SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Hebrew 2

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year
This module develops oral, aural, writing and reading proficiency in Modern Hebrew, with equal attention to the colloquial and the formal. All aspects of Hebrew grammar and syntax are introduced, some at a basic level, and vocabulary is enriched and enhanced by the introduction of more complicated texts from different sources and on a variety of topics. Students will read newspapers in easy Hebrew and some unedited Hebrew poetry and literary prose. The course level is equivalent to bet level in Israeli academic ulpanim.


Prerequisite: Hebrew 1B or equivalent.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Knowledge and understanding of modern Hebrew grammar and structure.
  • Familiarity with all the Hebrew verb tenses and verb groups, including the passive.
  • An ability to read and understand any modern Hebrew text with the help of a dictionary.
  • A spoken vocabulary of more than 3000 words.
  • An ability to write in Hebrew on various topics, as well as be able to complete forms, answer questions and produce formal letters.


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week. Students will be required to hand in written homework (exercises, written assignment) every lesson.

Scope and syllabus

Oral: Intensive practice is given in complex communicative tasks, such as expressing feelings, suggesting and bargaining, contradicting and defending a point of view. Equal value is given to morphology and syntax, with the emphasis on the colloquial. Teaching is by an interactive approach involving pair-work and role play, live and taped presentations, and intensive live drilling in morphology. Students will also discuss in class short articles on a range of topics relating to Israeli life, including institutions such as the Armed Forces, the kibbutz and university, Israeli history and geography, the Israeli home, Jewish customs and values, and Middle East events -- in anticipation of their third-year programme in Jerusalem. 

Aural: The emphasis is on topic-based live and video listening, with particular use of songs, interviews and narrative. Systematic attention is given to grammatical drills, with equal weight to the colloquial and to formal.

Reading: Together with a linguistically graded, topic-related textbook, other texts will be read in class to maximize intrinsic interest and to develop a working knowledge of more formal language registers and an acquaintance with pre-modern grammar and traditional idioms. This is supplemented by simplified newspapers, and narratives and officialese. The aim is to develop reading for gist as well as for accuracy. Gradual transition is made from simplified to authentic newspaper texts. Students are systematically trained in the use of Hebrew-English dictionaries. 

Writing: A variety of tasks are set, such as formal and informal letter writing, longer essays and descriptions -- with systematic attention to morphology, syntax and distinctions in sociolect and register.

Method of assessment

  • An oral exam (20%)
  • Written examination in May-June, testing reading and writing skills and knowledge of the linguistic background (80%)

Suggested reading

Basic bibliography:
  • Shlomit Chayat, sara Israeli and Hilla Kobliner, Hebrew from Scratch, Part 2. Jerusalem 2001 [textbook] 
  • Lewis Glinert, Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar, Routledge [grammar and workbook] 
  • Liora Weinbach & Edna Laudan, 2000+, Tel Aviv 1989 [illustrated vocabulary lists] Oxford English-Hebrew Learner's Dictionary, Kernerman-Kahn, 1985 
  • Reuven Alcalay, Complete English-Hebrew Hebrew-English Dictionary, 1959/63


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules