on 10 November 2015
I know people look at the most critical reviews before they buy (I do it) but I cannot give this book few stars so that my review can be read. It would be not fair for the author nor for the publisher.
This book teaches how to write Aramaic (as a category of languages not a single one) and it does it very well.
It teaches the aleph bet of the different Aramaic scripts (Aramaic here also covers Modern Hebrew). It does not teach grammar, vocabulary, and definitely you should not rely on what is taught for pronunciation. I found the usage and choice of words quite funny. Where did you get these words from? Some of them are neither on Google Translate nor in limited oxford can dictionaries nor even Forvo tell how they are pronounced! Not covering pronunciation fully in a book without audio support is the only mistake that the author did. It is understandable I mean it is a small book. Either talk about pronunciation of letters and words fully for all the scripts – which would be awesome – or don’t talk about it at all. He talked about pronunciation sometime basing on one pronunciation tradition - It seems the author is more Mizrahi/Yemenite near old Hebrew pronunciation than that used by majority of speakers of Modern Hebrew (Ashkenazim/ Spanish Sephardic etc...). I find the exercises about transliteration not helpful at all.
No one really knows unfortunately and sadly how the Original Hebrew is pronounced. Modern Hebrew has even different pronunciation systems (Mizrahi/ Sephardic/ Ashkenazi/ Yemenite etc...). I bought the book not to learn how to write the Hebrew script (Modern Hebrew Square Script and cursive writing) but I wanted to learn more on the Estrangela Cursive Script (used by Syrian Orthodox church) actually it called Syriac Aramaic, the Phoenician script (the author called early Aramaic?) and others.
I could not give less than 4 stars because it is good book for learning how to write the letters, words and small phrases. The book achieves what the author claims so it deserves 4 stars. I found venturing into pronunciation of the scripts a mistake like sailing in ocean waters.