Hebrew language

Hebrew language

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{{Redirect|Hebrew}} {{Distinguish|Yiddish language}} {{Css Image Crop |Image = Simtat_Aluf_Batslut.JPG |bSize = 360px |cWidth = 240 |cHeight = 100 |oTop = 82 |oLeft = 44 |Location = right |Description = Hebrew [[street sign]], above in [[Hebrew alphabet]], below in [[Romanization of Hebrew|Latin letter transliteration]] }} '''Hebrew''' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|h|iː|b|r|uː}}) ({{Hebrew|עִבְרִית}}, ''{{lang|he-Latn|Ivrit}}'', {{Audio|He-Ivrit.ogg|Hebrew pronunciation}}) is a [[Semitic languages|Semitic language]] of the [[Afroasiatic languages|Afroasiatic language family]].
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{{Redirect|Hebrew}} {{Distinguish|Yiddish language}} {{Css Image Crop |Image = Simtat_Aluf_Batslut.JPG |bSize = 360px |cWidth = 240 |cHeight = 100 |oTop = 82 |oLeft = 44 |Location = right |Description = Hebrew [[street sign]], above in [[Hebrew alphabet]], below in [[Romanization of Hebrew|Latin letter transliteration]] }} '''Hebrew''' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|h|iː|b|r|uː}}) ({{Hebrew|עִבְרִית}}, ''{{lang|he-Latn|Ivrit}}'', {{Audio|He-Ivrit.ogg|Hebrew pronunciation}}) is a [[Semitic languages|Semitic language]] of the [[Afroasiatic languages|Afroasiatic language family]]. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the [[Jewish languages|language of the Jewish people]], though other Jewish languages had originated among [[Jewish Diaspora|diaspora Jews]], and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such as the [[Samaritans]]. [[Modern Hebrew]] is spoken by most of the seven million people in [[Israel]] while [[Classical Hebrew]] has been used for prayer or study in [[Jews|Jewish]] communities around the world. The language is attested from the 10th century BCE to the late [[Second Temple]] period, after which the language developed into [[Mishnaic Hebrew]]. Modern Hebrew is one of the official [[languages of Israel]], along with [[Arabic language|Arabic]]. Ancient Hebrew is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or [[Arabic]] is their vernacular, though today about 700 Samaritans remain. As a foreign language it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, archaeologists and linguists specializing in the [[Middle East]] and its civilizations, by theologians, and in Christian seminaries. The core of the [[Torah]] (the first five books of the [[Hebrew Bible]]), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in [[Classical Hebrew]], and much of its present form is specifically the dialect of [[Biblical Hebrew]] that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the [[Babylonian captivity|Babylonian exile]]. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by [[Jew]]s as ''{{lang|he-Latn|Leshon HaKodesh}}'' ({{lang|he|לשון הקודש}}), "The [[Holy Language]]", since ancient times. ==Naming== The modern word "Hebrew" is derived from the word "ʕibri" (plural "ʕibrim") one of several names for the Jewish people. It is traditionally understood to be an adjective based on the name of Abraham's ancestor, [[Eber]] ("ʕebr" עבר in Hebrew) mentioned in [[Book of Genesis|Genesis]] 10:21. This name is possibly based upon the root "ʕ-b-r" ({{lang|he|עבר}}) meaning "to cross over". Interpretations of the term "ʕibrim" link it to this verb; cross over and [[Homiletics|homiletical]] or the people who crossed over the river [[Euphrates]]. In the Bible, the Hebrew language is called ''{{lang|he-Latn|Yәhudit}}'' ({{lang|he|יהודית}}) because [[Kingdom of Judah|Judah]] (''{{lang|he-Latn|Yәhuda}}'') was the surviving kingdom at the time of the quotation, late 8th century BCE (Is 36, 2 Kings 18). In Isaiah 19:18, it is also called the "Language of Canaan" ({{lang|he|שְׂפַת כְּנַעַן)}}. == History == {{History of the Hebrew language}} Hebrew belongs to the [[Canaanite languages|Canaanite]] group of languages. In turn the Canaanite languages are a branch of the [[Northwest Semitic languages|Northwest Semitic]] family of languages. Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the [[kingdoms of Israel and Judah]] during the 10th to 7th centuries BCE. Scholars debate the degree to which Hebrew was a spoken vernacular in ancient times following the [[Babylonian exile]], when the predominant language in the region was [[Old Aramaic]]. Hebrew was nearly extinct as a spoken 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 of the Hebrew language|revival as a spoken language]] in the late 19th century. === Oldest Hebrew inscriptions === In July 2008 Israeli archaeologist [[Yosef Garfinkel|Yossi Garfinkel]] discovered a ceramic shard at [[Khirbet Qeiyafa]] which he claimed may be the earliest Hebrew writing yet discovered. 