When first deciding that you want to learn the Hebrew language, it can be quite intimidating. Firstly, the alphabet is all its own, read from right to left, and it does not appear familiar or similar to other world languages. While there are many things which are seemingly obstacles to easily picking up the Hebrew language, and many things which might appear much more difficult in Hebrew than in other languages, there are actually a number of characteristics of the Hebrew language that make it more accessible and easier to get the hang of than other languages. One of the most basic such characteristics is the existence of word roots in the Hebrew language.
In Hebrew, virtually every word is composed of its root, a set of letters (usually three, although sometimes two or four), which is the base of the word. Virtually all variations of that word, as well as other related words and concepts are based on that root. To take one basic example, we can look at the word “lilmod”, meaning “to learn”. The root of the word is L-M-D (Lamed-Mem-Dalet). From this root, we not only derive all the forms of “to learn” (i.e.: “he learns”, “she learns”, etc.), but we also come to the word “lelamed”, meaning “to teach”, as well as “limudim”, meaning “studies”, and many others.
In English, many words share common letters or change meaning by adding a prefix or suffix; however, there is no such thing as a “root”. In Hebrew, the root is the key to improving your understanding of the language. By learning just one root and using the rules that apply to roots in general (placing specific letters in specific places around the root letters, for example), you can easily expand your vocabulary by dozens of new words! This “trick” of focusing on the roots in the Hebrew language can be very valuable to both teachers and students alike, as it enables them to increase efficiency as they teach or learn the Hebrew language.