SOAS University of London

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

Modern Hebrew Language: Elementary

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

An introductory course for complete beginners. Following an initial focus on modern Hebrew writing and reading skills, all components of the language are taught together: vocabulary, grammar, syntax and expressions. The aim is to achieve a good level of proficiency in basic modern Hebrew, with an active vocabulary of about 1500 words. The course touches on important grammatical and syntactic structures in the language, such as the Hebrew verb structure, and nominal sentences. In the course students are exposed to modern Hebrew in various contexts and media – from basic dialogues, to edited newspaper articles, songs, radio and film. Through the medium of Hebrew, students will also learn about Israeli culture and customs.



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to: 

  • Read fluently a text in Hebrew in both print and script, without vocalisation.
  • Write with ease using the modern Hebrew script.
  • Understand basic grammatical structures in Hebrew.
  • Be familiar with the Hebrew verb system, and be able to use it in the present and past tenses and using infinitives.
  • Form correct sentences in Hebrew with an active vocabulary of about 1500 words.
  • Speak, read or write in Hebrew on a variety of topics, from everyday life to current events, history or culture.


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 5 hours classroom contact per week in language classes.  

Scope and syllabus

This is the first language unit for students working towards academic proficiency in modern Hebrew by their fourth year. The textbook and programme is compatible with the Hebrew instruction at the Rothberg International School where the students spend their Year Abroad, furthering their Hebrew instruction.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (80%); an oral examination of 10-15 minutes taken in May/June (10%); class participation, active learning and regular submission of homework (10%).

Suggested reading

Textbook (to be purchased by the students):

  • S. Chayat, S. Israeli and H. Kobliner, Hebrew from scratch, part 1 (Jerusalem: Akademon, 2000).
Additional and optional material
  • Hebrew from Scratch CDs (Akademon, 2000), complete set available at SOAS library (MCD240)
  • Lauden and Weinbach, Multi-dictionary: bilingual learner’s dictionary. English-English-Hebrew, Hebrew-English (Tel Aviv, 1995) Ref QN423/692381
  • Freedman-Cohen, Gila and Carmia Shoval, Easing into Modern Hebrew grammar (Jerusalem, 2011) Ref QN418/753394
  • Bolozky, Shmuel, 501 Hebrew verbs (NY, 1996) Ref QN418/750099


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules