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Hebrew (/ˈhiːbruː/; עִבְרִית, Ivrit [ʔivˈʁit] ( listen) or [ʕivˈɾit] ( listen)) is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel, spoken by over 9 million people worldwide.[8][9] Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites
Israelites
and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh.[note 1] The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE.[10] Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.[11][12] Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE, declining since the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt.[2][13][note 2] Aramaic and to a lesser extent Greek were already in use as international languages, especially among elites and immigrants.[15] It survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish
Jewish
liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra- Jewish
Jewish
commerce, and poetry. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language. It became the lingua franca of Palestine's Jews, and subsequently of the State of Israel. According to Ethnologue, in 1998, it was the language of 5 million people worldwide.[16] After Israel, the United States
United States
has the second largest Hebrew-speaking population, with 220,000 fluent speakers,[17] mostly from Israel. Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
is one of the two official languages of the State of Israel
Israel
(the other being Modern Standard Arabic), while premodern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish
Jewish
communities around the world today. The Samaritan dialect is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic
Arabic
is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews
Jews
and students of Judaism
Judaism
and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East
Middle East
and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in Christian seminaries. The Torah
Torah
(the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian captivity. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews
Jews
as Leshon Hakodesh (לשון הקדש), "the Holy Language", since ancient times.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Oldest Hebrew inscriptions 2.2 Classical Hebrew

2.2.1 Biblical Hebrew 2.2.2 Early post-Biblical Hebrew

2.3 Displacement by Aramaic 2.4 Mishnah
Mishnah
and Talmud 2.5 Medieval Hebrew 2.6 Revival 2.7 Modern Hebrew

3 Current status 4 Phonology

4.1 Consonants

5 Hebrew grammar

5.1 Morphology 5.2 Syntax

6 Writing system 7 Liturgical use in Judaism 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 External links

Etymology[edit] The modern English word "Hebrew" is derived from Old French
Old French
Ebrau, via Latin from the Greek Ἑβραῖος (Hebraîos) and Aramaic 'ibrāy: all ultimately derived from Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
Ibri (עברי), one of several names for the Israelite ( Jewish
Jewish
and Samaritan) people. It is traditionally understood to be an adjective based on the name of Abraham's ancestor, Eber, mentioned in Genesis 10:21. The name is believed to be based on the Semitic root ʕ-b-r (עבר) meaning "beyond", "other side", "across";[18] Interpretations of the term "Hebrew" generally render its meaning as roughly "from the other side [of the river/desert]"—i.e., an exonym for the inhabitants of the land of Israel/Judah, perhaps from the perspective of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, or the Transjordan (with the river referenced perhaps the Euphrates, Jordan, or Litani; or maybe the northern Arabian Desert between Babylonia
Babylonia
and Canaan).[19] Compare cognate Assyrian ebru, of identical meaning. [20] One of the earliest references to the language's name as 'Hebrew' is found in the prologue to the Book of Ben Sira,[a] from the 2nd century BCE.[21] The Bible does not use the term 'Hebrew' in reference to the language of the Hebrew people;[22] the ancient Israelites
Israelites
referred to their tongue as "Canaanite language" (שפת כנען), (Isaiah 19:18)—and later Yәhudit (יהודית; meaning literally "Judean/ Jewish
Jewish
language"), when Judah (Yәhuda) became the surviving Hebraic kingdom after the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel
Israel
in the late 8th century BCE (Isa. 36; 2 Kings 18). History[edit] Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. In turn, the Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of languages.[23] According to Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the Kingdoms of Israel
Israel
and Judah during about 1200 to 586 BCE.[24] Scholars debate the degree to which Hebrew was a spoken vernacular in ancient times following the Babylonian exile, when the predominant international language in the region was Old Aramaic. Hebrew was extinct as a colloquial language by Late Antiquity, but it continued to be used as a literary language and as the liturgical language of Judaism, evolving various dialects of literary Medieval Hebrew, until its revival as a spoken language in the late 19th century.[25][26] Oldest Hebrew inscriptions[edit] Further information: Paleo- Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
and Ancient Hebrew writings In July 2008 Israeli archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel discovered a ceramic shard at Khirbet Qeiyafa
Khirbet Qeiyafa
which he claimed may be the earliest Hebrew writing yet discovered, dating around 3000 years ago.[27] Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said that the inscription was "proto-Canaanite" but cautioned that, "The differentiation between the scripts, and between the languages themselves in that period, remains unclear," and suggested that calling the text Hebrew might be going too far.[28] The Gezer calendar
Gezer calendar
also dates back to the 10th century BCE at the beginning of the Monarchic Period, the traditional time of the reign of David
David
and Solomon. Classified as Archaic Biblical Hebrew, the calendar presents a list of seasons and related agricultural activities. The Gezer calendar
Gezer calendar
(named after the city in whose proximity it was found) is written in an old Semitic script, akin to the Phoenician one that through the Greeks and Etruscans later became the Roman script. The Gezer calendar
Gezer calendar
is written without any vowels, and it does not use consonants to imply vowels even in the places where later Hebrew spelling
Hebrew spelling
requires it.

The Shebna Inscription, from the tomb of a royal steward found in Siloam, dates to the 7th century BCE.

Numerous older tablets have been found in the region with similar scripts written in other Semitic languages, for example Protosinaitic. It is believed that the original shapes of the script go back to Egyptian hieroglyphs, though the phonetic values are instead inspired by the acrophonic principle. The common ancestor of Hebrew and Phoenician is called Canaanite, and was the first to use a Semitic alphabet distinct from Egyptian. One ancient document is the famous Moabite Stone
Moabite Stone
written in the Moabite dialect; the Siloam
Siloam
Inscription, found near Jerusalem, is an early example of Hebrew. Less ancient samples of Archaic Hebrew include the ostraca found near Lachish
Lachish
which describe events preceding the final capture of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity
Babylonian captivity
of 586 BCE. Classical Hebrew[edit] Biblical Hebrew[edit] Main article: Biblical Hebrew In its widest sense, Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
means the spoken language of ancient Israel
Israel
flourishing between the 10th century BCE and the turn of the 4th century CE.[29] It comprises several evolving and overlapping dialects. The phases of Classical Hebrew are often named after important literary works associated with them.

Archaic Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
from the 10th to the 6th century BCE, corresponding to the Monarchic Period until the Babylonian Exile and represented by certain texts in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
(Tanakh), notably the Song of Moses (Exodus 15) and the Song of Deborah (Judges 5). Also called Old Hebrew or Paleo-Hebrew. It was written in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. A script descended from this, the Samaritan alphabet, is still used by the Samaritans.

Hebrew script used in writing a Torah
Torah
scroll. Note ornamental "crowns" on tops of certain letters.

Standard Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
around the 8th to 6th centuries BCE, corresponding to the late Monarchic period and the Babylonian Exile. It is represented by the bulk of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
that attains much of its present form around this time. Also called Biblical Hebrew, Early Biblical Hebrew, Classical Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
(or Classical Hebrew in the narrowest sense). Late Biblical Hebrew, from the 5th to the 3rd centuries BCE, that corresponds to the Persian Period and is represented by certain texts in the Hebrew Bible, notably the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Basically similar to Classical Biblical Hebrew, apart from a few foreign words adopted for mainly governmental terms, and some syntactical innovations such as the use of the particle she- (alternative of 'ʾasher' "that, which, who"). It adopted the Imperial Aramaic script (from which the modern Hebrew script descends). Israelian Hebrew
Israelian Hebrew
is a proposed northern dialect of biblical Hebrew, attested in all eras of the language, in some cases competing with late biblical Hebrew as an explanation for non-standard linguistic features of biblical texts.

