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Talking Hebrew Word Book

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Talking Hebrew Word Book

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Talking Hebrew Word Book
On CD-ROM for Windows and Mac
From Davka Corporation, (2006)

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - April 3, 2006

Davka's Talking Hebrew Word Book is a fun and innovative interactive program that will help advanced beginners and intermediate students increase their Hebrew vocabularies. This program will also help improve your speech and comprehension of modern Hebrew. This program includes more than 600 words and phrases. There are four main components to this program, which can be run on your computer directly from the CD-ROM, or you can install the entire program onto your computer's hard drive. The two biggest components are: This program also includes a Word-a-Day and a Phrase-a-Day feature that you can install in your computer, and each time you boot-up your computer a different word or phrase will appear. You can only have one of these features installed in your computer at a time. However, it is easy to switch between the Word-a-Day and Phrase-a-Day features.

The Word Book and Phrase Book programs share many similarities, the words and phrases are divided into categories, and you can study a given group of terms or you can view an entire list of the words or phrases in each 'book'. For example, some of the categories that you'll discover in this program are ones devoted to astronomy, home life, medicine, the military, high-tech, politics, and sports. You'll also find some especially fun topics such as the 'creepy crawly' category where you will learn such words a mosquito, lady bug, and scorpion! All of the words and phrases are presented fully vowlized (with nikud), in large type, and each is accompanied by a picture or cartoon that illustrates the word or phrase. In addition the computer will clearly read each word or phrase out loud for you in Israeli accented Hebrew. Once you go through an entire category, you can take multiple choice, timed quizzes to see if you have mastered the material in that category.

What makes this program even more unique is that it not only gives you the option to read and hear the words and phrase, but it also gives you the option of recording yourself pronouncing each word or phrase and then comparing your recording to the native speaker. To make use of this option you will need to have a microphone (a microphone is not provided with the program) that you can use with your computer. The only drawback to this option is that the program does not tell you how well you have pronounced the word, however you can get a fair idea of how you are doing simply by comparing your voice to the program's voice. In addition, you have the option of saving your recording so that you can go back later and hear how much you have improved.

Talking Hebrew Word Book is easy to install and use, and most important, it makes learning fun - for both school age learners as well as adults! The voices of the Hebrew speakers in the program are clear, crisp, and very human - no computer voices here. You also have the option of printing out the words and phrases for further study. Without reserve, I can say that the Talking Hebrew Word Book is an outstanding program that enables users to increase their Hebrew vocabularies while also giving them practice in reading, comprehension, and pronunciation of modern Hebrew. It will surely make a great gift for yourself, or anyone you know who is in the process of learning this ancient and dynamic language!

Note: Complete instructions on how to use this program can be found in the help section of the program, as well as in the insert that you will find inside the CD's box. However, for those that don't like to read instructions, one tidbit that you might want to know in advance is that you can easily switch back and forth between the Phrase Book program and the Word Book program simply by pressing on the title bar at the top of the screen once you have started one of the programs.

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