Hebrew language, Semitic language of the Northern Central (also called Northwestern) group; it is closely related to Phoenician and Moabite, with which it is often placed by scholars in a Canaanite subgroup. Spoken in ancient times in Palestine, Hebrew was supplanted by the western dialect of Aramaic beginning about the 3rd century bc; the language continued to be used as a liturgical and literary language, however. It was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries and is the official language of Israel.
Hebrew, the language of the Mishna (a collection of Jewish traditions), written about ad200 (this form of Hebrew was never used among the people as a spoken language); Medieval Hebrew, from about the 6th to the 13th century ad, when many words were borrowed from Greek, Spanish, Arabic, and other languages; and Modern Hebrew, the language of Israel in modern times. The sources of borrowed words that first appeared during this period include the other Canaanite languages, as well as Akkadian. Hebrew also contains a small number of Sumerian words borrowed from an Akkadian source.
Use of the spoken language declined from the 9th century until the 18th century. Nevertheless, the medieval language underwent development, however spasmodic, in various directions. The cult of the liturgical poem called a piyyûṭ (itself a Greek word) in the 6th–9th century enriched the written vocabulary by giving fresh meanings to old words and coining new ones, especially in the so-called Kalirian style; and the Spanish-Hebrew poets of the period 900–1250 followed suit.
Hebrew is the official language of the State of Israel along with Arabic. Spoken by some 5 million people in Israel, and a further 2 to 3 million people speak the language in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Panama, the UK and USA.
Characteristic of Hebrew
Characteristic of Hebrew of all stages is the use of word roots consisting usually of three consonants, to which vowels and other consonants are added to derive words of different parts of speech and meaning. The language is written from right to left in a Semitic script of 22 letters.
Academy of the Hebrew language.
Revival of the Hebrew Language
Father of Modern Hebrew: Mendele Mokher Sefarim (the pen name of Sholem Yakov Abramovich, 1836-1917) is often called the Creator of Modern Hebrew (as opposed to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the Father of Modern Hebrew). In 1880 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda: “in order to have our own land and political life… we must have a Hebrew language in which we can conduct the business of life.”
Standard Hebrew, as developed by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, was based on Mishnaic spelling and Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation. However, the earliest speakers of Modern Hebrew had Yiddis has their native language and often brought into Hebrew idioms and literal translations from Yiddish.
- Central Semitic
- Northwest Semitic
Number of Speakers
It has about 5,300,000 speakers in the world.
Hebrew language on websites
Hebrew language on websitesranks on 29th on its content available on net and it is 0.1% in terms of percentage.