Early post-Biblical Hebrew[edit]

Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, corresponding to the Hellenistic and Roman Periods before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and represented by the Qumran Scrolls that form most (but not all) of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Commonly abbreviated as DSS Hebrew, also called Qumran
Qumran
Hebrew. The Imperial Aramaic script of the earlier scrolls in the 3rd century BCE evolved into the Hebrew square script
Hebrew square script
of the later scrolls in the 1st century CE, also known as ketav Ashuri (Assyrian script), still in use today. Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
from the 1st to the 3rd or 4th century CE, corresponding to the Roman Period after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and represented by the bulk of the Mishnah
Mishnah
and Tosefta within the Talmud
Talmud
and by the Dead Sea Scrolls, notably the Bar Kokhba letters and the Copper Scroll. Also called Tannaitic Hebrew or Early Rabbinic Hebrew.

Sometimes the above phases of spoken Classical Hebrew are simplified into "Biblical Hebrew" (including several dialects from the 10th century BCE to 2nd century BCE and extant in certain Dead Sea Scrolls) and "Mishnaic Hebrew" (including several dialects from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE and extant in certain other Dead Sea Scrolls).[30] However, today, most Hebrew linguists classify Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew as a set of dialects evolving out of Late Biblical Hebrew and into Mishnaic Hebrew, thus including elements from both but remaining distinct from either.[31] By the start of the Byzantine Period in the 4th century CE, Classical Hebrew ceases as a regularly spoken language, roughly a century after the publication of the Mishnah, apparently declining since the aftermath of the catastrophic Bar Kokhba War around 135 CE. Displacement by Aramaic[edit]

Rashi script

A silver matchbox holder with inscription in Hebrew

See also: Aramaic language Around the 6th century BCE, the Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
conquered the ancient Kingdom of Judah, destroying much of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and exiling its population far to the East in Babylon. During the Babylonian captivity, many Israelites
Israelites
learned Aramaic, the closely related Semitic language of their captors. Thus for a significant period, the Jewish
Jewish
elite became influenced by Aramaic.[32] After Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
conquered Babylon, he allowed the Jewish
Jewish
people to return from captivity. As a result,[improper synthesis?] a local version of Aramaic came to be spoken in Israel
Israel
alongside Hebrew. By the beginning of the Common Era, Aramaic was the primary colloquial language of Samarian, Babylonian and Galileean Jews, and western and intellectual Jews
Jews
spoke Greek,[citation needed] but a form of so-called Rabbinic Hebrew continued to be used as a vernacular in Judea until it was displaced by Aramaic, probably in the 3rd century CE. Certain Sadducee, Pharisee, Scribe, Hermit, Zealot and Priest classes maintained an insistence on Hebrew, and all Jews
Jews
maintained their identity with Hebrew songs and simple quotations from Hebrew texts.[14][33][34] While there is no doubt that at a certain point, Hebrew was displaced as the everyday spoken language of most Jews, and that its chief successor in the Middle East
Middle East
was the closely related Aramaic language, then Greek,[33][note 2] scholarly opinions on the exact dating of that shift have changed very much.[13] In the first half of the 20th century, most scholars followed Geiger and Dalman in thinking that Aramaic became a spoken language in the land of Israel
Israel
as early as the beginning of Israel's Hellenistic Period in the 4th century BCE, and that as a corollary Hebrew ceased to function as a spoken language around the same time. Segal, Klausner, and Ben Yehuda are notable exceptions to this view. During the latter half of the 20th century, accumulating archaeological evidence and especially linguistic analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
has disproven that view. The Dead Sea Scrolls, uncovered in 1946–1948 near Qumran
Qumran
revealed ancient Jewish texts overwhelmingly in Hebrew, not Aramaic. The Qumran
Qumran
scrolls indicate that Hebrew texts were readily understandable to the average Israelite, and that the language had evolved since Biblical times as spoken languages do.[note 3] Recent scholarship recognizes that reports of Jews
Jews
speaking in Aramaic indicates a multilingual society, not necessarily the primary language spoken. Alongside Aramaic, Hebrew co-existed within Israel
Israel
as a spoken language.[36] Most scholars now date the demise of Hebrew as a spoken language to the end of the Roman Period, or about 200 CE.[37] It continued on as a literary language down through the Byzantine Period from the 4th century CE. The exact roles of Aramaic and Hebrew remain hotly debated. A trilingual scenario has been proposed for the land of Israel. Hebrew functioned as the local mother tongue with powerful ties to Israel's history, origins, and golden age and as the language of Israel's religion; Aramaic functioned as the international language with the rest of the Middle East; and eventually Greek functioned as another international language with the eastern areas of the Roman Empire.[citation needed] According to another summary, Greek was the language of government, Hebrew the language of prayer, study and religious texts, and Aramaic was the language of legal contracts and trade.[38] There was also a geographic pattern: according to Spolsky, by the beginning of the Common Era, " Judeo-Aramaic
Judeo-Aramaic
was mainly used in Galilee
Galilee
in the north, Greek was concentrated in the former colonies and around governmental centers, and Hebrew monolingualism continued mainly in the southern villages of Judea."[33] In other words, "in terms of dialect geography, at the time of the tannaim Palestine could be divided into the Aramaic-speaking regions of Galilee
Galilee
and Samaria and a smaller area, Judaea, in which Rabbinic Hebrew was used among the descendants of returning exiles."[14][34] In addition, it has been surmised that Koine Greek
Koine Greek
was the primary vehicle of communication in coastal cities and among the upper class of Jerusalem, while Aramaic was prevalent in the lower class of Jerusalem, but not in the surrounding countryside.[38] After the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in the 2nd century CE, Judaeans were forced to disperse. Many relocated to Galilee, so most remaining native speakers of Hebrew at that last stage would have been found in the north.[39] The Christian New Testament
New Testament
contains some Semitic place names and quotes.[40] The language of such Semitic glosses (and in general the language spoken by Jews
Jews
in scenes from the New Testament) is often referred to as "Hebrew" in the text,[41] although this term is often re-interpreted as referring to Aramaic instead[note 4][note 5] and is rendered accordingly in recent translations.[43] Nonetheless, these glosses can be interpreted as Hebrew as well.[44] It has been argued that Hebrew, rather than Aramaic or Koine Greek, lay behind the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.[45] (See the Hebrew Gospel hypothesis or Language
Language
of Jesus for more details on Hebrew and Aramaic in the gospels.) Mishnah
Mishnah
and Talmud[edit] Main article: Mishnaic Hebrew The term "Mishnaic Hebrew" generally refers to the Hebrew dialects found in the Talmud, excepting quotations from the Hebrew Bible. The dialects organize into Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
(also called Tannaitic Hebrew, Early Rabbinic Hebrew, or Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
I), which was a spoken language, and Amoraic Hebrew (also called Late Rabbinic Hebrew or Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
II), which was a literary language. The earlier section of the Talmud
Talmud
is the Mishnah
Mishnah
that was published around 200 CE, although many of the stories take place much earlier, and was written in the earlier Mishnaic dialect. The dialect is also found in certain Dead Sea Scrolls. Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
is considered to be one of the dialects of Classical Hebrew that functioned as a living language in the land of Israel. A transitional form of the language occurs in the other works of Tannaitic literature dating from the century beginning with the completion of the Mishnah. These include the halachic Midrashim (Sifra, Sifre, Mechilta etc.) and the expanded collection of Mishnah-related material known as the Tosefta. The Talmud
Talmud
contains excerpts from these works, as well as further Tannaitic material not attested elsewhere; the generic term for these passages is Baraitot. The dialect of all these works is very similar to Mishnaic Hebrew. About a century after the publication of the Mishnah, Mishnaic Hebrew fell into disuse as a spoken language. The later section of the Talmud, the Gemara, generally comments on the Mishnah
Mishnah
and Baraitot in two forms of Aramaic. Nevertheless, Hebrew survived as a liturgical and literary language in the form of later Amoraic Hebrew, which sometimes occurs in the text of the Gemara. Because as early as the Torah's transcription the Scribe has been the highest position in Judaism, Hebrew was always regarded as the language of Israel's religion, history and national pride, and after it faded as a spoken language, it continued to be used as a lingua franca among scholars and Jews
Jews
traveling in foreign countries.[46] After the 2nd century CE when the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
exiled most of the Jewish
Jewish
population of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
following the Bar Kokhba revolt, they adapted to the societies in which they found themselves, yet letters, contracts, commerce, science, philosophy, medicine, poetry, and laws continued to be written mostly in Hebrew, which adapted by borrowing and inventing terms. Medieval Hebrew[edit] Main article: Medieval Hebrew

