Thursday, August 16, 2012

Still online... And Ulpan!

Dear readers,

Again I failed you in neglecting to keep this blog updated.  As the Yeshiva is over for the summer, I will deliver this in a series of post over the next several days.  I decided rightly or wrongly that it was better that I actually study and enjoy my free time.

First, let me thank my new dear friend Ruth for allowing me to stay with her for several days after my friend Brent's lease was up.  I arranged to return to the apartment after the arrival of its new tenants, the Averbachs.  Ari is a year behind Jessica in Rabbinical school and took over the apartment from Brent after he left.  I must thank them as well for allowing me to stay with them so soon after arriving in Israel.  I hope I was at least helpful in giving some decent advice.  I have been in Israel for over a month now and pretty much have figured things out.  I must truly be blessed to have people share their homes with me so generously.  Thank you to all.

On to class.  Ulpan is the big reason why I have been unable to maintain the blog.  It requires almost half the time I spend in class reviewing the material afterward to keep up.  Even then, we are covering so much it is just impossible to learn all of it.  My plan is therefore to just absorb as much as possible and work in Los Angeles.  To my fellow coworker Uria, you are being recruited to help me practice.  If my goal is fluency, practice will be constant companion in my life as well as much Israeli TV as I can stream online.  I get the feeling I will be watching many Israeli children shows over the next several months as the vocabulary is closer to my level and they speak slower and give me time to process.

Shall I discuss what we covered this session?  I will start with the minimum of four verbs and 30 other words a day.  Not easy to remember and master every day.  Of course, my favorite is remembering all the annoying nouns that have irregular gender issues.  It is incredibly confusing remembering them all, especially when English is your first language and you don't think about the gender of inanimate objects.  I know historically English actually did have them, but it is does make life simpler.  My review plan just to try and keep up is to review what we cover in class each day and go back and review an older chapter.  I may have mastered the content in that chapter, but I don't want it to slip.  This is only to for the sake of reviewing vocabulary, and not even new grammar.  Now I will discuss grammar.

I will first begin with the conjugation of prepositions.  The first preposition is (...ל).  I am going to say now I am still slightly confused by it, but I think I have a reasonably good idea of what I am doing with it.  It made more sense as we did the conjugation of (...של).  I am starting to get an idea of using it as a way of doing object pronouns.  Hebrew just combines it with the preposition as well.  I imagine that Hebrew uses conjugated (..את) to refer to an object without a preposition, considering (..את) when not conjugated is used that way.  I invite my readers with superior Hebrew skills to correct me.

Now I will move onto infinitive forms of verbs.  I find the multitude of ways rather confusing at the moment.  The same verb form of course has different ways.  I appreciate that there is much less irregular forms of verbs, at least as compared to the noun gender fun.  I suppose it is just another mountain of practice.  I will work on it.  On the other hand, past tense I find much simpler.  I think it is because once you know the shoresh or root of a verb you can figure it out easily since the endings don't change from verb form to verb form.  Again, please correct me if I am in error.

On another note, Ulpan introduced a new pain in my life, the background headache caused by intense learning.  They are just brutal by around the last hour.  I am not used to this level of study anymore.  Although I admit, I love it.  One thing I will be doing upon my return is a commitment to serious learning.  I forgot how much I actually enjoyed it.  The headaches are a good thing, just like muscle pain as you workout.  The brain is a muscle, use it!  That reminds me, I still have to learn imperative form of verbs and future tense.  HOORAY!  Guess who has much more work to do when he gets back, me!  Again, I need a more than one day a week Ulpan.  I am not going to sit there a drag along forever.  We got almost three quarters of the way through the Aleph level book in 6 weeks.  It is amazing.

I am happy to report though that I found myself increasingly using Hebrew interact with the general Israeli population.  Now of course it is rather bad Hebrew and may sound terrible, but I don't care.  I always believe one should be respectful of someone trying to learn your language and help.  In fact, that was primarily the reaction I received.  For instance, I pretty much ceased pointing at stuff at the Shuk and playing stupid or speaking English and just asked for what I wanted in Hebrew.  Not too shabby.  For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you may have noticed me posting in Hebrew especially to those I know will understand it.  I say, get used to it. I find it very good practice to actually carry out conversation in Hebrew, and it is probably good practice for you as well to read it.  So there.

Allow me to close by saying a few things.  First, props to Nitza!  She is an amazing teacher and to any year students who may be in her Ulpan class, you are in for a treat.  Second, I miss my classmates a lot.  You guys were awesome to study with and made it great, especially Jimmy the Chihuahua!  Yes, you were the class mascot and you were a lot of fun.  Two of my classmates do live in Los Angeles as well, I think it would be rather productive if we met and studied together.  That is just my two cents.  Third, I will find a way to study as intensively as time and available programs allow.  This is one of my priorities in life and I think an important thing for Jewish people to know in general.  So that is Ulpan, later read on and I will discuss my other classes and what I did when I wasn't studying.  I did do other things than study you know.  Honestly.  I promise.  

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