Hebrew (עִבְרִית ʿIvrit) is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE, in the form of primitive drawings, although "the question of the language used in this inscription remained unanswered, making it impossible to prove whether it was in fact Hebrew or another local language".
Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between the first and fourth centuries CE and survived into the medieval period only as the language of Jewish liturgy and rabbinic literature. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language, and, according to Ethnologue, is now the language of 9 million people worldwide, of whom 7 million are from Israel. The United States has the second largest Hebrew speaking population, with about 221,593 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.
Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of Israel (the other being Arabic), while pre-modern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today. Ancient Hebrew is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in Christian seminaries.
The Torah (the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian exile. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Leshon HaKodesh (לְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ), "The Holy Language", since ancient times.
It is important to note that you should not rely on one resource, but instead use multiple different resources.
|Duolingo||Website, Mobile App||Free, $10/Mo.||Good for beginners. Gamified lesson format includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges covering many fields. Not as polished as some other Duolingo courses.|
|Rosetta Stone||Desktop, Mobile App||$6 - 17/Mo.||5 levels available covering pronunciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing. Can be used as a beginning tool but is generally considered overpriced and ineffective.|
|Memrise||Website, Mobile App||Free, $9/Mo.||Good for beginners. Pre-made and user-generated flashcard decks.|
|Teach Me Hebrew||Website||Free, some paid material||Free Hebrew lessons with native audio, as well as Anki decks, a phrasebook, a word frequency list, and bilingual song lyrics and texts. Extra material is also available for a price.|
|Pimsleur||Audio, Mobile App||$335||3 levels available. Focused on audio and daily conversations. Very expensive; piracy possible and recommended.|
|FSI Course||Website||Free||Courses developed by the United States Foreign Service Institute to train US officers and diplomats in foreign languages, now available for free online. Thanks Uncle Sam!|
- Morfix - Hebrew-English online dictionary.
- Pealim - Hebrew verb conjugations, dictionary and some other stuff
- Easy Hebrew - Youtube series of interviews with people on the street in Hebrew with subtitles.
- Hebrew Pronunciation for English Speakers - Youtube playlist
Books and .PDF files
- The Hobbit (translated by POW jet fighter pilots!)
- Many many books have been translated into Hebrew, look for them.
- A few good examples of originally Hebrew books:
- פרויקט בן-יהודה - many downloadable books, some centuries old, some new.
- About 2000 books from public domain.
- As for poetry, recommended in no particular order:
Israeli-made movies are notoriously shitty. Kalevet at least manages to be hilariously shitty.
- Ktsarim (קצרים) - Is newer and also hilarious. season 1, season 2, season 3 (not full)
- Fauda (פאודה) - an Israeli political thriller television series in Hebrew and Arabic.
- Shtisel (שטיסל) - Israeli drama depicting an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem
- הו-לא - Humor and despair.
- עד כדי קבוע - Science blog.
- לא מדויק - Science and math blog.
- גבריאל בלחסן - Alternative/Prog rock. Was in and out of mental wards until he killed himself in 2013. Despair aplenty.
- Knesiyat Hasekhel (כנסיית השכל) - Alternative rock band, often comprising of a huge-ass orchestra. an israeli Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.
- מרסדס בנד - Popular rock band.
- עמיר לב - Rock/Folk-rock musician. Great fucking guitarist, i mean just listen to this solo holy shit.
- המכשפות - Rock band.
- ג'ירפות - Rock band.
- Rockfour (רוקפור) - Rock band. They've got some medicore english stuff as well, but האיש שראה הכל, העולם המופלא and בחזרה לשבלול are where it's at.
- Hadag Nahash (הדג נחש) - Hip Hop & Rap band, known mostly for its political statements and its usage in protests.
Anime & Cartoons
- 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (הלב "The Heart") was translated and is fully available on Youtube.
- Once Upon a Time... was translated into Hebrew. It's very educational, though old. Available on youtube: Man and Life.
- Yotam Perel Is a cartoonist who produces wonderful shorts in Hebrew. Greats stuff. It even has English subtitles for the noobs!
- Moomin in Hebrew.
- Dragon Ball in Hebrew.
- Find an Israeli or at least someone Jewish, he or she should be able to hook you up as far as Hebrew goes.
- Stop using niqqud as soon as you can.
- Learn the cursive script, it makes handwriting a lot easier. Just pull up an article in printed Hebrew and transcribe in cursive until you've gotten all the letters (and the five final forms) memorized.
- Try to get a good grasp of the weird-ass grammar rules. The infamous בניינים ("Modern Hebrew verb conjugation"), the gendered nouns, and so on. Get a good book; You'll need it.