Aleppo Codex: 10th century Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
with Masoretic pointing (Joshua 1:1).

Kochangadi Synagogue in Kochi, India dated to 1344.

After the Talmud, various regional literary dialects of Medieval Hebrew evolved. The most important is Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew
or Masoretic Hebrew, a local dialect of Tiberias
Tiberias
in Galilee
Galilee
that became the standard for vocalizing the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
and thus still influences all other regional dialects of Hebrew. This Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew
from the 7th to 10th century CE is sometimes called "Biblical Hebrew" because it is used to pronounce the Hebrew Bible; however, properly it should be distinguished from the historical Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
of the 6th century BCE, whose original pronunciation must be reconstructed. Tiberian Hebrew incorporates the remarkable scholarship of the Masoretes (from masoret meaning "tradition"), who added vowel points and grammar points to the Hebrew letters to preserve much earlier features of Hebrew, for use in chanting the Hebrew Bible. The Masoretes inherited a biblical text whose letters were considered too sacred to be altered, so their markings were in the form of pointing in and around the letters. The Syriac alphabet, precursor to the Arabic
Arabic
alphabet, also developed vowel pointing systems around this time. The Aleppo Codex, a Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
with the Masoretic pointing, was written in the 10th century, likely in Tiberias, and survives to this day. It is perhaps the most important Hebrew manuscript in existence. During the Golden age of Jewish
Jewish
culture in Spain, important work was done by grammarians in explaining the grammar and vocabulary of Biblical Hebrew; much of this was based on the work of the grammarians of Classical Arabic. Important Hebrew grammarians were Judah ben David Hayyuj, Jonah ibn Janah, Abraham ibn Ezra[47] and later (in Provence) David
David
Kimhi. A great deal of poetry was written, by poets such as Dunash ben Labrat, Solomon
Solomon
ibn Gabirol, Judah ha-Levi, Moses ibn Ezra and Abraham ibn Ezra, in a "purified" Hebrew based on the work of these grammarians, and in Arabic
Arabic
quantitative or strophic meters. This literary Hebrew was later used by Italian Jewish
Jewish
poets.[48] The need to express scientific and philosophical concepts from Classical Greek and Medieval Arabic
Arabic
motivated Medieval Hebrew
Medieval Hebrew
to borrow terminology and grammar from these other languages, or to coin equivalent terms from existing Hebrew roots, giving rise to a distinct style of philosophical Hebrew. This is used in the translations made by the Ibn Tibbon family. (Original Jewish
Jewish
philosophical works were usually written in Arabic.) Another important influence was Maimonides, who developed a simple style based on Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
for use in his law code, the Mishneh Torah. Subsequent rabbinic literature is written in a blend between this style and the Aramaized Rabbinic Hebrew of the Talmud. Hebrew persevered through the ages as the main language for written purposes by all Jewish
Jewish
communities around the world for a large range of uses—not only liturgy, but also poetry, philosophy, science and medicine, commerce, daily correspondence and contracts. There have been many deviations from this generalization such as Bar Kokhba's letters to his lieutenants, which were mostly in Aramaic,[49] and Maimonides' writings, which were mostly in Arabic;[50] but overall, Hebrew did not cease to be used for such purposes. This meant not only that well-educated Jews
Jews
in all parts of the world could correspond in a mutually intelligible language, and that books and legal documents published or written in any part of the world could be read by Jews
Jews
in all other parts, but that an educated Jew could travel and converse with Jews
Jews
in distant places, just as priests and other educated Christians could converse in Latin. For example, Rabbi Avraham Danzig wrote the Chayei Adam in Hebrew, as opposed to Yiddish, as a guide to Halacha for the "average 17-year-old" (Ibid. Introduction 1). Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan's purpose in writing the Mishna Berurah
Mishna Berurah
was to "produce a work that could be studied daily so that Jews
Jews
might know the proper procedures to follow minute by minute". The work was nevertheless written in Talmudic Hebrew and Aramaic, since, "the ordinary Jew [of Eastern Europe] of a century ago, was fluent enough in this idiom to be able to follow the Mishna Berurah
Mishna Berurah
without any trouble."[51] Revival[edit] Main article: Revival of the Hebrew language Hebrew has been revived several times as a literary language, most significantly by the Haskalah
Haskalah
(Enlightenment) movement of early and mid-19th-century Germany. In the early 19th century, a form of spoken Hebrew had emerged in the markets of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
between Jews
Jews
of different linguistic backgrounds to communicate for commercial purposes. This Hebrew dialect was to a certain extent a pidgin.[52] Near the end of that century the Jewish
Jewish
activist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, owing to the ideology of the national revival (שיבת ציון, Shivat Tziyon, later Zionism), began reviving Hebrew as a modern spoken language. Eventually, as a result of the local movement he created, but more significantly as a result of the new groups of immigrants known under the name of the Second Aliyah, it replaced a score of languages spoken by Jews
Jews
at that time. Those languages were Jewish
Jewish
dialects of local languages, including Judaeo-Spanish
Judaeo-Spanish
(also called "Judezmo" and "Ladino"), Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, and Bukhori (Tajiki), or local languages spoken in the Jewish
Jewish
diaspora such as Russian, Persian, and Arabic. The major result of the literary work of the Hebrew intellectuals along the 19th century was a lexical modernization of Hebrew. New words and expressions were adapted as neologisms from the large corpus of Hebrew writings since the Hebrew Bible, or borrowed from Arabic (mainly by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda) and older Aramaic and Latin. Many new words were either borrowed from or coined after European languages, especially English, Russian, German, and French. Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
became an official language in British-ruled Palestine in 1921 (along with English and Arabic), and then in 1948 became an official language of the newly declared State of Israel. Hebrew is the most widely spoken language in Israel
Israel
today. In the Modern Period, from the 19th century onward, the literary Hebrew tradition revived as the spoken language of modern Israel, called variously Israeli Hebrew, Modern Israeli Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, New Hebrew, Israeli Standard Hebrew, Standard Hebrew, and so on. Israeli Hebrew exhibits some features of Sephardic Hebrew from its local Jerusalemite tradition but adapts it with numerous neologisms, borrowed terms (often technical) from European languages and adopted terms (often colloquial) from Arabic.

