Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Graduate Course Completed

Norah hanging out in her box.

Six years ago I graduated from college and said I would take a year off, earn some money, and go back to school. Yesterday, I finished my first graduate course, so you can imagine I feel pretty excited right now.

It was a class in Biblical Hebrew, and it's hard to believe that just three weeks ago I was working very hard to remember which Hebrew letters made which sounds, and now I'm able to read some simple Hebrew sentences. Here's my favorite sentence from the class exercises:

יֵשׁ ק֗ול מִלְכָמָה בּרוּהַ - (Yesh qol milkhamah beruakh.) Which means "The thunder of war is in the wind." I just thought it was a poetic sounding sentence, and our teacher seemed to like it as well. When I finished translating it the first time I actually looked at the paper in my mom and dad's office and said "Cool!" I'm just amazed that I've gone from not knowing anything about the language at all to being able to read simple sentences. It's really rather remarkable.

I think the most amazing thing is just how much information the human mind is able to hold. In these three weeks, I memorized just over 200 vocab words, and each word had at least two, (some has six) different possible spellings. Tack on the possible pronominal suffixes etc... and the amount of variance you can expect when seeing a hebrew word is remarkable. A three letter word might end up being a two letter word in a sentence, or it might be a seven letter word with a prepositional prefix and a pluaral suffix... it's crazy.

Anyway, we took the final yesterday and I think I did okay. I'm not sure I did as well on the final as I've been doing on the quizzes, but I feel confident that I got at least an 80 on the final. Hopefully I did better than that. We'll see.

That's it for now really. I'm home with Norah this week, and I'm reading a book for my next class (An Intro to the Hebrew Bible) and I'm trying to visit as many of the museums as I can. A friend from school has some paper explaining when each museum is free, and we're going to try to hit as many free ones as we can. Yesterday we went to the Planetarium, and today we go to the Field Musuem. I'm hoping to jump on one of the dinosaur skeletons and ride it like a pony.


Nora S. said...

Way to go Joshua!!!! Keep up the good work...I bet you did better than a 80 on the final!! Miss you guys...but I love reading the blog and keeping updated. Hug and Kiss Norah for me.

Tim & Deane said...

Reading Hebrew is phenomenal. Feeling the accomplishment and joy of learning is fantastic. Riding a dinosaur is baaaaadddd.

Do not ride the dinosaur.

Tim & Deane said...

I've been practicing the word Philology, and wondering when I will ever again need to know what it means.


Joshua said...

@ Nora: Hey we miss you guys too. I've talked to Muff a few times, and it seems like things are going pretty well from his perspective. Hopefully the changes aren't driving you crazy.

@ Mom: You may need to know Philology because there's a good chance the word will appear on this blog a bunch more times. I'll be doing a lot of philological study during my time at U of C. Oh, and I did get to ride that Dinosaur. Her name is Sue. No kidding.