here to see sample screens
Great way to grammar By Judy
(June 13) - Dikduk: A Great New Way to Understand
and Learn Hebrew Grammar, a CD-ROM in English and Hebrew, requires
Windows 95 and up and a Pentium 166 Mhz PC or better, for children
age 13 through adults, Rating: *****
Ivrit safa kasha (Hebrew is a difficult language)!
Generations of new immigrants can testify
to that fact, and even native-born children often sweat over
the many rules of gender and the verb forms. Most Sabra teenagers
don't breeze through their Hebrew-language matriculation. The
fact that Hebrew - unlike English - is read phonetically, as
laid down by the letters, is no consolation.
Dikduk is an outstanding program designed
to teach Hebrew grammar to English speakers. In a step-by-step
process, with an attractive, user-friendly interface, painless
tests and entertaining animations as rewards, the disk does exactly
what it claims to do. It's so well done that Diaspora children
younger than 13 - even half that age - could benefit as well.
The disk, which doesn't even have to be installed
on the hard disk to be used, would be an excellent tool for use
in Jewish schools around the world. There are five major lessons
on nouns and adjectives, three on verbs, and many
subtopics in each. The information is comprehensive: parts of
speech and how to use them in sentences, verbs in the past, present
and future tenses, regular and irregular verbs, pronouns, male
and female forms of nouns and verbs, roots and their inflections,
and pronouns and prepositions. Over 50 different short quizzes
and major exams are presented, along with a Hebrew-English dictionary
that lists all the many hundreds of words used in the program
with their parts of speech.
Every lesson has a home page that makes all
the sub-sections easily accessible. Each of these begins with
English-language text on the screen and pleasant narration. The
text is offered in easy-to-read, large type printed in various
colors to help users grasp the main points quickly. The sentences
are presented with eye-catching graphics, zooming in, turning
somersaults and using other effects before they settle down on
the screen, along with clever illustrations; all the women are
modestly dressed and the men wearing kippot, so it can be brought
into the observant household or classroom without fear.
Once you have digested a page, click the
forward arrow at your own pace or go back if you feel you've
missed something. After learning a few rules, a test follows,
and at the end of a lesson you face a major exam. But these are
neither tedious nor something to cause anxiety. The test forms
are highly varied. A list of nouns appears in a grid. The Hebrew
word for "masculine" and "feminine" flash
on and on; you must time yourself to click on the word of the
correct gender when the correct gender description appears. In
other quizzes, you drag the answer to fill a blank or key in
the plural form of a noun or verb by pressing on an on-screen
Translate "this tall man" into
Hebrew by clicking a pop-up menu at the bottom
of the screen to see the alternatives and then click on the correct
choice. If you err, the word turns black, but at the end of the
quiz, you're given a chance to review.
At the end of each lesson is an original
story in Hebrew and English that comes complete with photos and
drawings. The first one was even a bit too true to life: A tourist
visits the Western Wall when worshipers are suddenly told by
police to clear the whole plaza. The bomb squad has been called
in to examine and blow up a bag with a ticking sound. The tourist,
apparently unfamiliar with rules against leaving property unguarded,
finally reaches the inner circle around the bag and announces
that it's his.
"It's an antique clock I brought for
my son!" he says, triumphantly showing the sappers its contents.
All are relieved and go back to their prayers.
Another story is about an Israeli pediatrician
who arrives at his clinic only to find that his computer mouse
is missing. As parents get increasingly impatient, he says he
can't start working until he finds his mouse. A mother searches
the clinic and, triumphantly, finds a mouse trap on one corner
of the floor. "Now you can catch your mouse," says
the computer-challenged mother in an innocent tone as everyone
else laughs. As you roll the cursor of your mouse over highlighted
words, their parts of speech are given on top of the screen.
Having done so well with this disk Davka
should consider producing a disk solely in Hebrew using the same
techniques for helping 11th graders prepare for their matriculation
exam in Hebrew language. It will sell like hot cakes.
here to see sample screens