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda

The literary and narrative use of Hebrew was revived beginning with the Haskalah
Haskalah
movement. The first secular periodical in Hebrew, HaMe'assef (The Gatherer), was published by maskilim in Königsberg (today's Kaliningrad) from 1783 onwards.[53] In the mid-19th century, publications of several Eastern European Hebrew-language newspapers (e.g. Hamagid, founded in Ełk
Ełk
in 1856) multiplied. Prominent poets were Hayim Nahman Bialik
Hayim Nahman Bialik
and Shaul Tchernichovsky; there were also novels written in the language. The revival of the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
as a mother tongue was initiated in the late 19th century by the efforts of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. He joined the Jewish
Jewish
national movement and in 1881 immigrated to Palestine, then a part of the Ottoman Empire. Motivated by the surrounding ideals of renovation and rejection of the diaspora "shtetl" lifestyle, Ben-Yehuda set out to develop tools for making the literary and liturgical language into everyday spoken language. However, his brand of Hebrew followed norms that had been replaced in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
by different grammar and style, in the writings of people like Ahad Ha'am and others. His organizational efforts and involvement with the establishment of schools and the writing of textbooks pushed the vernacularization activity into a gradually accepted movement. It was not, however, until the 1904–1914 Second Aliyah
Second Aliyah
that Hebrew had caught real momentum in Ottoman Palestine with the more highly organized enterprises set forth by the new group of immigrants. When the British Mandate of Palestine
British Mandate of Palestine
recognized Hebrew as one of the country's three official languages (English, Arabic, and Hebrew, in 1922), its new formal status contributed to its diffusion. A constructed modern language with a truly Semitic vocabulary and written appearance, although often European in phonology, was to take its place among the current languages of the nations. While many saw his work as fanciful or even blasphemous[54] (because Hebrew was the holy language of the Torah
Torah
and therefore some thought that it should not be used to discuss everyday matters), many soon understood the need for a common language amongst Jews
Jews
of the British Mandate who at the turn of the 20th century were arriving in large numbers from diverse countries and speaking different languages. A Committee of the Hebrew Language
Language
was established. After the establishment of Israel, it became the Academy of the Hebrew Language. The results of Ben-Yehuda's lexicographical work were published in a dictionary (The Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew). The seeds of Ben-Yehuda's work fell on fertile ground, and by the beginning of the 20th century, Hebrew was well on its way to becoming the main language of the Jewish
Jewish
population of both Ottoman and British Palestine. At the time, members of the Old Yishuv
Yishuv
and a very few Hasidic sects, most notably those under the auspices of Satmar, refused to speak Hebrew and spoke only Yiddish. In the Soviet Union, the use of Hebrew, along with other Jewish cultural and religious activities, was suppressed. Soviet authorities considered the use of Hebrew "reactionary" since it was associated with Zionism, and the teaching of Hebrew at primary and secondary schools was officially banned by the People's Commissariat for Education as early as 1919, as part of an overall agenda aiming to secularize education (the language itself did not cease to be studied at universities for historical and linguistic purposes[55]). The official ordinance stated that Yiddish, being the spoken language of the Russian Jews, should be treated as their only national language, while Hebrew was to be treated as a foreign language.[56] Hebrew books and periodicals ceased to be published and were seized from the libraries, although liturgical texts were still published until the 1930s. Despite numerous protests,[57] a policy of suppression of the teaching of Hebrew operated from the 1930s on. Later in the 1980s in the USSR, Hebrew studies reappeared due to people struggling for permission to go to Israel
Israel
(refuseniks). Several of the teachers were imprisoned, e.g. Yosef Begun, Ephraim Kholmyansky, Yevgeny Korostyshevsky and others responsible for a Hebrew learning network connecting many cities of the USSR. Modern Hebrew[edit] Main article: Modern Hebrew

Hebrew, Arabic
Arabic
and English multilingual signs on an Israeli highway

Dual language Hebrew and English keyboard

Standard Hebrew, as developed by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, was based on Mishnaic spelling and Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation. However, the earliest speakers of Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
had Yiddish
Yiddish
as their native language and often brought into Hebrew idioms and calques from Yiddish. The pronunciation of modern Israeli Hebrew is based mostly on the Sephardic Hebrew pronunciation. However, the language has adapted to Ashkenazi Hebrew phonology in some respects, mainly the following:

the elimination of pharyngeal articulation in the letters chet (ח‬) and ayin ( ע‬) by many speakers. the conversion of (ר‬) /r/ from an alveolar flap [ɾ] to a voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] or uvular trill [ʀ], by most of the speakers, like in most varieties of standard German or Yiddish. see Guttural R the pronunciation (by many speakers) of tzere ֵ ‬ as [eɪ] in some contexts (sifréj and téjša instead of Sephardic sifré and tésha) the partial elimination of vocal Shva
Shva
ְ ‬ (zmán instead of Sephardic zĕman)[58] in popular speech, penultimate stress in proper names (Dvóra instead of Dĕvorá; Yehúda instead of Yĕhudá) and some other words[59] similarly in popular speech, penultimate stress in verb forms with a second person plural suffix (katávtem "you wrote" instead of kĕtavtém).[note 6]

The vocabulary used within the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
has been altered from its original form due to its reintroduction to various cultures throughout the ages. The mouth-to-ear pedagogical method used in transmitting Hebrew to generations of children has undergone Europeanization in each attempt, resulting in the radically unique and unpredictable course that maintains its current form under the classification of Modern Hebrew. This "course that Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
has embarked upon is the sure sign that Hebrew has been reborn."[60] In Israel, Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
is currently taught in institutions called Ulpanim (singular: Ulpan). There are government-owned, as well as private, Ulpanim offering online courses and face-to-face programs. Current status[edit]

Academy of the Hebrew Language

Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
is the primary official language of the State of Israel. As of 2013, there are about 9 million Hebrew speakers worldwide,[61] of whom 7 million speak it fluently.[62][63][64] Currently, 90% of Israeli Jews
Jews
are proficient in Hebrew, and 70% are highly proficient.[65] Some 60% of Israeli Arabs are also proficient in Hebrew,[65] and 30% prefer speaking Hebrew over Arabic.[8] In total, about 53% of the Israeli population speaks Hebrew as a native language,[66] while most of the rest speak it fluently. However, in 2013 Hebrew was the native language of only 49% of Israelis over the age of 20, with Russian, Arabic, French, English, Yiddish
Yiddish
and Ladino being the native tongues of most of the rest. Some 26% of immigrants from the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and 12% of Arabs reported speaking Hebrew poorly or not at all.[65][67] Due to the current climate of globalization and Americanization, steps have been taken to keep Hebrew the primary language of use, and to prevent large-scale incorporation of English words into Hebrew vocabulary. The Academy of the Hebrew Language
Academy of the Hebrew Language
of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
currently invents about 2,000 new Hebrew words each year for modern words by finding an original Hebrew word that captures the meaning, as an alternative to incorporating more English words into Hebrew vocabulary. The Haifa
Haifa
municipality has banned officials from using English words in official documents, and is fighting to stop businesses from using only English signs to market their services.[68] In 2012, a Knesset
Knesset
bill for the preservation of the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
was proposed, which includes the stipulation that all signage in Israel
Israel
must first and foremost be in Hebrew, as with all speeches by Israeli officials abroad. The bill's author, MK Akram Hasson, stated that the bill was proposed as a response to Hebrew "losing its prestige", and children incorporating more English words into their vocabulary.[69] Hebrew is also an official national minority language in Poland, since 6 January 2005.[70] Phonology[edit]

