FSI Hebrew Basic Course
What is the FSI Hebrew Basic Course?
This FSI Hebrew course was first published in 1965 and was designed to teach Modern Hebrew as it is spoken by educated native speakers in informal situations. It consists of 40 units, each containing dialogs, drills and exercises. These are accompanied by many hours of audio, making this one of the most comprehensive courses in Modern Hebrew available.
It is primarily a course in the spoken language, so throughout, the Hebrew is transliterated into Roman script. However, it also includes an introduction to the Hebrew alphabet, starting on page 463.
Students are expected to work through this while studying the course, so by the time they reach Unit 10, they are also able to read the Hebrew script that features alongside the transliteration. Later in the course, certain sections are included with no transliteration, so if you are unfamiliar with the Hebrew alphabet, it is essential to learn it as you are studying.
How was FSI Hebrew Basic originally used?
This course was originally designed for US diplomatic staff who were preparing for postings in Israel. They were expected to take six hours of class five days a week, which was supplemented by a further two hours of personal study per day. In class, they spoke only Hebrew, and even outside of lessons, they spoke Hebrew among themselves. This way, after only six months, they were able to attain a high level of proficiency in the language.
How can you use FSI Hebrew Basic?
Although you won’t be able to recreate the perfect study conditions enjoyed by US diplomats, you will still be able to benefit from the wealth of material contained in this course if you know how to adapt it to your needs.
If you are studying with another Hebrew coursebook, you can use these materials to supplement your learning. Specifically, the dialogs, drills, and exercises can be a great aid in developing your fluency and speaking ability. The recordings are also useful for improving your listening and pronunciation skills.
Alternatively, you could use these materials as your primary study resource, supplementing them with any other materials you have access to.
Taking it further
You can only master a language through practice, so once you start this Free Hebrew course, we advise you to take your Hebrew and use it in the real world. Find native Hebrew speakers to talk, and if you can, make speaking Hebrew a part of your daily life. Once you do this, you will find that your ability to speak the language starts to improve rapidly.
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