Hebrew (/ˈhiːbruː/; עִבְרִית, Ivrit
[ʔivˈʁit] ( listen) or [ʕivˈɾit] ( listen))
is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel, spoken by over 9
million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the
language of the
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. 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
Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between
200 and 400 CE, declining since the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba
revolt.[note 2] Aramaic and to a lesser extent Greek were
already in use as international languages, especially among elites and
immigrants. It survived into the medieval period as the language
Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-
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. After
United States has the second largest Hebrew-speaking
population, with 220,000 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.
Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of the State of
Israel (the other being Modern Standard Arabic), while premodern
Hebrew is used for prayer or study in
Jewish communities around the
world today. The Samaritan dialect is also the liturgical tongue of
the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or
Arabic is their vernacular. As
a foreign language, it is studied mostly by
Jews and students of
Judaism and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing
Middle East and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in
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 as Leshon Hakodesh
(לשון הקדש), "the Holy Language", since ancient times.
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
Mishnah and Talmud
2.5 Medieval Hebrew
2.7 Modern Hebrew
3 Current status
5 Hebrew grammar
6 Writing system
7 Liturgical use in Judaism
8 See also
12 External links
The modern English word "Hebrew" is derived from
Old French Ebrau, via
Latin from the Greek Ἑβραῖος (Hebraîos) and Aramaic 'ibrāy:
all ultimately derived from
Biblical Hebrew Ibri (עברי), one of
several names for the Israelite (
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"; 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
Babylonia and Canaan). Compare cognate Assyrian ebru, of
identical meaning. 
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. The Bible does not use the term 'Hebrew' in reference to the
language of the Hebrew people; the ancient
Israelites referred to
their tongue as "Canaanite language" (שפת כנען), (Isaiah
19:18)—and later Yәhudit (יהודית; meaning literally
Jewish language"), when Judah (Yәhuda) became the surviving
Hebraic kingdom after the destruction of the northern Kingdom of
Israel in the late 8th century BCE (Isa. 36; 2 Kings 18).
Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. In turn, the
Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of
According to Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebrew flourished as a spoken language
in the Kingdoms of
Israel and Judah during about 1200 to 586 BCE.
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
Oldest Hebrew inscriptions
Further information: Paleo-
Hebrew alphabet and Ancient Hebrew writings
In July 2008 Israeli archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel discovered a
ceramic shard at
Khirbet Qeiyafa which he claimed may be the earliest
Hebrew writing yet discovered, dating around 3000 years ago.
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.
Gezer calendar also dates back to the 10th century BCE at the
beginning of the Monarchic Period, the traditional time of the reign
David and Solomon. Classified as Archaic Biblical Hebrew, the
calendar presents a list of seasons and related agricultural
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 is written without any vowels,
and it does not use consonants to imply vowels even in the places
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 written in the Moabite dialect; the
found near Jerusalem, is an early example of Hebrew. Less ancient
samples of Archaic Hebrew include the ostraca found near
describe events preceding the final capture of
Nebuchadnezzar and the
Babylonian captivity of 586 BCE.
Main article: Biblical Hebrew
In its widest sense,
Biblical Hebrew means the spoken language of
Israel flourishing between the 10th century BCE and the turn
of the 4th century CE. It comprises several evolving and
overlapping dialects. The phases of Classical Hebrew are often named
after important literary works associated with them.
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 (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 scroll. Note ornamental "crowns"
on tops of certain letters.
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 that attains much of
its present form around this time. Also called Biblical Hebrew, Early
Biblical Hebrew, Classical
Biblical Hebrew (or Classical Hebrew in the
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 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
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 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 Hebrew. The Imperial
Aramaic script of the earlier scrolls in the 3rd century BCE evolved
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 from the 1st to the 3rd or 4th century CE,
corresponding to the Roman Period after the destruction of the Temple
Jerusalem and represented by the bulk of the
Mishnah and Tosefta
Talmud and by the Dead Sea Scrolls, notably the Bar Kokhba
letters and the Copper Scroll. Also called Tannaitic Hebrew or Early
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). 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. 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
A silver matchbox holder with inscription in Hebrew
See also: Aramaic language
Around the 6th century BCE, the
Neo-Babylonian Empire conquered the
ancient Kingdom of Judah, destroying much of
Jerusalem and exiling its
population far to the East in Babylon. During the Babylonian
Israelites learned Aramaic, the closely related
Semitic language of their captors. Thus for a significant period, the
Jewish elite became influenced by Aramaic.
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, he allowed the
to return from captivity. As a result,[improper synthesis?] a local
version of Aramaic came to be spoken in
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
Jews spoke Greek, but a form of
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
their identity with Hebrew songs and simple quotations from Hebrew
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 was the closely related Aramaic language,
then Greek,[note 2] scholarly opinions on the exact dating of that
shift have changed very much. 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 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 revealed ancient Jewish
texts overwhelmingly in Hebrew, not Aramaic.