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode
Unicode
characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Further information: Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
§ Phonology, and Modern Hebrew phonology Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
had a typical Semitic consonant inventory, with pharyngeal /ʕ ħ/, a series of "emphatic" consonants (possibly ejective, but this is debated), lateral fricative /ɬ/, and in its older stages also uvular /χ ʁ/. /χ ʁ/ merged into /ħ ʕ/ in later Biblical Hebrew, and /b ɡ d k p t/ underwent allophonic spirantization to [v ɣ ð x f θ] (known as begadkefat). The earliest Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
vowel system contained the Proto-Semitic vowels /a aː i iː u uː/ as well as /oː/, but this system changed dramatically over time. By the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, /ɬ/ had shifted to /s/ in the Jewish
Jewish
traditions, though for the Samaritans
Samaritans
it merged with /ʃ/ instead. (Elisha Qimron 1986. Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 29). The Tiberian reading tradition of the Middle Ages had the vowel system /a ɛ e i ɔ o u ă ɔ̆ ɛ̆/, though other Medieval reading traditions had fewer vowels. A number of reading traditions have been preserved in liturgical use. In Oriental (Sephardi and Mizrahi) Jewish
Jewish
reading traditions, the emphatic consonants are realized as pharyngealized, while the Ashkenazi (northern and eastern European) traditions have lost emphatics and pharyngeals (although according to Ashkenazi law, pharyngeal articulation is preferred over uvular or glottal articulation when representing the community in religious service such as prayer and Torah
Torah
reading), and show the shift of /w/ to /v/. The Samaritan tradition has a complex vowel system which does not correspond closely to the Tiberian systems. Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
pronunciation developed from a mixture of the different Jewish
Jewish
reading traditions, generally tending towards simplification. In line with Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation, emphatic consonants have shifted to their ordinary counterparts, /w/ to /v/, and [ɣ ð θ] are not present. Most Israelis today also merge /ʕ ħ/ with /ʔ χ/, do not have contrastive gemination, and pronounce /r/ as a uvular fricative [ʁ] or a voiced velar fricative [ɣ] rather than an alveolar trill, because of Ashkenazi Hebrew influences. The consonants /tʃ dʒ/ have become phonemic due to loan words, and /w/ has similarly been re-introduced. Consonants[edit]

Proto Semitic IPA Hebrew Example

written Biblical Tiberian Modern Word Meaning

*b [b] ב‬3 ḇ/b /b/ /v/, /b/ /v/, /b/ בית house

*d [d] ד‬3 ḏ/d /d/ /ð/, /d/ /d/ דב bear

*g [ɡ] ג‬3 ḡ/g /ɡ/ /ɣ/, /g/ /ɡ/ גמל camel

*p [p] פ‬3 p̄/p /p/ /f/, /p/ /f/, /p/ פחם coal

*t [t] ת‬3 ṯ/t /t/ /θ/, /t/ /t/ תחת under

*k [k] כ‬3 ḵ/k /k/ /x/, /k/ /χ/, /k/ כוכב star

*ṭ [tʼ] ט‬ ṭ ṭ /tˤ/ /t/ טבח cook

*q [kʼ] ק‬ q q /q/ /k/ קבר tomb

*ḏ [ð] / [d͡ð] ז‬2 z /ð/ /z/ /z/ זכר male

*z [z] / [d͡z] /z/ זרק to throw

*s [s] / [t͡s] ס‬ s /s/ /s/ /s/ סוכר sugar

*š [ʃ] / [t͡ʃ] שׁ‬2 š /ʃ/ /ʃ/ /ʃ/ שׁמים sky

*ṯ [θ] / [t͡θ] /θ/ שׁמונה eight

*ś [ɬ] / [t͡ɬ] שׂ‬1 ś /ɬ/ /s/ /s/ שׂמאל left

*ṱ [θʼ] / [t͡θʼ] צ‬ ṣ ṱ /sˤ/ /ts/ צל shadow

*ṣ [sʼ] / [t͡sʼ] צרח to scream

*ṣ́ [ɬʼ] / [t͡ɬʼ] צחק to laugh

*ġ [ɣ]~[ʁ] ע‬ ʻ /ʁ/ /ʕ/ /ʔ/, - עורב raven

*ʻ [ʕ] /ʕ/ עשׂר ten

*ʼ [ʔ] א‬ ʼ /ʔ/ /ʔ/ /ʔ/, - אב father

*ḫ [x]~[χ] ח‬2 ḥ /χ/ /ħ/ /χ/ חמשׁ five

*ḥ [ħ] /ħ/ חבל rope

*h [h] ה‬ h /h/ /h/ /h/, - הגר to emigrate

*m [m] מ‬ m /m/ /m/ /m/ מים water

*n [n] נ‬ n /n/ /n/ /n/ נביא prophet

*r [ɾ] ר‬ r /ɾ/ /ɾ/ /ʁ/ רגל leg

*l [l] ל‬ l /l/ /l/ /l/ לשׁון tongue

*y [j] י‬ y /j/ /j/ /j/ יד hand

*w [w] ו‬ w /w/ /w/ /v/ ורד rose

Proto-Semitic IPA Hebrew Biblical Tiberian Modern Example

Notes:

Proto-Semitic *ś was still pronounced as [ɬ] in Biblical Hebrew, but no letter was available in the Phoenician alphabet, so the letter ש‬ did double duty, representing both /ʃ/ and /ɬ/. Later on, however, /ɬ/ merged with /s/, but the old spelling was largely retained, and the two pronunciations of ש‬ were distinguished graphically in Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew
as שׁ‬ /ʃ/ vs. שׂ‬ /s/ < /ɬ/. Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
as of the 3rd century BCE apparently still distinguished the phonemes ġ /ʁ/, ḫ /χ/, ḏ /ð/ and ṯ /θ/, based on transcriptions in the Septuagint. As in the case of /ɬ/, no letters were available to represent these sounds, and existing letters did double duty: ח‬ /χ/ /ħ/, ע‬ /ʁ/ /ʕ/, שׁ‬ /θ/ /ʃ/ and ז‬ /ð/ /z/. In all of these cases, however, the sounds represented by the same letter eventually merged, leaving no evidence (other than early transcriptions) of the former distinctions. Hebrew and Aramaic underwent begadkefat spirantization at a certain point, whereby the stop sounds /b ɡ d k p t/ were softened to the corresponding fricatives [v ɣ ð x f θ] (written ḇ ḡ ḏ ḵ p̄ ṯ) when occurring after a vowel and not geminated. This change probably happened after the original Old Aramaic
Old Aramaic
phonemes /θ, ð/ disappeared in the 7th century BCE,[71] and most likely occurred after the loss of Hebrew /χ, ʁ/ c. 200 BCE.[note 7] It is known to have occurred in Hebrew by the 2nd century.[72][contradictory] After a certain point this alternation became contrastive in word-medial and final position (though bearing low functional load), but in word-initial position they remained allophonic.[73] In Modern Hebrew, the distinction has a higher functional load due to the loss of gemination, although only the three fricatives /v χ f/ are still preserved (the fricative /x/ is pronounced /χ/ in modern Hebrew). (The others are pronounced like the corresponding stops, apparently under the influence of later non-native speakers whose native European tongues lacked the sounds /ɣ ð θ/ as phonemes.)

