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Ha-Yesod: Fundamentals of Hebrew

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Ha-Yesod: Fundamentals of Hebrew

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Ha-Yesod: Fundamentals of Hebrew
By Luba Uveeler and Norman M. Bronznick
Feldheim Publishers, (1998)
ISBN: 0-87306-214-0

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - December 11, 2009

Starting with the bare basics before moving onto the foundations of Hebrew grammar, Ha-Yesod: Fundamentals of Hebrew is the perfect introductory text for high school, college, and adult learners embarking upon the enthralling study of Modern Hebrew. After an introductory chapter that introduces the Hebrew alphabet and vowels, along with reading practice and writing Hebrew script exercises, the text then moves onto seventy short lessons that provide students with a solid understanding of Hebrew grammar.

Each lesson begins with a short vocabulary list followed by a grammar lesson. The grammar lesson is followed by a 'dialogue' or readings that provide not only reading practice but also offers students the opportunity to practice their conversational skills. Each chapter concludes with a variety of exercises that range from translation and answer the question drills to reading and vocalization drills. Additional exercises are located at the end of the book. Nikud (vowels) are used throughout.

The short chapters break what could be intimidating information into to easy to comprehend segments, and they build effortlessly upon each other - if you are sure that you understand each chapter before proceeding on to the next. I found that this book does a fantastic job of explaining grammatical points that may be unfamiliar to speakers of English, and the step-by-step methodology used throughout the text helps to keep the student from being overwhelmed with too much information at once. The only drawback to this otherwise wonderful study aid is that it does not include any answers. While answers to all the exercises are not necessary, answers to select questions would have been a boon to those studying the book on their own. However, for the diligent student, you should find that as long as you understand the material you are studying, you should have no trouble checking your own work.

Ha-Yesod has been a favorite textbook in many classroom settings for years - and this new edition has been fully revised and expanded. One of the useful features of this text is that it includes verb tables and charts showing the inflections of regular and segolate nouns, as well as the inflections of particles. All in all, a great introductory, grammar based, modern Hebrew textbook.

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