23 Facts About Hebrew


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.

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Less ancient samples of Archaic Hebrew include the ostraca found near Lachish, which describe events preceding the final capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity of 586 BCE.

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The phases of Classical Hebrew are often named after important literary works associated with them.

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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.

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The dialects organize into Mishnaic Hebrew, which was a spoken language, and Amoraic Hebrew, which was a literary language.

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Mishnaic Hebrew is considered to be one of the dialects of Classical Hebrew that functioned as a living language in the land of Israel.

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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.

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Important Hebrew grammarians were Judah ben David Hayyuj, Jonah ibn Janah, Abraham ibn Ezra and later, David Kimhi.

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Major result of the literary work of the Hebrew intellectuals along the 19th century was a lexical modernization of Hebrew.

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The first secular periodical in Hebrew, HaMe'assef, was published by maskilim in Konigsberg from 1783 onwards.

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Hebrew joined the Jewish national movement and in 1881 immigrated to Palestine, then a part of the Ottoman Empire.

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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.

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Later in the 1980s in the USSR, Hebrew studies reappeared due to people struggling for permission to go to Israel .

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Yosef Begun, Ephraim Kholmyansky, Yevgeny Korostyshevsky and others responsible for a Hebrew learning network connecting many cities of the USSR.

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Standard Hebrew, as developed by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, was based on Mishnaic spelling and Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation.

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However, the earliest speakers of Modern Hebrew had Yiddish as their native language and often introduced calques from Yiddish and phono-semantic matchings of international words.

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In Israel, Modern Hebrew is currently taught in institutions called Ulpanim .

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In 2012, a Knesset bill for the preservation of the 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.

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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.

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Also, Hebrew is an official national minority language in Poland, since 6 January 2005.

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The ancient paleo-Hebrew alphabet resembles those used for Canaanite and Phoenician.

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Sephardi Hebrew is the traditional pronunciation of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews and Sephardi Jews in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, with the exception of Yemenite Hebrew.

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Mizrahi Hebrew is actually a collection of dialects spoken liturgically by Jews in various parts of the Arab and Islamic world.

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