The emphasis is on speech throughout the FSI Hebrew Course, and as such an indispensable component is the voice of an instructor whose native language is Hebrew. The student should not attempt to use these materials without either a native instructor or recordings of a native instructor's voice. The method of instruction incorporates guided imitation, repetition, memorization, pattern practice, and conversation.
The instructor performs the following functions:
(a) He serves as a model for imitation and a source for elicitation of material. In this his ability to repeat without change and his endless patience are most important.
(b) He corrects mistakes of all kinds: pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Tape recordings are an extremely useful tool, but they cannot correct the student.
(c) He drills the student. He conducts, and may himself devise, drills and exercises designed to fix new language patterns in the habits of the learner.
(d) He converses with the student. He acts out prepared conversations with the student. It is here that his intelligence, imagination, and skill are most important.
It is to be noted that explanation is not listed as a normal function of the instructor. In general, explanation of the language is held to a minimum. Using the language and talking about it are different things.
The native speaker has under his control the vast array of possible sentences of the language, knows when to use them, and recognizes and responds to them when used by others. in this sense only the native speaker really knows the language. For this reason he is the most satisfactory model, corrector, and conversation partner.
However, the native speaker is to a great extent unaware of the structural patterns of his language because he learned them at an early age and has not thought much about them. The educated man is overtly familiar only with those patterns of grammar, style, and pronunciation which are emphasized in his education. These are usually only a small fraction of the total structure of the language, and by no means the most important for the English-speaking student. The native speaker's explanations about his language may be satisfactory, or correct but inadequate, or even completely false or misleading. For these reasons the student should not rely on the native speaker as an explainer. Normally, the course is conducted under the supervision of a scientific linguist who provides whatever explanations are necessary.
Hebrew is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Hebrew Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. 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 is spoken in: Israel
Hebrew is also called: Ivrit