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Maskilon
Learners Kit for the Study of Hebrew

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Maskilon Box Set
Learners Kit for the Study of Hebrew
By Abraham Solomonick and David Morrison
Gefen Publishing House Ltd., 2003

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 26, 2003

The Maskilon Box Set - Learners Kit for the Study of Hebrew currently consists of three books, In addition to being sold as a boxed set, the above books can be purchased individually. A fourth book, Maskilon IV, will soon be added to this set. Maskilon IV will be an English - Hebrew Learner's Dictionary by Abraham Solomonick and David Morrison. ISBN: 965-229-312-1.

The Maskilon's Learners Kit for the Study of Hebrew is an indispensable study aid for anyone engaged in the study of Modern Hebrew. These books were written specifically for English Speakers learning Hebrew, and they are suitable for students of all ages. All the Maskilon books are hardcovered, and they are small enough to carry easily to class. The books measure approximately 17 x 12 cm, and they vary in thickness from about 2 cm for Maskilon II, which has 257 pages, to about 4 cm for Maskilon III, which has 843 pages. Maskilon I has 787 pages. Don't let the relative small size of these books fool you - these books are loaded with essential information and details that you will find indispensable during your Hebrew studies. These texts also provide information not often found in introductory Hebrew texts, such as common Hebrew idioms and abbreviations. All three books are well laid out, the text is clear and crisp, and most importantly, the nikud (vowels) are easy to discern.

Maskilon I

Maskilon I is an Hebrew-English Dictionary that is based on verb roots. This verb dictionary covers the 1640 verb roots most commonly used in Modern Hebrew, and the text also includes 158 verb conduction tables. The verb roots are listing alphabetically (in Hebrew), and each is associated with an entry that includes the various verb forms and derivations that the root can take, along with definitions of the verb and its derivations - in English. The verb forms are presented with nikud (vowels), and grammatical notations are provided when relevant. If a specific verb form corresponds to one of the conjunction tables presented, a number accompanies the verb form that delineates which conjunction table to consult to see how that particular verb is conjugated. The book concludes with a complete list of all the verb roots found in this book.

Hebrew is, perhaps, unique in that by learning one verb root you are ostensibly learning several words at once. This is because a given verb root is often used throughout a range of verb forms and derivations - and if you know the basic root, and how verbs are conjugated, you will often be able to decipher a word you might not yet know. For example, the base root of the verb 'to write' is used in other related words such as dictate, correspondence, writer, and document. By using the Maskilon I verb dictionary, you will find that when you look up a verb root, your vocabulary will increase as you are exposed to the various derivations and forms that the root can take. In addition, if you consult conjugation tables regularly, you will quickly (and painlessly) learn how the various verbs are conjugated. This is a fantastic aid for those learning Hebrew on their own, and a great tool to reinforce information learned in a classroom setting.

Maskilon II

A basic Hebrew grammar book is essential for anyone studying Hebrew. Not only is a general knowledge of grammar essential for learning to speak and read a language, but it is indispensable when it comes to writing coherently in the language you are studying. Maskilon II is just such a grammar book, offering practical advice and paradigms on Hebrew grammar. An excellent reference book, the Maskilon II - Practical Hebrew Grammar for English Speakers can also serve as a textbook. Throughout the text, you will find numerous exercises that will help you to judge your understanding of the concepts presented. When appropriate, answer keys are given for the exercises.

Maskilon III

The third volume in this series is an Hebrew - English Learner's Dictionary, which also includes lists of Hebrew abbreviations and Hebrew idioms. There are about 20,000 entries in this book, presented alphabetically, in Hebrew with nikud. Each entry is accompanied by an English translation of the word presented. As an added bonus, verbs encountered in this dictionary are accompanied by notations that refer you back to the relevant verb conjunction table in Maskilon I.

Not only is the Maskilon III Hebrew - English dictionary an excellent basic dictionary for 'looking words up', but it also offers students an excellent chance to browse for words they don't already know - and by extension to increase their vocabulary and understanding of the Hebrew Language. The Maskilon III Hebrew-English dictionary is the best student dictionary that I've come across!

In Conclusion

I highly recommend the Maskilon Box Set to anyone studying Hebrew. The verb dictionary (Maskilon I) and the Hebrew - English dictionary (Maskilon III) are suitable for students of any age who can already read English. However, due to the difficulty of some of the concepts presented, the Practical Hebrew Grammar (Maskilon II) book is perhaps most suitable for students at the High School level, or above. Combined, the books in the Maskilon series are aptly subtitled: a Learners Kit for the study of Hebrew. They serve not only as a set of essential student reference books, but because they can also be used as independent study aids for the motivated student. These books can be used by beginning as well as advanced students, and they are 'must haves' for anyone engaged in the study of Modern Hebrew.

To order this series, or for more information, visit the Gefen Publishing website at: wwwisraelbooks.com


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