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Can Communicative Principles Enhance Classical Language Acquisition?



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.