Started conversation Apr 5, 2001
It's interesting to note that Hebrew served only as a ritual language for most of its existence. It was only revived as an everyday language just over a hundred years ago, when the early Zionists started returning to what is now Israel. This revival was led by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda who compiled the first modern Hebrew dictionary. He actually had to invent many new words in order to adapt the biblical language for use in modern life.
This task is filled today by The Academy for The Hebrew Language. They have invented words and names for just about every new invention, although some haven't caught on. The correct Hebrew word for "telephone" is "sach-rachok" (literally meaning "converse from a far") but nobody uses it. The same goes for "zarbuvit" ("spout"). The only time you'll hear it is when someone is quoting the sketch by the Hagashash Hachiver trio, when the radio caller asks the expert liguist in the studio how he should refer to the "chupchik on the kettle".
Posted Aug 16, 2002
not really. actually, I would say that there are two hebrews: the normative, in which "telephone" is "sach-rechak" and such, and the normal hebrew in which we speak today, and the connection is slight, if any. the Academy hasn't done anything useful on the past 30 years, unless, of course, you actually need words like "tzahalulim"...