A Conversation for Hebrew

Hebrew over the years

Post 1


Isn't it misleading to say Hebrew is largely unchanged? Most especially because of the reinvention of Hebrew over the last 150 years, by Ben-Yehudah (mentioned by researcher Eric...Haffaby) but also by Mendele Mokher Seforim, who worked to incorporate many later words (especially Yiddish) into traditional Hebrew, when the language was beginning its modern revival in the late 19th century, and who is regarded by many as the real creator of modern Hebrew.

Most scholars make distinctions between what Badillos (1996) calls Classical, Biblical, Rabbinic and Modern Hebrew, so I don't think it's possible to say it has remained largely unchanged over 3000 years - although I do keep hearing that, and I'm curious as to why.

There's even some who question whether modern (Israeli) Hebrew can be actually continue to be classed as semitic (eg Ullendorf, Wexler), which debate surely shows the amount of change there has been.

Hebrew over the years

Post 2


I agree that it is untrue to say that Hebrew remains largely unchanged over 3000 years. What is more likely is that over the close to 2000 years that Hebrew was not a vernacular, it did not develop and change naturally as all languages do.

Over the past century as Hebrew has been revived as a vernacular, it has taken much vocabulary and constructions from both biblical and mishnaic (rabinnic) Hebrew and developed them to meet the needs of a modern language, as it has borrowed vocabulary from western languages and Arabic.

The end result is that is is probably true to say that a modern Hebrew speaker can read the bible with no more difficulty than an English speaker can read Shakespeare, and that's only about 400 years ago.

Hebrew over the years

Post 3

Researcher 200734

Please note that hebrew cannot be considered a natural languege until the 1960's, since it just hasn't devaloped naturally. for the hebrew speakers among us, read anything that was written in israel over the 50's to know what I mean.

Hebrew over the years

Post 4


I find it amazing that there is absolutely no mention of Hebrew's use in Israel, or its relation to the Jewish people. All that is mentioned is the "Christian Old Testament". How was this allowed to get by?

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