If You’re Happy and You Know It (biblical Hebrew songs, cont’d)

So, mostly what I’ve been doing is supporting my faculty colleagues in their transition from Blackboard to our new Moodle learning management system.

But, partly what I’ve been doing is continuing with the biblical Hebrew resources in my series, “A Foundation for Biblical Hebrew,” a series that uses communicative learning tools as a supplement to an elementary biblical Hebrew curriculum.

This is, “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Some points I had to work through, and on which I welcome feedback:

  • I decided that being happy and knowing it was best expressed with perfect verbs joined by we-gam.
  • I decided to use the masculine plural pronoun suffixes; sorry, but there’s just no room in the song for a more up-to-date solution to the problem of gender inclusivity. In English, I usually use the feminine singular as the “representative human” (“each student must see to her own work”).
  • “Let your lives show it”: going with the jussive here, naturally, verb-subject.
  • For the commands, I abandon personal pronouns: “clap a palm”; “stomp a foot”; etc. Again, only so much room in the scansion. This—leaving pronominal suffixes off of body parts where they are the objects of verbs—accords well enough with biblical usage (Psa 47:1; cf. Isa 37:22; but Ezek 6:11).
  • Main learning points: body parts, the masculine plural imperative, the masculine plural pronominal suffixes -tem and -kem; the conditional particle ʾim.

Feedback encourages, as always.

[If You’re Happy and You Know It (biblical Hebrew songs, cont’d) was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/09/12. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

VOST2011: The Visions of Students Today

What do students in Higher Education see today? What do they “see” in the sense of, “What are their visions?” And, what do they literally see from the place in which they are expected to learn?

This is the question posed by Michael Wesch, professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. Wesch is well known for his work so far in gathering and analyzing the experiences and voices of higher-ed students in an internet age.

Watch some of the YouTube videos tagged VOST2011. For an educator in Higher Ed, the videos are rather hypnotic, occasionally disturbing, and often illuminating. Take the following as an example:

More upbeat, but not less analytical or thought-provoking, is this piece from a student at University of the Philippines:

In the professorial circles in which I run, I am probably among those more likely to identify with the students of VOST2011: besides being a “distance pedagogies guy” (in progress), I am after all a Gen-Xer, and until a subject matter grabbed me in my Masters work, felt continually disenchanted with and alienated from the structures of education, while still identifying strongly with other students as a peer group. At the same time, however, I am formed by an exceptionally traditional and modernist Ph.D. program, and believe as strongly in “disseminating data” as in facilitating constructivist activities for peer-to-peer learning.

Professors: What do you think of Wesch’s call for submissions, and what do you think of some of the videos? How do they speak, or not speak, to you as educators?

Students: What are your visions today? What do you see from the place where you are expected to learn?

[VOST2011: The Visions of Students Today was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/03/25. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Closed Captioning for User-Generated Video (via ProfHacker)

[Changed title, but not URL, to reflect distinction between subtitles and closed-captioning.]

Yesterday, ProfHacker posted a blog entry about how to produce closed-captioning for your videos using the site Universal Subtitles. As ProfHacker points out, when you have created the subtitles, they exist only at the Universal Subtitles web site; but, you can download the subtitles as a file and upload that file to your video on YouTube. ProfHacker shows the process, step by step.

Embedded below is my first effort at closed captioning. The main glitch is that my videos often already have subtitles of varying kinds, because they are often language-learning videos. And, you cannot (I think) change where the closed-captioning sits: it is always at the bottom of the screen. Now, if your already-existing subtitles are YouTube “annotations,” you can always go into YouTube and move them around. But, if your subtitles were created with the video itself (as in iMovie or whatever), then you would have to actually go back and re-edit the video and upload the revised version (which would have a new URL on YouTube).

The take-away on this for me is that, when I produce subtitles in my videos (that is, subtitles that are not closed-captioning), I will want to keep them at the top or sides of the screen, so that there is room reserved at the bottom for closed-captioning. As you can imagine, the screen “real estate” will really be filling in at that point.

This is my video on how to sing Happy Birthday in Hebrew. In the few places where my subtitles and my closed-captioning collide, I have not tried to fix it (yet). Obviously, you will need to click the “cc” (closed captioning) button at the bottom of the video screen.

What experience do you have with closed captioning, whether needing it or producing it? What issues should I know about as I continue to closed-caption my videos?