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. The [[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]] and [[Solomon]]. Classified as Archaic Biblical Hebrew, the calendar presents a list of seasons and related agricultural activities. The [[Gezer]] calendar (named after the city in whose proximity it was found) is written in an old Semitic script, akin to the [[Phoenician alphabet|Phoenician]] one that through the [[ancient Greece|Greeks]] and [[Etruscan civilization|Etruscans]] later became the [[Roman script]]. The Gezer calendar is written without any vowels, and it does not use [[Mater lectionis|consonants to imply vowels]] even in the places where later Hebrew spelling requires it. [[File:Silwan-inscr.jpg|left|300px|thumb|The [[Shebna]] lintel, 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 languages|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 [[Siloam Inscription]], found near [[Jerusalem]], is an early example of Hebrew. Less ancient samples of Archaic Hebrew include the [[ostracon|ostraca]] found near [[Lachish]] which describe events preceding the final capture of Jerusalem by [[Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon|Nebuchadnezzar]] and the Babylonian captivity of 586 BCE. === Classical Hebrew === {{main|Classical Hebrew}} In its widest sense, ''Classical Hebrew'' means the spoken language of ancient Israel flourishing between the 10th century BCE and the turn of the 4th century [[Common Era|CE]]. 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]]''' 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 ([[Tanach]]), 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 a form of the [[Phoenician alphabet|Canaanite script]]. (A script descended from this is still used by the [[Samaritans]], see [[Samaritan Hebrew language]].) [[File:Sefer-torah-vayehi-binsoa.jpg|thumb|250px|Biblical Hebrew script]] * '''[[Biblical Hebrew|Standard 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 Standard Biblical Hebrew, Early Biblical Hebrew, Classical 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 ''shel'' (of, belonging to). It adopted the [[Aramaic alphabet|Imperial Aramaic script]]. * '''[[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. * '''[[Dead Sea Scrolls|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 into the [[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 in Jerusalem and represented by the bulk of the [[Mishnah]] and [[Tosefta]] within the [[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). 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 revolt|Bar Kokhba War]] around 135 CE. Around the 6th century BCE, the [[Babylonia|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 captivity]], many [[Israelites]] were enslaved within the [[Babylonian Empire]] and learned the closely related Semitic language of their captors, [[Aramaic]]. The Babylonians had taken mainly the governing classes of Israel while leaving behind presumably more-compliant farmers and laborers to work the land.{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}} Thus for a significant period, the [[Jewish]] elite became influenced by [[Aramaic]]. (see below, [[#Displacement|Aramaic spoken among Israelites]]). After [[Cyrus the Great#Neo-Babylonian Empire|Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon]], he [[Cyrus (Bible)|released the Jewish people from captivity]]. "The King of Kings" or Great King of [[Persian Empire|Persia]], later gave the Israelites permission to return. As a result, a local version of [[Aramaic language|Aramaic]] came to be spoken in Israel alongside Hebrew, also the Assyrian empire before that caused Israel to speak a variant of Aramaic for trade, in Israel-Judea these languages co-mingled. The Greek Era saw a brief ban on the Hebrew language until the period of the Hasmoneans. By the beginning of the [[Common Era]], Aramaic was the primary colloquial language of [[Samaria]]n, [[Babylonia]]n and [[Galilee]]n Jews, western and intellectual Jews spoke [[Greek language|Greek]],{{Citation needed|date=July 2011}} 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, all Jews maintained their identity with Hebrew songs, and simple easy to remember quotes from the Hebrew texts. (other opinions on the exact date range from the 4th-century BCE to the end of the Roman period). === Jewish diaspora === [[File:Rashiscript.PNG|thumb|200px|[[Rashi script]]]] 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 language|Greek]]{{#tag:ref|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."