|Pronunciation||[(ʔ)ivˈʁit] - [(ʔ)ivˈɾit][note 1]|
|Native to||Israel, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; used globally as a liturgical language for Judaism|
|5.3 million  (1998)|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Academy of the Hebrew Language|
האקדמיה ללשון העברית (HaAkademia LaLashon HaʿIvrit)
heb – Modern Hebrew
hbo – Ancient Hebrew
It was spoken by Israelites a long time ago, during the time of the Bible. After Judah was conquered by Babylonia, the Jews were taken captive to Babylon and started speaking Aramaic. Hebrew was no longer used much in daily, but it was still known by Jews who studied religious books.
In the 20th century, many Jews decided to make Hebrew into a spoken language again. It became the language of the new country of Israel in 1948. People in Israel came from many places and decided to learn Hebrew, the language of their common ancestors, so that they could all speak one language. However, Modern Hebrew is quite different from Biblical Hebrew, with a simpler grammar and many loanwords from other languages, especially English.
Grammar[change | change source]
Hebrew is a Semitic language and so that it is a lot like Arabic. Hebrew words are made by combining a root with a pattern. In Israeli Hebrew, some words are translated from European languages like English, French, German, and Russian. Many words from the Old Testament were given new meanings in Israeli Hebrew. People learning Hebrew need to study the grammar first so that they can read correctly without vowels.
In Israeli Hebrew, there is no verb "to be" in the present tense but only in the future and the past tenses. In Biblical Hebrew, there are no tenses but only two aspects: imperfect and perfect. The imperfect is something like the future and the present tenses. The perfect is something like the past tense. Mishnaic Hebrew was spoken as well as Judeo-Aramaic in the time of Jesus and in the time of the Bar-Kokhba revolt (2nd century AD) until the Byzantine Empire of Justinian (6th century AD).
Alphabet[change | change source]
The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. Five of them change when they are at the end of a word. Hebrew is read from right to left.
The Hebrew alphabet is an abjad and so only the consonants are written, and readers must supply the vowels. Since that can be difficult, the vowels can be marked as dots called “nikkud” or “tinuah” (plural ”nikudot” and “tinuot” respectively.) In Modern Hebrew, some letters can denote vowels, which are called matres lectionis (mothers of the reading) since they greatly help reading. Vav (or Waw) can make the 'oo' sound (/u/ in IPA) like in food. Yodh (or Yud) can make the 'ee' sound (/i/ in IPA) like in feed.
Notes[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
|Hebrew edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
- CIA's World Fact Book
- "Hebrew language report". Ethnologue. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- "Hebrew | Foreign Languages | Monroe Community College". www.monroecc.edu. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
- Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003). Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew. England: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781403917232.