Employing Language Typology for Teaching Biblical Hebrew: A Test Case in Cantonese-Chinese

  • Kevin Chau University of the Free State
Keywords: Biblical Hebrew Language, Biblical Hebrew Linguistics


This article follows upon Cynthia Miller-Naudé and Jacobus Naudé’s  “A New Biblical Teaching Grammar for African Bible Translators” (OTE 24/3 [2011]), which presented a paradigm shift for teaching Biblical Hebrew to non-native English speakers. They argued that grammars and instructors can confuse students by presenting Biblical Hebrew through the viewpoint of English (and other Indo-European languages) in which elements of the English grammar may fundamentally differ from the grammars of the students’ native languages. They proposed that such problems can be avoided or mitigated by employing language typology (how languages and components of language are classified according to their formal features). This article utilizes Cantonese-Chinese as a test case for demonstrating how language typology may be specifically applied in the instruction of Biblical Hebrew to students from one particular language. It illustrates how employing language typology addresses the wide range of grammatical concepts in Biblical Hebrew, specifically the points of (non)correspondence between Biblical Hebrew versus Cantonese and English.

Author Biography

Kevin Chau, University of the Free State

Senior Lecturer

Department of Hebrew

University of the Free State


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