|group="note"}}, scholarly opinions on the exact dating of that shift have changed very much. In the early 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 by the start of Israel's [[Hellenistic period|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]] has disproven that view. The [[Dead Sea Scrolls]], uncovered in 1946-1948 near [[Qumran]] revealed ancient Jewish texts overwhelmingly in Hebrew, not Aramaic. The [[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.{{#tag:ref|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 [Mishnaic Hebrew]."|group="note"}}. Recent scholarship recognizes that reports of Jews speaking in Aramaic indicates a multi-lingual 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 [[Iudaea Province|Roman Period]], or about 200 CE. It continued on as a literary language down through [[History of Palestine#Byzantine Period|Byzantine Period]] from the 4th century [[Common Era|CE]]. Many Hebrew linguists even postulate the survival of Hebrew as a spoken language until the Byzantine Period{{Who|date=April 2010}}, but some historians do not accept this.{{Who|date=April 2010}} 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 Mideast; and eventually Greek functioned as another international language with the eastern areas of the Roman Empire.{{Citation needed|date=April 2010}} Communities of Jews (and non-Jews) are known, who immigrated to Judea from these other lands and continued to speak Aramaic or Greek. 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 geographic pattern: 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 and no man's land 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 [[Mishnaic Hebrew|Rabbinic Hebrew]] was used among the descendants of returning exiles." In addition, it has been surmised that [[Koine Greek]] was the primary vehicle of communication in coastal cities and among the upper class of [[Jerusalem]], and Aramaic was prevalent in the lower class of Jerusalem, but not in the surrounding countryside. After the suppression of the [[Bar Kokhba revolt]], Judaeans were forced to disperse and many relocated to Galilee, so most remaining native speakers of Hebrew at that last stage would have been found in the north. The Christian [[New Testament]] contains some clearly Aramaic place names and quotes. Although the language of such Semitic glosses (and in general the language spoken by Jews in scenes from the New Testament) is usually referred to as "Hebrew"/"Jewish" in the text, this term often seems to refer to Aramaic instead{{#tag:ref|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".|group="note"}}{{#tag:ref|Fitzmyer, Joseph A.: "The adverb {{Polytonic|ἐβραïστὶ}} (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, {{Polytonic|ἐβραιστὶ δὲ Γαββαθᾶ}} is given as an explanation of the Lithostrotos, and {{Polytonic|γαββαθᾶ}} is a Grecized form of the Aramaic word gabbětā, 'raised place.'"|group="note"}} and is rendered accordingly in recent translations. Nonetheless, many glosses can be interpreted as Hebrew as well; and it has been argued that Hebrew, rather than Aramaic, lay behind the composition of the [[Gospel of Matthew]]. (See the [[Hebrew Gospel hypothesis]] or [[Aramaic of Jesus]] for more details on Hebrew and Aramaic in the gospels.) === Mishnah and Talmud === {{Main|Mishnaic Hebrew}} The term generally refers to the Hebrew dialects found in the [[Talmud]] {{lang|he|תלמוד}}, excepting quotations from the Hebrew Bible. The dialects organize into [[Mishnaic Hebrew]] (also called [[Tannaim|Tannaitic]] Hebrew, Early Rabbinic Hebrew, or [[Mishnah|Mishnaic]] Hebrew I), which was a [[spoken language]], and [[Amora]]ic Hebrew (also called Late Rabbinic Hebrew or Mishnaic Hebrew II), which was a [[literary language]]. The earlier section of the Talmud is the [[Mishnah]] {{lang|he|משנה}} that was published around 200 CE, though 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 [[Midrash halakha|halachic]] [[Midrash]]im ([[Sifra]], [[Sifre]], [[Mechilta]] etc.) and the expanded collection of Mishnah-related material known as the [[Tosefta]] {{lang|he|תוספתא}}. The Talmud contains excerpts from these works, as well as further Tannaitic material not attested elsewhere; the generic term for these passages is [[Baraita|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]] {{lang|he|גמרא}}, 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 [[Amora]]ic 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 throughout history. After the 2nd century CE when the [[Roman Empire]] exiled most of the Jewish population of Jerusalem following the [[Bar Kokhba revolt]], the Israelites 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 === {{Main|Medieval Hebrew}} [[File:Aleppo Codex Joshua 1 1.jpg|thumb|[[Aleppo Codex]]: 10th century [[Hebrew Bible]] with [[Masoretes|Masoretic]] pointing (Joshua 1:1).]] After the Talmud, various regional literary dialects of [[Medieval Hebrew]] evolved. The