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 speaking in Aramaic
indicates a multilingual society, not necessarily the primary language
spoken. Alongside Aramaic, Hebrew co-existed within
Israel as a spoken
language. Most scholars now date the demise of Hebrew as a spoken
language to the end of the Roman Period, or about 200 CE. 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. 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. There was also a geographic pattern: according to Spolsky,
by the beginning of the Common Era, "
Judeo-Aramaic was mainly used in
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." 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 and Samaria
and a smaller area, Judaea, in which
Rabbinic Hebrew was used among
the descendants of returning exiles." In addition, it has been
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. 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.
New Testament contains some Semitic place names and
quotes. The language of such Semitic glosses (and in general the
language spoken by
Jews in scenes from the New Testament) is often
referred to as "Hebrew" in the text, although this term is often
re-interpreted as referring to Aramaic instead[note 4][note 5] and is
rendered accordingly in recent translations. Nonetheless, these
glosses can be interpreted as Hebrew as well. It has been argued
that Hebrew, rather than Aramaic or Koine Greek, lay behind the
composition of the Gospel of Matthew. (See the Hebrew Gospel
Language of Jesus for more details on Hebrew and Aramaic
in the gospels.)
Mishnah and Talmud
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 (also called Tannaitic Hebrew,
Early Rabbinic Hebrew, or
Mishnaic Hebrew I), which was a spoken
language, and Amoraic Hebrew (also called Late
Rabbinic Hebrew or
Mishnaic Hebrew II), which was a literary language. The earlier
section of the
Talmud is the
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 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
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 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 traveling in foreign countries.
After the 2nd century CE when the
Roman Empire exiled most of the
Jewish population of
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.
Main article: Medieval Hebrew
Aleppo Codex: 10th century
Hebrew Bible with Masoretic pointing
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 or Masoretic
Hebrew, a local dialect of
Galilee that became the
standard for vocalizing the
Hebrew Bible and thus still influences all
other regional dialects of Hebrew. This
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 of the 6th century
BCE, whose original pronunciation must be reconstructed. Tiberian
Hebrew incorporates the remarkable scholarship of the
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
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
also developed vowel pointing systems around this time. The Aleppo
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 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 and later (in Provence)
David Kimhi. A great deal of poetry was written, by poets such as
Dunash ben Labrat,
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 quantitative or strophic meters. This
literary Hebrew was later used by Italian
The need to express scientific and philosophical concepts from
Classical Greek and Medieval
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
Ibn Tibbon family. (Original
Jewish philosophical works were
usually written in Arabic.) Another important influence was
Maimonides, who developed a simple style based on
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 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, and
Maimonides' writings, which were mostly in Arabic; but overall,
Hebrew did not cease to be used for such purposes. This meant not only
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
all other parts, but that an educated Jew could travel and converse
Jews in distant places, just as priests and other educated
Christians could converse in Latin. For example, Rabbi Avraham Danzig
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
Mishna Berurah was to "produce a work that could be
studied daily so that
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 without any trouble."
Main article: Revival of the Hebrew language
Hebrew has been revived several times as a literary language, most
significantly by the
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
different linguistic backgrounds to communicate for commercial
purposes. This Hebrew dialect was to a certain extent a pidgin.
Near the end of that century the
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 at that time. Those languages were
Jewish dialects of local languages, including
called "Judezmo" and "Ladino"), Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, and Bukhori
(Tajiki), or local languages spoken in the
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 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
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.
The literary and narrative use of Hebrew was revived beginning with
Haskalah movement. The first secular periodical in Hebrew,
HaMe'assef (The Gatherer), was published by maskilim in Königsberg
(today's Kaliningrad) from 1783 onwards. In the mid-19th century,
publications of several Eastern European Hebrew-language newspapers
(e.g. Hamagid, founded in
Ełk in 1856) multiplied. Prominent poets
Hayim Nahman Bialik
Hayim Nahman Bialik and Shaul Tchernichovsky; there were also
novels written in the language.
The revival of the
Hebrew language as a mother tongue was initiated in
the late 19th century by the efforts of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. He joined
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 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 that Hebrew had
caught real momentum in Ottoman Palestine with the more highly
organized enterprises set forth by the new group of immigrants. When
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 (because
Hebrew was the holy language of the
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 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 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 population of both Ottoman and British
Palestine. At the time, members of the Old
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). 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. 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, 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 (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.
Main article: Modern Hebrew
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 had
Yiddish as their native
language and often brought into Hebrew idioms and calques from
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 ְ (zmán instead of
in popular speech, penultimate stress in proper names (Dvóra instead
of Dĕvorá; Yehúda instead of Yĕhudá) and some other words
similarly in popular speech, penultimate stress in verb forms with a
second person plural suffix (katávtem "you wrote" instead of
The vocabulary used within the
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 has
embarked upon is the sure sign that Hebrew has been reborn."
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.
Academy of the Hebrew Language
Modern Hebrew is the primary official language of the State of Israel.
As of 2013, there are about 9 million Hebrew speakers worldwide,
of whom 7 million speak it fluently.
