The Jewish Eye
Five programs on One DVD-ROM, for Windows and Mac
Reviewed by Simone Bonim - April 11, 2011
Premium Hebrew is a 5 in 1 Hebrew language program from Eurotalk. This course contains five programs that teach you how to speak and understand Modern, spoken Hebrew. This course is not designed to teach you how to read and write Hebrew. Rather it just concentrates on improving your speaking and listening skills by having you listen to, and mimic, native Hebrew speakers via a host of innovative and fun to use programs that will have you quickly and easily conversing in Hebrew. In addition, these programs give you the option of choosing from more than twenty-five different languages. For the purposes of this review, I used English as my 'help' language.
The five programs are contained on a single DVD-ROM, and they include:
Combined, these five programs will provide you with a substantial vocabulary and a great deal of practice in honing your listening comprehension skills, as well as in perfecting you Israeli - Hebrew accent. If you want to use the 'record your voice' feature in these programs, you will need to obtain a microphone that will work with your computer, as one is not included with this disc. Most of these programs give you the option of printing out lists of vocabulary words and certificates if you reach a certain score on the quizzes. All these programs are designed so that they can be used by multiple users, with 'student records' being kept for each user.
- Talk Now! - this is a beginner's program that teaches you basic words and phrases, including numbers, greetings, common foods, terms related to shopping, telling time, and more. This program includes both word and speaking practice modules along with games to reinforce your comprehension skills and to test your knowledge of the material.
- Talk More - Building upon the vocabulary learned in Talk Now!, Talk More continues by focusing on words and phrases that you will need if you visit Israel - in other words, the vocabulary in this program focus on terms that would be of use to a tourist, while also expanding your general vocabulary. To that end there are sections covering topics such as greetings, at the restaurant, shopping, at the hotel, on the phone, emergencies, business terms, and more. The exercises include phrases and short dialogs where you get to see and hear the word in Hebrew and in Hebrew transliteration. This program also gives you the opportunity to record your voice and to compare it to native speakers.
- Talk the Talk continues to increase your vocabulary by venturing into words and phrases that you are likely to encounter in general, social type conversations. The vocabulary in this program is organized into sections covering school, hobbies & friends, traveling, email & computers, at work, sports, and more. As with Talk More, this program provides you with phrases and short dialogs that you can use to practice both your speaking and listening skills. Quizzes are also included to help you test your knowledge of the material covered.
- World Talk Unlike the first three programs which are suitable for beginners, World Talk is a program designed more for intermediate students as it assumes prior knowledge of Hebrew. This program includes ten different games that you can play alone, as well as a TV styled quiz game that is designed to be played with two players. All these games and quizzes have you listening to a native speaker ask a question or reading a short dialog and in response you need to do things like answer the question or choose the right matching picture. This program includes a section where you can listen to six different stories and use these stories for dictation practice or print out accompanying worksheets (in transliterated Hebrew) and answer questions based upon the story. This program also gives you the opportunity to record and compare your voice to native speakers.
- Vocabulary Builder this last section includes multimedia flash cards that consist of a picture with the Hebrew term for the word printed beneath. You can also hear the word pronounced, as well as record your voice and compare it to the native speaker. This program includes a variety of games - Beat the Clock, Match the Pairs, and Find the Card - that are useful in practicing the words you have learned. Vocabulary in this program runs the gamut from animals such as kangaroos and ants to buildings such as hospitals and cafes. You also get to practice working with plurals, action words (verbs) and similar vocabulary expanding terms. Translations of terms into English (or your chosen helper language) are not provided in this program, therefore, I would have to classify this as an intermediate level program.
I found pronunciation of the native speakers used throughout these programs to be spot on, although in some of the beginner programs they speak a great deal slower than you will find in real life. However, in the World Talk program, the speakers use a more natural cadence, and you have the option of slowing them down, or speeding up their voices, to match your comfort level and to give you the opportunity to gradually learn to understand native Hebrew speakers speaking at rapid speed used in ordinary conversations!
The Premium Hebrew program is a wonderful product for anyone wanting to learn to speak or understand spoken Hebrew. It is useful for both total beginners as well as more advanced students wishing to increase their vocabulary and listening skills. You do not need to know how to read or write Hebrew to use this program as these skills are not taught in this program. However, I think that having a basic understanding of the Hebrew alphabet and its sounds will be of an advantage. In the Talk More program there is a segment that will provide you with a very basic introduction to the Hebrew alphabet. For a more comprehension introduction (but something suitable for both children and adults), I recommend that you take a look at: Akhlah's Learn the Aleph-Bet.
I enjoyed using the Premium Hebrew programs, and I found these programs to be suitable for use by both children and adults alike, although some age groups will like some of the games better than others. Overall, there is plenty of fun to be had in these programs for students of any age, and this is a fun and somewhat addictive means of increasing your modern Hebrew vocabulary and in getting extra practice honing your listening skills. If you are studying Hebrew on your own, without the aid of a native speaking teacher, you'll want to be sure to use this, or a similar program, to practice your listening skills and to refine your accent. I recommend this program to anyone wanting to practice their Hebrew listening and speaking skills, and who want to expand their Hebrew vocabulary!
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- Ulpan Arcade
Add more than l,000 words to your Hebrew vocabulary with ten different games that test your knowledge of the material covered in this engaging computer program.
- Ivrit Alfon, By Lois Rothblum, Bella Bergman, and Ora Band
Hebrew: A Language Course - Primer, this book offers the student a firm grounding in the Hebrew alphabet, the vowels, and, according to the book's authors, it will teach you to "...read and write Hebrew in six weeks or less."
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