Talk:Modern Hebrew

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Small minority does not override scholarship per wikipedia rules[edit]

The vast majority of scholars support the obvious conclusion that Hebrew is a Semetic language. The standard policy of wikipedia is only to report disputes between large ammounts of scholars. (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 03:51, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

i think it's should be mentioned that most of the mizrahi people in israel from the third gereration have changed their accent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Shlomo Izre'el focuses on the "emergency" of "Spoken Israeli Hebrew" in terms of a "creation of a new language" Shouldn't that be "emergence"? -- (talk) 21:32, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

"direct continuation"[edit]

Tagged this wording in the lead as dubious , but didn't want to just delete it . The remarkable thing about Ivrit is that , apart perhaps from Sanskrit , it is AFAIK the only successful language-revival project in history . If it's not exactly a constructed language , it's not a direct continuation either , as the chain of transmission as a native language was broken . Cultural , maybe , but not linguistic in any direct sense . Thus Shlomo Izre'el's comment quoted above . Certainly something so remarkable should be displayed prominently in the lead . Instead we say that Modern Hebrew was "developed" in the late 19th century , wording that could be used for any standardized language . We also attribute it to one man , which is practically impossible : Hebrew didn't become a living language again until it acquired a community of native speakers , who took it in their own direction . — kwami (talk) 07:44, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

NPOV Issue With Classification[edit]


  • Several claims are missing citations
  • The linked article from ( is an editorial from a biased source
  • The section implies that many, if not all linguists who argue against the continuity between Ancient and Modern Hebrew are anti-semites.
  • Much of the section discusses the political implications of the language's classification instead of the language's actual, current grammar.

Any suggestions, besides just scrapping the section altogether?

Hi, first of all, make sure you sign at the end of your comment next time. Secondly, I just read through the article, removed information that has been unsourced for years, and put that "forward" article in the proper place. If there's anything else you think we should improve in the article, please be specific and give examples. Thanks, Yambaram (talk) 11:18, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Why isn't Modern Hebrew classified as Canaanite language?[edit]

Modern Hebrew descends from the original Hebrew and is therefore a Canaanite language, the last one to survive as others such as Phoenician went extinct, why isn't this mentioned in this article as it is mentioned in the Hebrew language article? Guy355 (talk) 15:02, 3 July 2014 (UTC)


First, the sentence about a "debate" is unsourced and inaccurate. "relexified Yiddish" is a claim of a specific scholar, even other scholars that question the classification of Modern Hebrew disagree with that claim. Anyway, it is already mentioned the classification section so it is redundant. Second, Modern Hebrew is widely recognized(by majority of scholars) as a continuation of classical Hebrew (see also my sources), why ignoring this consensus and giving an unproportional expression for a specific POV? --Infantom (talk) 13:13, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi Infantom, a total deletion of the lead's summary of the classification section is not the answer. The lead should summarize the whole article, so we need to summarize the classification section. Could you suggest a rewrite instead of a deletion? Oncenawhile (talk) 08:02, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Something like "several scholars have questioned the classification of Modern Hebrew, whether it is relexified Yiddish or Semito-European. However, Modern Hebrew is widely recognized by most scholars as a continuation of classical Hebrew" would be more accurate. As for classification in infobox, as i said, a continuation of biblical Hebrew is the consensus among most scholars, so that's should be the classification here(please check also the sources i provided). Thanks.--Infantom (talk) 20:48, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
This one scholar (Paul Wexler) was pushing this theory as part of a broader agenda pushing revisionist claims about the origin of modern Jews. Frankly, it does not even stand the laugh test. Not even the controversial Ghilad Zuckermann makes this exaggerated claim. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

From what I see, the alphabet of modern Hebrew is identical to Classical Canaanite Semitic Hebrew, many people who don't speak Hebrew and hear it mistake it for Arabic, I don't understand why it's not classified as an Afro-Asiatic Semitic Canaanite language which it's without a doubt such a language according to most experts, I asked this question in the thread above but received no reply. Guy355 (talk) 14:10, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