Hebrew grammar[edit] Main article: Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
grammar Further information: History of Hebrew grammar Hebrew grammar is partly analytic, expressing such forms as dative, ablative, and accusative using prepositional particles rather than grammatical cases. However, inflection plays a decisive role in the formation of the verbs and nouns. For example, nouns have a construct state, called "smikhut", to denote the relationship of "belonging to": this is the converse of the genitive case of more inflected languages. Words in smikhut are often combined with hyphens. In modern speech, the use of the construct is sometimes interchangeable with the preposition "shel", meaning "of". There are many cases, however, where older declined forms are retained (especially in idiomatic expressions and the like), and "person"-enclitics are widely used to "decline" prepositions. Morphology[edit] Like all Semitic languages, the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
exhibits a pattern of stems consisting typically of "triliteral", or 3-consonant consonantal roots (4-consonant roots also exist), from which nouns, adjectives, and verbs are formed in various ways: e.g. by inserting vowels, doubling consonants, lengthening vowels, and/or adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes. Hebrew uses a number of one-letter prefixes that are added to words for various purposes. These are called inseparable prepositions or "Letters of Use" (Hebrew: אותיות השימוש‎, translit. Otiyot HaShimush). Such items include: the definite article ha- (/ha/) (="the"); prepositions be- (/bə/) (="in"), le- (/lə/) (="to"; a shortened version of the preposition el), mi- (/mi/) (="from"; a shortened version of the preposition min); conjunctions ve- (/və/) (="and"), she- (/ʃe/) (="that"; a shortened version of the Biblical conjunction asher), ke- (/kə/) (="as", "like"; a shortened version of the conjunction kmo). The vowel accompanying each of these letters may differ from those listed above, depending on the first letter or vowel following it. The rules governing these changes, hardly observed in colloquial speech as most speakers tend to employ the regular form, may be heard in more formal circumstances. For example, if a preposition is put before a word which begins with a moving Shva, then the preposition takes the vowel /i/ (and the initial consonant may be weakened): colloquial be-kfar (="in a village") corresponds to the more formal bi-khfar. The definite article may be inserted between a preposition or a conjunction and the word it refers to, creating composite words like mé-ha-kfar (="from the village"). The latter also demonstrates the change in the vowel of mi-. With be and le, the definite article is assimilated into the prefix, which then becomes ba or la. Thus *be-ha-matos becomes ba-matos (="in the plane"). Note that this does not happen to mé (the form of "min" or "mi-" used before the letter "he"), therefore mé-ha-matos is a valid form, which means "from the airplane".

* indicates that the given example is grammatically non-standard.

Syntax[edit] Like most other languages, the vocabulary of the Hebrew language
Hebrew language
is divided into verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so on, and its sentence structure can be analyzed by terms like object, subject, and so on.

Many Hebrew sentences have several correct orders of words. One can change the order of the words in the sentence and keep the same meaning. For example, the sentence "Dad went to work", in Hebrew, includes a word for Dad (אבא aba), for went (הלך halaḵ), and for to work (to the working place = לעבודה la-ʿavoda). However, unlike in English, those three words can be put in almost any combination (אבא הלך לעבודה/ לעבודה אבא הלך/ לעבודה הלך אבא/ הלך אבא לעבודה and so on). In Hebrew, there is no word that is supposed to come before every singular noun (i.e. an article). Hebrew sentences do not have to include verbs; the copula in the present tense is omitted. For example, the sentence "I am here" (אני פה ani po) has only two words; one for I (אני) and one for here (פה). In the sentence "I am that person" (אני הוא האדם הזה ani hu ha'adam ha'ze), the word for "am" corresponds to the word for "he" (הוא). However, this may also be omitted. Thus, the sentence (אני האדם הזה) is identical in meaning. Unlike the verb "to have" in English, none of the possession terms in Hebrew are verbs. Though early Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
had a verb-subject-object ordering, this gradually transitioned to a subject-verb-object ordering.[74] In Hebrew there is a specific preposition (את et) for direct objects that would not have a preposition marker in English. The English phrase "he ate the cake" would in Hebrew be הוא אכל את העוגה hu akhal et ha'ugah (literally, "He ate את the cake"). The word את, however, can be omitted, making הוא אכל העוגה hu akhal ha'ugah ("He ate the cake"). Former Israeli Prime Minister David
David
Ben-Gurion was convinced that את should never be used as it elongates the sentence without adding meaning. In spoken Hebrew -את ה et ha- is also often replaced by -'ת ta-, e.g. ת'אנשים ta-anashim instead of את האנשים et ha-anashim. This phenomenon has also been found by researchers in the Bar Kokhba documents: מעיד אני עלי תשמים… שאני נותן תכבלים ברגליכם, writing תללו instead of את הללו, as well as תדקל and so on.

Writing system[edit] Main articles: Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
and Hebrew braille

Hebrew alphabet

Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
is written from right to left using the Hebrew alphabet, which is an abjad, or consonant-only script of 22 letters. The ancient paleo- Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
is similar to those used for Canaanite and Phoenician.[citation needed] Modern scripts are based on the "square" letter form, known as Ashurit (Assyrian), which was developed from the Aramaic script. A cursive Hebrew script is used in handwriting: the letters tend to be more circular in form when written in cursive, and sometimes vary markedly from their printed equivalents. The medieval version of the cursive script forms the basis of another style, known as Rashi script. When necessary, vowels are indicated by diacritic marks above or below the letter representing the syllabic onset, or by use of matres lectionis, which are consonantal letters used as vowels. Further diacritics are used to indicate variations in the pronunciation of the consonants (e.g. bet/vet, shin/sin); and, in some contexts, to indicate the punctuation, accentuation, and musical rendition of Biblical texts (see Cantillation).

Liturgical use in Judaism[edit]

Audio example of liturgical Hebrew

This is a portion of the blessing that is traditionally chanted before the Aliyah La- Torah
Torah
(reading of the Torah).

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Hebrew has always been used as the language of prayer and study, and the following pronunciation systems are found. Ashkenazi Hebrew, originating in Central and Eastern Europe, is still widely used in Ashkenazi Jewish
Jewish
religious services and studies in Israel
Israel
and abroad, particularly in the Haredi
Haredi
and other Orthodox communities. It was influenced by the Yiddish
Yiddish
language. Sephardi Hebrew is the traditional pronunciation of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews
Jews
and Sephardi Jews
Jews
in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, with the exception of Yemenite Hebrew. This pronunciation, in the form used by the Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Sephardic community, is the basis of the Hebrew phonology of Israeli native speakers. It was influenced by the Judezmo
Judezmo
language. Mizrahi (Oriental) Hebrew is actually a collection of dialects spoken liturgically by Jews
Jews
in various parts of the Arab
Arab
and Islamic world. It was possibly influenced by the Aramaic and Arabic
Arabic
languages, and in some cases by Sephardi Hebrew, although some linguists maintain that it is the direct heir of Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
and thus represents the true dialect of Hebrew. The same claim is sometimes made for Yemenite Hebrew or Temanit, which differs from other Mizrahi dialects by having a radically different vowel system, and distinguishing between different diacritically marked consonants that are pronounced identically in other dialects (for example gimel and "ghimel".) These pronunciations are still used in synagogue ritual and religious study, in Israel
Israel
and elsewhere, mostly by people who are not native speakers of Hebrew, though some traditionalist Israelis use liturgical pronunciations in prayer. Many synagogues in the diaspora, even though Ashkenazi by rite and by ethnic composition, have adopted the "Sephardic" pronunciation in deference to Israeli Hebrew. However, in many British and American schools and synagogues, this pronunciation retains several elements of its Ashkenazi substrate, especially the distinction between tsere and segol. See also[edit]

