Milingua: An Internet-based Model of Hebrew Education
by Moshe Sharon
The maturing of the Internet environment, the emergence of sophisticated site development tools and the diffusion of fast Internet lines, have made it possible to offer online Hebrew learning for a small fraction of the price of a physical class. The Internet has eliminated the need for the distribution of printed learning materials and has made it possible to expand continually the volume of learning materials without the need to update books or CDs. A new word added to the dictionary, a new verb added to conjugation tables, are available instantly to Hebrew learning site subscribers all over the world.
Learning is not limited to class hours: courses, learning materials and audio are available at all times on the Internet. Students subscribe to the site for a small yearly fee and can access any course whenever they want and wherever they happen to be - at home, in the office, abroad. This approach - offering large quantities of highly-developed and up-to-date learning materials made available on the Internet through a low, yearly subscription fee - has proved successful.
Milingua Hebrew learning site includes three courses - Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. It also offers additional learning materials such as easy Hebrew texts, practical sentences, verb conjugation tables, a 5,500-word dictionary and expanded vocabulary lessons.
The vocabulary lessons are unique in that they mostly focus on a root or a concept. Each lesson lists and explains the words derived from the root or words that have something to do with a concept. What makes these lessons interesting is that words derived from the same root may have widely differing meanings even though they have a common basis. For example, the word manof, crane, and the word nof, scenic view, have a common root, nun-vav-pe, which means 'to raise', 'to lift.' Therefore, a view is something that one sees when one rises to a certain height to have a better view of the land, and a crane is a machine for lifting objects to high places.
The Milingua on-line Hebrew course starts from scratch. The Beginner course addresses people who do not have any knowledge of the Hebrew language. The learning materials do not need Hebrew support on the computer.
Milingua students are of all ages and education levels. Many university professors, including teachers at such highly-respected institutions as Oxford, Harvard and Yale, have acquired knowledge of the Hebrew language though Milingua.