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Can Communicative Principles Enhance Classical Language Acquisition?

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Abstract

Is it feasible for nonfluent instructors to teach Biblical Hebrew by communicative principles? If it is feasible, will communicative instruction enhance postsecondary learning of a classical language? To begin answering these questions, two consultants representing second language acquisition (SLA) and technology-assisted language learning led 8 Biblical Hebrew instructors and a graduate assistant through a 3-year process involving study of SLA principles, development of Biblical Hebrew classroom manuals, training of teachers, and field-testing of materials with more than 90 students in 7 institutions. More than two-thirds of the students and all instructors found the communicative approach both effective and preferable to grammar-translation and audiolingual methods customarily employed for learning classical languages.

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