Israel
Israel
portal Language
Language
portal

Paleo-Hebrew alphabet Hebraism Hebraization of English Hebrew abbreviations Hebrew literature Hebrew numerals Jewish
Jewish
languages List of English words of Hebrew origin Romanization of Hebrew Study of the Hebrew language

Notes[edit]

^ See original text

^ In the Tanakh
Tanakh
( Jewish
Jewish
Bible), the language was referred to as Yehudit "the language of Judah" or səpaṯ Kəna'an "the language of Canaan".[2] Later Hellenistic writers such as Josephus
Josephus
and the Gospel of John used the term Hebraisti to refer to both Hebrew and Aramaic.[2] ^ a b Sáenz-Badillos, Ángel and John Elwolde: "There is general agreement that two main periods of RH (Rabbinical Hebrew) can be distinguished. The first, which lasted until the close of the Tannaitic era (around 200 CE), is characterized by RH as a spoken language gradually developing into a literary medium in which the Mishnah, Tosefta, baraitot and Tannaitic midrashim would be composed. The second stage begins with the Amoraim
Amoraim
and sees RH being replaced by Aramaic as the spoken vernacular, surviving only as a literary language. Then it continued to be used in later rabbinic writings until the tenth century in, for example, the Hebrew portions of the two Talmuds and in midrashic and haggadic literature."[14] ^ Fernández & Elwolde: "It is generally believed that the Dead Sea Scrolls, specifically the Copper Scroll
Copper Scroll
and also the Bar Kokhba letters, have furnished clear evidence of the popular character of MH [Mishnaic Hebrew]."[35] ^ The Cambridge History of Judaism: "Thus in certain sources Aramaic words are termed 'Hebrew,' ... For example: η επιλεγομενη εβραιστι βηθεσδα 'which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda' (John 5.2). This is not a Hebrew name but rather an Aramaic one: בית חסדא, 'the house of Hisda'."[36] ^ Fitzmyer, Joseph A.: "The adverb Ἑβραïστί (and its related expressions) seems to mean 'in Hebrew', and it has often been argued that it means this and nothing more. As is well known, it is used at times with words and expressions that are clearly Aramaic. Thus in John 19:13, Ἑβραιστὶ δὲ Γαββαθᾶ is given as an explanation of the Lithostrotos, and Γαββαθᾶ is a Grecized form of the Aramaic word gabbětā, 'raised place.'"[42] ^ These pronunciations may have originated in learners' mistakes formed on the analogy of other suffixed forms (katávta, alénu), rather than being examples of residual Ashkenazi influence. ^ According to the generally accepted view, it is unlikely that begadkefat spirantization occurred before the merger of /χ, ʁ/ and /ħ, ʕ/, or else [x, χ] and [ɣ, ʁ] would have to be contrastive, which is cross-linguistically rare. However, Blau argues that it is possible that lenited /k/ and /χ/ could coexist even if pronounced identically, since one would be recognized as an alternating allophone (as apparently is the case in Nestorian Syriac). See Blau (2010:56).

References[edit]