[Subtitles for User-Generated Video was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/03/11. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Modern Israeli Music in Hebrew Class

Second-semester Hebrew is always a pleasure to teach. Sure, the students have usually blunted their edge in the 5-6 weeks since fall session. But they get it back quickly, and things quickly assume the character of an advanced-level course. Any attrition has already taken place earlier in the first term, so there’s a “lean and mean” quality to the student population. And while there are enough new syntactical concepts coming down the pipe to keep them on their toes, morphology has somehow become “no big deal”: Oh, so that’s how we do the Niphal? And guttural still do their thing, and III-still gets bumped of by a suffix? Nûn still assimilating? ’Kay, whatevs.

For the first time, I’m helping the students work through a piece of modern Israeli Hebrew rock music: Rona Kenan, ’לחיות נחון.’ (First semester we spent time on some common prayers and the Torah blessings from the Sabbath liturgy.) We began this week, and I was happy to see that the students were enjoying it.

I had distributed this to them a week or two before, inviting them to give it a listen and to jot down anything they thought they recognized. Here’s Rona Kenan:

Between them, students teased out a lot more than I thought they might. They had already noted:

  • Lots of זה and לא
  • Lots of forms beginning with ל (not having yet learned the infinitive, but correctly equating it with some infinitive forms that I had used informally in earlier sessions)
  • Words and roots like טוב, אהב, אכל, מאוד.
  • Phrases like מִכֹּל, אני רוֹצָה, ביום, בלילה.

Together this week, we took time to work completely through to the 0:21 marker:

 

זה חשוב לאהוב

ולמדוד את הטוב מזמן לזמן

לא לבקש מה שאי אפשר לקבל

One of the students had earlier gotten turned onto some other pieces (like Shrek and a little Les Mis), and she shared these links with her colleagues.

So, thanks, Rona! The students got a heads-up on the infinitive, and we all got a timely mid-winter change of pace.

How are your classes this term? Are you doing anything to mix it up a little this February?

[Modern Israeli Music in Hebrew Class was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/02/18. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Biblical Hebrew Aleph-Bet Series: Complete!

I will certainly re-draft the series at some point in the future, probably after using it once in Fall 2011. But as a first draft, the entire series is now complete. The seven-part series comes to a total of about eighty (80) minutes. At the series’ end, the student not only will have discovered, through reading, the Aleph-bet and vowels, but will already be reading Hebrew with a considerable degree of fluency.

In the series, the entire Biblical Hebrew Aleph-Bet, with vowels, has been taught strictly through use: the student learns by reading and speaking real Hebrew words from the beginning. Hebrew characters have been taught in “clumps” organized phonetically: gutturals, labials, sibilants, and so on. Along the way, the learner also begins to use “weak” and “strong” dagesh, and the shewa.

This final video unveils the system of matres lectionis, and also—finally—the names of the already-learned vowels and consonants.

The Aleph-Bet series is part of a larger series, which I call “A Foundation for Biblical Hebrew.” The other items in this larger series will be two: one is a series of videos that teach communicative domains (greetings, talking about weather and seasons, classroom coping phrases, colors, numerals, describing things, adverbs of time, dining out, and so on). The other will be a series that includes some 400 pictures depicting biblical Hebrew nouns, adjectives, and verbs. The point is to establish a strong foundation for communicative learning of Biblical Hebrew.

As always, I welcome feedback. Especially, if you are able to put the videos in front of learners who do not already know the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, or who learned it a zillion years ago and have forgotten, I would love to hear about their experience with the video series.

[Biblical Hebrew Aleph-Bet Series: Complete! was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/02/09. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Aleph-Bet Learning Video 6: י, ל, נ, ר

The remaining letters of the Biblical Hebrew aleph-bet are covered in this sixth learning video. By this time, the learner is quite familiar with

  • vowels and consonants
  • composite shewa with gutturals
  • simple shewa, including “vocal shewa
  • final forms
  • “begadkepat” letters

The learner is also reading a great many Hebrew words with a considerable degree of fluency.

At this point—the moment the entire series means to prepare—the learner is ready to learn an “Aleph-Bet song” and actually understand what she is learning.

A seventh, final video will introduce the system of matres lectionis, and will also teach an Aleph-Bet song.

[Aleph-Bet Learning Video 6: י, ל, נ, ר was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/02/01. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Fifth Aleph-Bet Learning Video: ז, ס, צ, שׂ, שׁ

The fifth Biblical Hebrew learning video is available. Beside the sibilants, it introduces the “strong” (or doubling) dagesh.

The sixth video will finish the aleph-bet with י, ל, נ, ר. It will also include the simple shewa (the first video, on the guttural consonants, covered vocal shewa). A follow-up seventh video will explain matres lectionis, and also teach the ordering of the Hebrew consonants with song.

[Fifth Aleph-Bet Learning Video: ז, ס, צ, שׂ, שׁ was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/01/31. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]