Posts Tagged ‘Intimate Grammar’

Intimate Grammar – Israeli film, and the Hebrew Language Benefits Thereof!

What could be more fitting for an Ulpan-Or blog post than one about grammar? That is to say, not your every day, humdrum, tedious, is it a present participle in the pi’el structure (ask a friendly Ulpan-Or instructor about that) kind of grammar but a warmer, more personal kind. Intimate, one might even say. Yes, Intimate Grammar, an adjective not commonly associated with the rules, regulations, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of language but nonetheless a concept worthy of examination.Because Intimate Grammar (הפנימי הדקדוק Ha’dikduk Ha’pnimi) is the name of the Israeli film that won the prestigious Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix in October this year, the top prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival. The movie, based on a novel by award winning Israeli author David Grossman, follows 11-year old Aaron Kleinfeld, a boy growing up in Jerusalem in the 1960s whose classmates all hit puberty while his own body stubbornly refuses to mature. The film tracks Aaron and his family in pre-Six Day War Israel through three years of their lives, illuminating the societal frameworks and systems that were Israel forty years ago. The “grammatical” aspect of the story is perhaps the identification and exploration of those societal structures that mold and regulate the lives of the protagonists, just as grammar provides the necessary structure for language.Now, to segue over to some Ulpan-Or Hebrew content briefly, grammar (דקדוק – dikduk) in general can often be a stumbling block to acquiring a new language, as learning the rules can be, to put it mildly, rather yawn-inducing, whilst still being an important component of grasping a foreign tongue (figuratively speaking).The Rapid Language Acquisition method which Ulpan-Or uses to teach Hebrew is, as might be deduced from the name, aimed at acquiring the language through instinctual, natural communication, which is more similar to the way a child learns to speak than to the dry, by-wrote, traditional class-room teaching methods. This is the secret of Ulpan-Or’s success and the reason why students who learn Hebrew with us develop their language skills so much quicker than at other schools.Back to our Israeli film theme, Israeli cinema in recent years has really come of age, with a number of movies winning prestigious film awards and a couple even being nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. A couple of those recent classics include Or (My Treasure) which won five awards at the Cannes Film Festival; Waltz with Bashir, nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars, which is a fantastically somber, ghostly and eerie retrospective of a veteran IDF soldier’s experiences from the war in Lebanon in the early ‘80s; and one of my personal favorites, Mivtza Grandma (Operation Grandma).The movie is a hysterically funny slapstick Israeli comedy about three brothers who have to bury their grandmother on the day that one of the brothers, an army officer nick-named “Krembo” (a nickname referring to the chocolaty pinnacle of Israeli cuisine), has to take part in a military exercise in order to ensure his promotion. This film didn’t win any awards but has become an Israeli cult classic.If you can get a hold of it then definitely check it out. Watching films and television in Hebrew with subtitles, even in Hebrew, is a great way of learning the language and Mivtza Grandma is a riot! As Krembo barks in his signature sign off, “We Clear!?!?!”


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