^ Sephardi [ʕivˈɾit]; Iraqi [ʕibˈriːθ]; Yemenite [ʕivˈriːθ]; Ashkenazi realization [iv'ʀis] or [iv'ris] strict pronunciation [ʔiv'ris] or [ʔiv'ʀis]; Standard Israeli ivˈʁit] ^ a b c d Sáenz-Badillos, Angel (1993) [1988]. A History of the Hebrew Language. Translated by Elwolde, John. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521556347.  ^ H. S. Nyberg 1952. Hebreisk Grammatik. s. 2. Reprinted in Sweden by Universitetstryckeriet, Uppsala 2006. ^ Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
at Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) Classical Hebrew (liturgical) at Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) Samaritan Hebrew
Samaritan Hebrew
(liturgical) at Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) Moabite (extinct) at Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) Edomite (extinct) at Ethnologue
Ethnologue
(19th ed., 2016) ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/language/heb ^ Meir, Irit; Sandler, Wendy (2013). A Language
Language
in Space: The Story of Israeli Sign Language.  ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Hebrewic". Glottolog
Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ a b Gur, Nachman; Haredim, Behadrey. "'Kometz Aleph – Au': How many Hebrew speakers are there in the world?". Retrieved 2 November 2013.  ^ Cite error: The named reference aboutworldlanguages.com was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Most ancient Hebrew biblical inscription deciphered". Physorg.com. January 7, 2010. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ Grenoble, Leonore A.; Whaley, Lindsay J. (2005). Saving Languages: An Introduction to Language
Language
Revitalization. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0521016520. Retrieved 28 March 2017. Hebrew is cited by Paulston et al. (1993:276) as 'the only true example of language revival.'  ^ Fesperman, Dan (26 April 1998). "Once 'dead' language brings Israel to life Hebrew: After 1,700 years, a revived language becomes a common thread knitting together a nation of immigrants with little in common except religion". The Baltimore Sun. Sun Foreign Staff. Retrieved 28 March 2017.  ^ a b "Hebrew" in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edit. F.L. Cross, first edition (Oxford, 1958), 3rd edition (Oxford 1997). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church which once said, in 1958 in its first edition, that Hebrew "ceased to be a spoken language around the fourth century BCE", now says, in its 1997 (third) edition, that Hebrew "continued to be used as a spoken and written language in the New Testament
New Testament
period". ^ a b c Sáenz-Badillos, Ángel and John Elwolde. 1996. A history of the Hebrew language. P.170-171 ^ "If you couldn't speak Greek by say the time of early Christianity you couldn't get a job. You wouldn't get a good job. a professional job. You had to know Greek in addition to your own language. And so you were getting to a point where Jews...the Jewish
Jewish
community in say Egypt and large cities like Alexandria didn't know Hebrew anymore they only knew Greek. And so you need a Greek version in the synagogue." – Josheph Blankinsopp, Professor of Biblical Studies University of Notre Dame in A&E's Who Wrote the Bible ^ Cite error: The named reference e18 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Table 53. Languages Spoken at Home by Language: 2009", The 2012 Statistical Abstract, U.S. Census Bureau, archived from the original on 2007-12-25, retrieved 2011-12-27  ^ "Strong's Hebrew: 5676. עֵ֫בֶר (eber) -- region across or beyond, side". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2018-03-25.  ^ "הספריה של מט"ח". Lib.cet.ac.il. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ Muss-Arnolt, William (1905). A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Languages. Reuther & Reichard. p. 9.  ^ Géza Xeravits; József Zsengellér (25 June 2008). Studies in the Book of Ben Sira: Papers of the Third International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Shime'on Centre, Pápa, Hungary, 18-20 May, 2006. BRILL. pp. 43–. ISBN 90-04-16906-7.  ^ Barton, John, ed. (2004) [2002]. The Biblical World. 2. Taylor & Francis. p. 7. Interestingly, the term 'Hebrew' (ibrit) is not used of the language in the biblical text ^ Ross, Allen P. Introducing Biblical Hebrew, Baker Academic, 2001. ^ אברהם בן יוסף ,מבוא לתולדות הלשון העברית (Avraham ben-Yosef, Introduction to the History of the Hebrew Language), page 38, אור-עם, Tel-Aviv, 1981. ^ Share, David
David
L. (2017). "Learning to Read Hebrew". In Verhoeven, Ludo; Perfetti, Charles. Learning to Read Across Languages and Writing Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 9781107095885. Retrieved 1 November 2017.  ^ Fellman, Jack (1973). The Revival of a Classical Tongue: Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
Language. The Hague: Mouton. p. 12. ISBN 9789027924957. Retrieved 1 November 2017.  ^ "'Oldest Hebrew script' is found". BBC News. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2010.  ^ "Have Israeli Archaeologists Found World's Oldest Hebrew Inscription?". Haaretz. AP. 30 October 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2010.  ^ William M. Schniedewind, "Prolegomena for the Sociolinguistics of Classical Hebrew", The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures vol. 5 article 6 Archived 4 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ M. Segal, A Grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew
Mishnaic Hebrew
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927). ^ Elisha Qimron, The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Harvard Semitic Studies 29 (Atlanta: Scholars Press 1986). ^ Nicholas Ostler, Empires of the Word: A Language
Language
History of the World, Harper Perennial, London, New York, Toronto, Sydney 2006 p80 ^ a b c Spolsky, Bernard and Elana Goldberg Shohamy. The languages of Israel: policy, ideology and practice. P.9 ^ a b Miguel Perez Fernandez, An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew (Leiden, Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill 1997). ^ An Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew (Fernández & Elwolde 1999, p.2) ^ a b The Cambridge History of Judaism: The late Roman-Rabbinic period. 2006. P.460 ^ Borrás, Judit Targarona and Ángel Sáenz-Badillos. 1999. Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. P.3 ^ a b Spolsky, B., " Jewish
Jewish
Multilingualism in the First century: An Essay in Historical Sociolinguistics", Joshua A. Fishman (ed.), Readings in The Sociology of Jewish
Jewish
Languages, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985, pp. 35–50. Also adopted by Smelik, Willem F. 1996. The Targum of Judges. P.9 ^ Spolsky, B., " Jewish
Jewish
Multilingualism in the First century: An Essay in Historical Sociolinguistics", Joshua A. Fishman (ed.), Readings in The Sociology of Jewish
Jewish
Languages, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985, p. 40. and passim ^ Huehnergard, John and Jo Ann Hackett. The Hebrew and Aramaic languages. In The Biblical World (2002), Volume 2 (John Barton, ed.). P.19 ^ E.g. Acts 21:40; 22:2; 26:14: têi hebraḯdi dialéktôi, lit. 'in the Hebrew dialect/language' ^ Fitzmyer, Joseph A. 1979. A Wandering Armenian: Collected Aramaic Essays. P.43 ^ Geoffrey W. Bromley (ed.) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, W.B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1979, 4 vols. vol.1 sub.'Aramaic' p.233: 'in the Aramaic vernacular of Palestine' ^ Randall Buth and Chad Pierce "EBRAISTI in Ancient Texts, Does ἑβραιστί ever Mean 'Aramaic'?" in Buth and Notley eds., Language
Language
Environment of First Century Judaea, Brill,2014:66–109. p109 "no, Ἑβραιστί does not ever appear to mean Aramaic in attested texts during the Second Temple and Graeco-Roman periods."; p. 107 "John did not mention what either βεθεσδα or γαββαθα meant. They may both have been loanwords from Greek and Latin respectively." p103 "βεθεσδα ... (בית-אסטא(ן ... house of portico ... 3Q15 אסטאן הדרומית southern portico," and Latin gabata (p. 106) "means platter, dish... perhaps a mosaic design in the pavement ... " The Latin loanword is attested as "bowl" in later Christian Palestinian Aramaic and גבתא is (p106) "unattested in other Aramaic dialects" [contra the allegations of many]. ^ J. M. Griatz, "Hebrew in the Days of the Second Temple" QBI, 79 (1960) pp. 32–47 ^ Languages of the World (Hebrew) Archived 17 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Abraham ibn Ezra, Hebrew Grammar, Venice 1546 (Hebrew) ^ T. Carmi, Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. ^ Safrai, Shmuel, Shemuel Safrai, M. Stern. 1976. The Jewish
Jewish
people in the first century. P.1036 ^ Fox, Marvin. 1995. Interpreting Maimonides. P.326 ^ Mishnah
Mishnah
B'rurah – Israel
Israel
Meir (ha-Kohen), Aharon Feldman, Aviel Orenstein – Google Books. Books.google.com. 1980. ISBN 9780873061988. Retrieved 2013-05-03.  ^ http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/This-week-in-history-Revival-of-the-Hebrew-language ^ Shalom
Shalom
Spiegel,Hebrew Reborn,(1930) Meridian Books reprint 1962, New York p.56 ^ Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the Resurgence of the Hebrew Language
Language
by Libby Kantorwitz ^ "The Transformation of Jewish
Jewish
Culture in the USSR from 1930 to the Present (in Russian)". Jewish-heritage.org. Archived from the original on 22 December 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.  ^ Michael Nosonovsky (25 August 1997). "Nosonovski, Michael (in Russian)". Berkovich-zametki.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ Protest against the suppression of Hebrew in the Soviet Union 1930–1931 signed by Albert Einstein, among others. ^ Rosen, Rosén (1966). A Textbook of Israeli Hebrew. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press. p. 0.161. ISBN 0-226-72603-7.  ^ Shisha Halevy, Ariel (1989). The Proper Name: Structural Prolegomena to its Syntax – a Case Study in Coptic. Vienna: VWGÖ. p. 33. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.  ^ Greenberg, Moshe (1965). Introduction to Hebrew. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, INC. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0134844696.  ^ Klein, Zeev (March 18, 2013). "A million and a half Israelis struggle with Hebrew". Israel
Israel
Hayom. Retrieved 2 November 2013.  ^ "The differences between English and Hebrew". Frankfurt International School. Retrieved 2 November 2013.  ^ "Hebrew – UCL". University College London. Retrieved 2 November 2013.  ^ "Why Learn a Language?". Retrieved 2 November 2013.  ^ a b c "CBS: 27% of Israelis struggle with Hebrew – Israel
Israel
News, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.  ^ The Israeli Conflict System: Analytic Approaches ^ "Some Arabs Prefer Hebrew – Education – News". Israel
Israel
National News. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ "Keeping Hebrew Israel's living language – Israel
Israel
Culture, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ Danan, Deborah (28 December 2012). "Druse MK wins prize for helping preserve Hebrew JPost Israel
Israel
News". JPost. Retrieved 2013-04-25.  ^ Pisarek, Walery. "The relationship between official and minority languages in Poland" (PDF). European Federation of National Institutions for Language. Retrieved 7 November 2017.  ^ Dolgopolsky (1999:72) ^ Dolgopolsky (1999:73) ^ Blau (2010:78–81) ^ "Basic Word Order in the Biblical Hebrew
Biblical Hebrew
Verbal Clause, Part 6 Ancient Hebrew Grammar". Ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 

Bibliography[edit]

Hoffman, Joel M. In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-3654-8.  Izre'el, Shlomo (2001). Benjamin Hary, ed. "The Corpus of Spoken Israeli Hebrew". (CoSIH): Working Papers I.  Klein, Reuven Chaim (2014). Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, & Hebrew. Mosaica Press. ISBN 978-1937887360.  Kuzar, Ron (2001). Hebrew and Zionism: A Discourse Analytic Cultural Study. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016993-2.  Laufer, Asher (1999). Hebrew Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65236-7.  Sáenz-Badillos, Angel (1993). A History of the Hebrew Language. Translated by John Elwolde. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55634-1. 

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