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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ... that to a non-speaker it looks valid upside-down, too! In fact, it looks better, because the horizontal lines at the top of each character look like a baseline.

    I used Menahem Mansoor's Biblical Hebrew Step by Step, which had extensive exercises in the first lesson to help you learn to distinguish similar characters. Nearly every letter was paired with nearly every other letter, it seemed.

    It's not too bad, once you get the hang of it, though. I'm completely out of practice but can still distinguis

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Hebrew's the only language I know that doesn't use the Latin character set (Latin-1, if we can be computer geeks here). I have had little trouble in my life with this, however, since I've been dealing with it since I was a wee lad. Of course, I knew the block (print) lettering back then, and I remember the problems that came up when learning cursive (written) Hebrew.

      I can imagine that non-speakers (or more to the point, illiterates) of quite a few scripts could have trouble knowing the correct orientatio
  • I think it's easier to learn Hebrew first. Learning Yiddish first is like learning calculus by skipping algebra altogether.

    Any good introductory text will have a few chapters on learning the alphabet. It's actually reasonably simple to learn the Hebrew alphabet, because it's all phonetic. There are only a few exceptions to the pronunciation in [Sephardic] Hebrew. Also, spelling is very regular and almost algebraic enough to be mechanical in some cases, without losing a sense of poetry. Modern Hebrew

    • I think it's easier to learn Hebrew first. Learning Yiddish first is like learning calculus by skipping algebra altogether.

      But learning Hebrew in order to learn Yiddish sounds really the long way around. I mean, Yiddish borrows a lot of nouns from Hebrew, but I don't see how one would have to know all the scary details of the Hebrew's morphology and syntax, to say nothing of its kooky vowel-marking system.

      • I don't see how one would have to know all the scary details of the Hebrew's morphology and syntax, to say nothing of its kooky vowel-marking system.

        I believe that Yiddish does use Hebrew vowels. It also adds some vowels of its own I think (using Hebrew consonants to mimic the Germanic spelling or something).

        The usage of vowels is so regular in Hebrew that it's possible to ignore (once you know what vowels are typically used where), and the redundancy tends not to be necessary once you've got a firm

        • I believe that Yiddish does use Hebrew vowels

          Not [salon.com] really. [yivoinstitute.org]

          In fact, the only vowel pointing in the system is the squiggle under the alef to distinguish it from a silent (word-initial) alef. YIVO says to use one squiggle to show it's an  /o/ and another to show it's a  /a/, but apparently some people [amazon.com] don't distinguish those vowels at all. (Incidentally, merging those two vowels is actually relatively common in Germanic languages, I think.)

          • Cool. Guess it is simpler than I had thought. It's been a while since I attempted to read Yiddish, and I thought I saw some more vowels than just the kametz and patach under the Aleph. Typically, the letter vav is used as a pseudo-silent letter to produce the vowels "oh" and "oo", but it is really one of the letters that is used for a "v" consonant. Interesting that Yiddish switches this to emphasize the common use. (This explains why written Modern Hebrew (without vowels) uses the double-vov to indica
  • I learned the Hebrew alphabet from a friend a couple of years ago, but I've forgotten most of it. It's the only writing system I've learned other than Latin and its close relatives (Cyrillic and Greek).

    The big problem, especially when dealing with printed text, is knowing which bits of a letter are the important ones that distinguish it from other letters, and that doesn't seem to be covered well often enough. I can imagine someone trying to write a T by painstakingly copying the printed T, complete with