most important is [[Tiberian vocalization|Tiberian Hebrew]] or Masoretic Hebrew, a local dialect of [[Tiberias]] in [[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 [[Masoretes]] (from ''masoret'' meaning "tradition"), who added [[niqqud|vowel points]] and [[Cantillation|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|Syriac script]], precursor to the [[Arabic alphabet|Arabic script]], also developed vowel pointing systems around this time. The [[Aleppo Codex]], a 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. In 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 [[Arabic grammar#History|grammarians]] of [[Classical Arabic]]. Important Hebrew grammarians were [[Judah ben David Hayyuj]], [[Jonah ibn Janah]] 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]] and the two [[Ibn Ezra]]s, 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 Jewish poets. The need to express scientific and philosophical concepts from [[Classical Greek language|Classical Greek]] and [[Arabic language|Medieval Arabic]] motivated 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 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, of course, 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 that well-educated 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 in all other parts, but that an educated Jew could travel and converse with Jews in distant places, just as priests and other educated Christians could once converse in Latin. ===Revival=== {{Main|Revival of the Hebrew language}} Hebrew has been 'revived' several times as a literary language, and most significantly by the [[Haskalah]] (Enlightenment) movement of early and mid-19th century [[Germany]]. Near the end of that century the Jewish activist [[Eliezer Ben-Yehuda]], owing to the ideology of the [[Romantic nationalism|national revival]] (''Shivat Tziyon'',{{#tag:ref|"Shivat", from "Lashoov", "Shav", returning. "Tziyon" is the Hebraic pronunciation of "Zion".|group="note"}} 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 such as the [[Judeo-Spanish]] language (also called [[Judezmo]] or Ladino), [[Yiddish language|Yiddish]], [[Judeo-Arabic languages|Judeo-Arabic]], and [[Bukhori language|Bukharian language]], or local languages spoken in the [[Jewish diaspora]] such as [[Russian language|Russian]], [[Persian language|Persian]], and [[Arabic language|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 [[Turkish languages|Turkish]] and 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 [[Israel|State of Israel]]. Hebrew is the most widely spoken language in Israel today. In the Modern Period, from the 19th century onward, the literary Hebrew tradition as pronounced in Jerusalem 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 many features of [[Sephardi Hebrew language|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]]. [[File:Eliezer Ben-Yehuda at his desk in Jerusalem - c1912.jpg|thumb|[[Eliezer Ben-Yehuda]]]] The literary and narrative use of Hebrew was revived beginning with the [[Haskalah]] (Enlightenment) movement. The first secular periodical in Hebrew, ''Hameassef'' (The Gatherer), was published by Maskilim literati 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 [[Lyck, Prussia]], in 1856) multiplied. Prominent poets were [[Chaim Nachman Bialik]] and [[Shaul Tchernichovsky]]; there were also novels written in the language. The [[revival of the Hebrew language]] as a [[first language|mother tongue]] was initiated in the late 19th century by the efforts of [[Eliezer Ben-Yehuda]]. He joined the [[Zionism|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 [[Jewish diaspora|diaspora]] "[[shtetl]]" lifestyle, Ben-Yehuda set out to develop tools for making the [[literary language|literary]] and [[sacred language|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 [[Asher Ginsberg|Achad Ha-Am]] and others. His organizational efforts and involvement with the establishment of schools and the writing of textbooks pushed the [[vernacular]]ization 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 the [[Mandate for 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 [[blasphemy|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 [[Yishuv|Old Yishuv]] and a very few [[Hasidic Judaism|Hasidic]] sects, most notably those under the auspices of [[Satmar (Hasidic dynasty)|Satmar]], refused to speak Hebrew and only spoke Yiddish. There still remains a sizable population in Jerusalem, particularly in the Meah Shearim area, that still prefers to stick to the language of the original settlers of the area, Yiddish. They only learn enough Hebrew to speak to shopkeepers and get jobs.