one’s knowledge of the language to be acquired through the categories of the grammar book forever.

    At some point, it’s important to just listen /read / speak a language, all tools set aside. It’s a living thing after all. I hope that doesn’t sound too mystical.

        1. Rob, uhm, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a person only gets to choose the textbooks for classes they themselves are teaching.

          …and I’m not teaching my wife’s Hebrew class.

  2. Good question, glad you asked. “Biblical Hebrew” by Kittel, Hoffer & Wright is an excellent introductory grammar, and takes a different approach to a lot of other Hebrew grammars out there. Most traditional grammars take a methodical systematic approach to the grammar, building it up slowly, first the alphabet, then nouns, then masculine/fem, then singular & plural, and so on. By contrast, “Biblical Hebrew” by Kittel et al, takes an “intuitive” approach. They take real Hebrew sentences from the Hebrew Bible, starting with simple ones, analysing them, then systematically more complex ones, and so on. They are heavily into verbs from the beginning, while most grammars leave verbs til much later. You are let through the language at a much more intuitive level, trying to understand the Hebrew language from the inside out, rather than from the outside in, you might say.
    Some people love this approach. Others will prefer the other academic approach to learning Hebrew. I have read all types of grammar, and “Biblical Hebrew” is very good. You feel like you are making progress with real Hebrew faster than other grammars.

  3. Mike,
    I would agree with Mandy (for the most part). Both Mandy and Calvin turned me onto this grammar, and I personally love it! I will also be teaching a Hebrew class in the fall, and this is the grammar that my students will be using.

    I don’t think there is a perfect grammar for anyone, but if your wife likes learning languages w/a classic pedagogy, then she may not love this grammar. It is not classically systematic in its treatment of grammar, but that is why I personally love it.

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