Monday, 25 January 2016

New Project: Aramaic Absorption

The Hebrew Immersion Study Course project has completed.I succesfully studied the 5 Books of Moses all the way through four times (once with commantary from Nachmanides and three times with commentary from Rashi). However, studying the remaining books of Prophets and Writings stalled after the Book of Joshua.

Now that I am familiar with the five Books of Moses (and some commentaries), the next project I will pursue is to study it again - but this time with Aramaic translation by Onkelus. This is not a new idea - lots of people do it on a daily basis and the common name for this course of study is: shnayim mikra v’echad targum (two readings of scripture and one of commentary).

The Hebrew Immersion course was really good for improving my ability to read and translate Hebrew. I have another project in progress to augment that and plan to do a massive ramp-up for this programme later in the year. For now, I shall be concentrating on absorbing Aramaic on a daily basis until I have some level of fluency.

Scope: Read five Books of Moses with Aramaic commentary,
Time: 1 year deadline
Cost: Sunk cost of books purchased for Hebrew Immersion project already paid.
Quality: To be specified, see discussion on difficulty in measuring language proficiency above
Communication: End of year summary.
1. Daily study is very time-consuming,  (Yes!)
2. Study fatigue may kick-in (Curiously no... it has become a Habit, I could almost say I have a craving for it)
3. Language skills may not improve significantly
Issues: 1. Difficult to measure proficiency of language.
Stretch Goal: Read the remaining books of the Prophets and Writings up to and including Book of Daniel.

Note: a number of authors (for example Rabbi Moshe Cordovero) who write about topics of Kabbalah in Hebew make use of aramaic phrases. Until now I have skipped over these and hence lost some of the understanding of the topic that they are discussing. This project will hopefully minimize this avoidance this in future.