{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}} === Modern Hebrew === {{Main|Modern Hebrew}} [[File:TA DH 208.jpg|right|300px|thumb|Hebrew signs on an Israeli highway]] Standard Hebrew, as developed by [[Eliezer Ben-Yehuda]], was based on [[Mishnaic Hebrew|Mishnaic]] spelling and [[Sephardi Hebrew language|Sephardi Hebrew]] pronunciation. However, the earliest speakers of Modern Hebrew had [[Yiddish]] as their native language and often brought into Hebrew idioms and literal translations 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 consonant|pharyngeal articulation]] in the letters ''chet'' ({{Hebrew|[[ח]]}}) and ''ayin'' ({{Hebrew|[[ע]]}}) by many speakers. * the conversion of ([[Resh|{{Hebrew|ר}}]]) {{IPA|/r/}} from an [[alveolar flap]] {{IPA|[ɾ]}} to a [[voiced uvular fricative]] {{IPA|[ʁ]}} or [[uvular trill|trill]] {{IPA|[ʀ]}}, by most of the speakers. ''see [[Guttural R]]'' * the pronunciation (by many speakers) of ''[[Zeire|tzere]]'' {{Hebrew| ֵ }} as {{IPA|[eɪ]}} in some contexts (''sifrey'' and ''teysha'' instead of Sephardic ''sifré'' and ''tésha''') * the partial elimination of vocal ''[[Shva]]'' {{Hebrew| ְ }} (''zman'' instead of Sephardic ''zĕman'') * 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 ''kĕtavtém'').{{#tag:ref|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.|group="note"}} In Israel, Modern Hebrew is currently taught in institutions called [[Ulpan]]im, (singular, Ulpan). There are government owned as well as private Ulpanim offering online courses and face-to-face programs. == Status == Modern Hebrew is, along with Arabic, an official language of the State of Israel. The Soviet authorities considered the use of Hebrew "reactionary" since it was associated with both [[Judaism]] and [[Zionism]], and the teaching of Hebrew at primary and secondary schools was officially banned by the [[Narkompros]] (Commissariat of Education) as early as 1919, as part of an overall agenda aiming to [[secularization|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 ([[refusenik]]s). Several of the teachers were imprisoned, for example, [[Ephraim Kholmyansky]], [[Yevgeny Korostyshevsky]] and others responsible for a Hebrew learning network connecting many cities of USSR. == Phonology == {{IPA notice}} {{see|Biblical Hebrew phonology|Modern Hebrew phonology}} [[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 spirantization]]). 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 over time. By the early Middle Ages, /ɬ/ had shifted to /s/ in the Jewish traditions, though for the Samaritans it merged with /ʃ/ instead. 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 less 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 (eastern European) traditions have lost emphatics and pharyngeals, 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. Emphatic consonants have shifted to their ordinary counterparts, /w/ to /v/, and [ɣ ð θ] are not present. Many Israelis merge /ʕ ħ/ with /ʔ χ/, do not have contrastive gemination, and pronounce /r/ as a uvular trill [ʀ] rather than an alveolar trill, as in many varieties of Ashkenazi Hebrew. The consonants /tʃ dʒ/ have become phonemic due to loan words, and /w/ has similarly been re-introduced. == Hebrew grammar == {{Main|Hebrew grammar|Modern Hebrew grammar}} Hebrew grammar is partly [[analytic language|analytic]], expressing such forms as [[dative case|dative]], [[ablative case|ablative]], and [[accusative case|accusative]] using [[preposition]]al particles rather than [[grammatical case]]s. However, inflection plays a decisive role in the formation of the verbs and nouns. E.g. 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 [[hyphen]]s. 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"-[[enclitic]]s are widely used to "decline" prepositions. ===Morphology=== Like all Semitic languages, the Hebrew language exhibits a pattern of stems consisting typically of "triliteral", or 3-consonant [[Triliteral|consonantal roots]] (2- and 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 [[infix]]es. Hebrew uses a number of [[Prefixes and suffixes in Hebrew|one-letter prefixes]] that are added to words for various purposes. These are called inseparable prepositions or "Letters of Use" (''[[Hebrew]]: אותיות השימוש, Otiyot HaShimush''). Such items include: the definite [[article (grammar)|article]] ''ha-'' ({{IPA|/ha/}}) (="the"); [[preposition]]s ''be-'' ({{IPA|/bə/}}) (="in"), ''le-'' ({{IPA|/lə/}}) (="to"), ''mi-'' ({{IPA|/mi/}}) (="from"; a shortened version of the preposition ''min''); [[Grammatical conjunction|conjunctions]] ''ve-'' ({{IPA|/və/}}) (="and"), ''she-'' ({{IPA|/ʃe/}}) (="that"), ''ke-'' ({{IPA|/kə/}}) (="as", "like"). 