Currently, 90% of Israeli
Jews are proficient in Hebrew, and 70% are
highly proficient. Some 60% of Israeli Arabs are also proficient
in Hebrew, and 30% prefer speaking Hebrew over Arabic. In
total, about 53% of the Israeli population speaks Hebrew as a native
language, 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 and Ladino
being the native tongues of most of the rest. Some 26% of immigrants
from the former
Soviet Union and 12% of Arabs reported speaking Hebrew
poorly or not at all.
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
Academy of the Hebrew Language
Academy of the Hebrew Language of the Hebrew
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 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. In 2012, a
Knesset bill for the preservation of
Hebrew language was proposed, which includes the stipulation that
all signage in
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. Hebrew is also an official national
minority language in Poland, since 6 January 2005.
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering
support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead
Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see
Biblical Hebrew § Phonology, and Modern
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 vowel system contained the Proto-Semitic vowels /a aː
i iː u uː/ as well as /oː/, but this system changed dramatically
By the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, /ɬ/ had shifted to /s/ in the
Jewish traditions, though for the
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 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 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 pronunciation developed from a mixture of the different
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.
[ð] / [d͡ð]
[z] / [d͡z]
[s] / [t͡s]
[ʃ] / [t͡ʃ]
[θ] / [t͡θ]
[ɬ] / [t͡ɬ]
[θʼ] / [t͡θʼ]
[sʼ] / [t͡sʼ]
[ɬʼ] / [t͡ɬʼ]
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
Tiberian Hebrew as שׁ /ʃ/ vs. שׂ /s/ <
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 phonemes /θ, ð/
disappeared in the 7th century BCE, 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.[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. 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.)
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"
Like all Semitic languages, the
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
* indicates that the given example is grammatically non-standard.
Like most other languages, the vocabulary of the
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
Unlike the verb "to have" in English, none of the possession terms in
Hebrew are verbs.
Biblical Hebrew had a verb-subject-object ordering, this
gradually transitioned to a subject-verb-object ordering.
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 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.
Hebrew alphabet and Hebrew braille
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
Hebrew alphabet is similar to those used for Canaanite and
Phoenician. 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
Audio example of liturgical Hebrew
This is a portion of the blessing that is traditionally chanted before
the Aliyah La-
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 religious services and studies in
Israel and abroad, particularly in the
Haredi and other Orthodox
communities. It was influenced by the
Sephardi Hebrew is the traditional pronunciation of the Spanish and
Jews and Sephardi
Jews in the countries of the former
Ottoman Empire, with the exception of Yemenite Hebrew. This
pronunciation, in the form used by the
Jerusalem Sephardic community,
is the basis of the Hebrew phonology of Israeli native speakers. It
was influenced by the
Mizrahi (Oriental) Hebrew is actually a collection of dialects spoken
Jews in various parts of the
Arab and Islamic world.
It was possibly influenced by the Aramaic and
Arabic languages, and in
some cases by Sephardi Hebrew, although some linguists maintain that
it is the direct heir of
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
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
Hebraization of English
List of English words of Hebrew origin
Romanization of Hebrew
Study of the Hebrew language
^ See original text
^ In the
Jewish Bible), the language was referred to as
Yehudit "the language of Judah" or səpaṯ Kəna'an "the language of
Canaan". Later Hellenistic writers such as
Josephus and the Gospel
of John used the term Hebraisti to refer to both Hebrew and
^ 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 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."
^ Fernández & Elwolde: "It is generally believed that the Dead
Sea Scrolls, specifically the
Copper Scroll and also the Bar Kokhba
letters, have furnished clear evidence of the popular character of MH
^ 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'."
^ 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.'"
^ 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).
^ 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) . 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 at
Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
Classical Hebrew (liturgical) at
Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
Samaritan Hebrew (liturgical) at
Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
Moabite (extinct) at
Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
Edomite (extinct) at
Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
^ Meir, Irit; Sandler, Wendy (2013). A
Language in Space: The Story of
Israeli Sign Language.
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
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
^ 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 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
^ 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
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 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
^ 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) . 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.
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 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 (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
^ 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 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
^ 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 Multilingualism in the First century: An
Essay in Historical Sociolinguistics", Joshua A. Fishman (ed.),
Readings in The Sociology of
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 Multilingualism in the First century: An Essay
in Historical Sociolinguistics", Joshua A. Fishman (ed.), Readings in
The Sociology of
Jewish Languages, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985, p. 40.
^ Huehnergard, John and Jo Ann Hackett. The Hebrew and Aramaic
languages. In The Biblical World (2002), Volume 2 (John Barton, ed.).
^ 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
^ 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 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
^ Abraham ibn Ezra, Hebrew Grammar, Venice 1546 (Hebrew)
^ T. Carmi, Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse.
^ Safrai, Shmuel, Shemuel Safrai, M. Stern. 1976. The
Jewish people in
the first century. P.1036
^ Fox, Marvin. 1995. Interpreting Maimonides. P.326
Mishnah B'rurah –
Israel Meir (ha-Kohen), Aharon Feldman, Aviel
Orenstein – Google Books. Books.google.com. 1980.
ISBN 9780873061988. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
Shalom Spiegel,Hebrew Reborn,(1930) Meridian Books reprint 1962, New
^ Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the Resurgence of the Hebrew
^ "The Transformation of
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.
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