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 {{IPA|/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 [[standard language|non standard]]''. === Syntax === 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. However, speakers of languages such as [[English language|English]], [[French language|French]], [[Urdu]] or [[Persian language|Persian]] may find the structure of Hebrew sentences quite surprising. * Many Hebrew sentences have a few 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 working", in Hebrew, includes a word for Dad (אבא), for went (הלך), and for working (to the working place = לעבודה). However, unlike in English, you can put those three words almost in 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. * Hebrew sentences do not have to include verbs; the verb [[Copula (linguistics)|To Be]] in [[present tense]] is omitted (although might be implied). For example, the sentence "I am here" (אני פה) has only two words; one for I (אני) and one for here (פה). I the sentence "I am that person" (אני הוא אדם זה), the word "am" is replaced by the word "he" (הוא). * Unlike the verb ''To Have'' in English, none of the possession terms in Hebrew is a verb. ==Writing system== {{Main|Hebrew alphabet|l1=Hebrew writing}} [[File:Frank-ruehl.png|thumb|300px|[[Hebrew alphabet]]]] 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]] is similar to those used for [[Canaanite language|Canaanite]] and [[Phoenician language|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]]). == Hebrew in Judaism == According to some Jewish religious traditions, Hebrew was the language of the creation. Likewise, Hebrew is considered to be the one language spoken by the united mankind before the dispersion connected with the [[Tower of Babel]]. According to [[Kabbalah|Jewish esoteric teachings]], the Hebrew letters are the lifeforce of all things created, determining their essence. === Liturgical use === 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 Judaism|Orthodox]] communities. It was influenced by the [[Yiddish language]]. [[Sephardi Hebrew]] is the traditional pronunciation of the [[Spanish and Portuguese Jews]] and [[Sephardi Jews]] in the countries of the former [[Ottoman Empire]]. This pronunciation, in the form used by the Jerusalem Sephardic community, is the basis of the [[Modern Hebrew phonology|Hebrew phonology]] of Israeli native speakers. It was influenced by the [[Judezmo]] language. [[Mizrahi Hebrew|Mizrahi (Oriental) Hebrew]] is actually a collection of dialects spoken liturgically by Jews in various parts of the [[Arab]] and [[Islam]]ic world. It was possibly influenced by the [[Aramaic language|Aramaic]] and [[Arabic language]]s, 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 study, in Israel and elsewhere, mostly by people who are not native speakers of Hebrew, though some traditionalist Israelis are bi-dialectal. 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 [[Niqqud|tsere]] and [[Niqqud|segol]]. == See also == * [[Revival of the Hebrew language]] * [[Cantillation]] * [[Cursive Hebrew]] * [[Hebraization of English]] * [[Hebrew acronyms]] * [[Hebrew alphabet]] * [[Hebrew literature]] * [[Hebrew phonology]] * [[Jewish languages]] * [[Romanization of Hebrew]] * [[Study of the Hebrew language]] == External links == {{Wiktionary|Category:Hebrew language}} {{Wiktionary|Hebrew}} {{InterWiki|code=he}} {{WikisourceWiki|code=he}} {{wikibooks|Hebrew}} * [http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/index.html Ancient Hebrew Research Center] Research and Learning Hebrew Resources * [http://www.hebrew.ch Fully Transliterated Modern Hebrew Course] (with listing of verb roots and derived verbs) * [http://www.morfix.co.il Morfix online dictionary] * [http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/newspapers/eng.html Early Hebrew Newspapers] Thousands of pages of mid- to late-19th-century and early 20th-century newspapers written in Hebrew and readable on line. * [http://www.hebrew-language.com Categorized Hebrew language study resources on the Internet] * [http://www.hebrewlanguageguide.com/hebrew-fonts/ Hebrew fonts] * [http://www.fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Hebrew USA Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Hebrew basic course] * [http://www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrewtoc.htm History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language], David Steinberg * [http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb.htm Biblical Hebrew Poetry and Word Play – Reconstructing the Original Oral, Aural and Visual Experience] * [http://www.adath-shalom.ca/rabin_he.htm Short History of the Hebrew Language], [[Chaim Menachem Rabin|Chaim Rabin]] {{Template group |list = {{Hebrew language}} {{Jewish languages |expanded=Afro-Asiatic}} {{Modern Semitic languages |state=expanded}} }} {{Use dmy dates|date=August 2010}} {{DEFAULTSORT:Hebrew Language}}