The alphabet has nothing to do with it. The general consensus is that Modern Hebrew is not a direct descendant of Classical Hebrew, not in the normal sense of the word. The question has been what to call it, and how to deal with it. It's certainly not a creole, but it's been pointed out many times that if the first Modern Hebrew speakers had been Mizrahi, it would have been a very different language (much more Semitic). If the nature of the language was dependent on the language background of those first speakers, then it isn't a simple descendent of Classical Hebrew. — kwami (talk) 09:08, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
"The general consensus is that Modern Hebrew is not a direct descendant of Classical Hebrew"- Could you prove that? Because that is completely wrong. This opinion is shared by only several specific scholars, but the consensus is that Modern Hebrew is based on and derived from Classical Hebrew. It is also stated in the Classification section but is ignored in the opening section and the infobox. Please read here and here --Infantom (talk) 12:43, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I am confused about parts of this article (and a corresponding part in the Esperanto, which I corrected) that equate Yiddish with Slavic. Yiddish is a Germanic language, as the wikipedia page on it makes clear. It doesn't mention the theory that it's a Slavic language relexified to have Germanic vocabulary. Only on this page does it mention it, and here it's assumed to be true ("it is relexified Yiddish, ergo it's relexified Sorbian") It should be made clear that the mainstream view is that Yiddish is Germanic and that Hebrew is Semitic. The Judeo-Sorbian theory flies in the face of both. If it's only half-right (i.e., Hebrew is relexified Yiddish), then that would make Hebrew a Germanic language. Pinkboi (talk) 01:20, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi and welcome to wikipedia.
It is very confusing, and should be more clear, I agree. There does not appear to be a firm scholarly view on the question, as summarised here.
For the purposes for our article, the "mainstream view" does not have anywhere near as much weight as the "scholarly consensus", particularly given that the "mainstream view" on this subject is a political hotspot. Oncenawhile (talk) 02:41, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Modern Hebrew verb conjugation is utterly Semitic, with the triliteral root template even used in word formation. This point alone refutes all those silly relexification, creolisation, or language mixing speculations. Modern Israelis of European origin have taken great pains to acquire all that complex and unfamiliar Hebrew morphology. It is not just offensive but plain idiotic to suggest that they speak some kind of debased creole. The influence of European languages, especially Yiddish and Ladino, on Modern Hebrew phonology and lexicon is strong, no doubt about that. But it's also a no-brainer. It's what is to be expected when you start to speak a language that hasn't had any first-language speakers for the better part of 1500 years. Duh! I haven't ever encountered anybody who spoke (or even just pronounced) flawless reconstructed Classical Latin, either. Everyone retains a strong L1 accent when there are no native models available. New and Contemporary Latin is no less influenced in phonology and lexicon (and even syntax) by modern European languages than Modern Hebrew is. Same story with Modern Sanskrit, whose morphology is even radically simplified compared to Classical Sanskrit. I'm anything but a Zionism supporter (I have no sympathy for any kind of nationalist fervour where outsiders or good science are thrown under the bus), but credit is due where it is due.
Ephraim Kishon, who busted his behind learning Hebrew, famously quipped: "Hebrew is relatively easy to learn, almost as easy as Chinese. After three or four years, the new immigrant is already able to address a passerby in fluent Hebrew: 'Please tell me the time, but if possible, in English.'" A graphic illustration of his struggle with the complex grammar. And to think that his native language was Hungarian! He was able to write excellent, polished literary Hebrew but always retained a strong Hungarian accent when speaking. I have a similar relationship with English, which is far more similar to my native language and morphologically simple – I can't nearly speak it as well as I can write it, so I have huge respect for his achievement. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:27, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

The bestest. Like, ever.[edit]

Kwami, I've reluctantly tagged the opening sentence of the lead because 1) it should tell you what the subject of the article is about, not how amazing/successful it is, 2) there isn't a single passage or source in the article's body supporting or even discussing the claim (even the article on language revitalization uses a tenuous cite of dubious reliability), 3) this clearly isn't the language that was spoken before the diaspora, claiming it as a success seems a bit presumptuous. If you can provide citations that disagree with these three points then feel free to enrich the article, otherwise the sentence has to go. The mayor of Yurp (talk) 21:28, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Swirski and Hobsbawm's explanation of its uptake[edit]

Jeshurun, can you explain your continued objection to the explanation for the uptake of the language provided by Swirski and Hobsbawm?

Separately, as I mentioned on your talk page you have violated 1RR today.

Oncenawhile (talk) 14:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

"Hebrew of the new variety"??[edit]

The intro paragraph apparently feels the need to translate the Hebrew term for "modern Hebrew" in the clumsiest way imaginable. Apparently word order is more important to preserve than actual meaning. In Hebrew, the adjective follows the verb. Also, the same term is used for "new" and "modern" in Hebrew. Finally, the word "the" is clearly not needed, as the Hebrew word for "Hebrew" is an indefinite noun. Therefore, the DIRECT English translation of עברית חדשה is "MODERN HEBREW." The current "The Hebrew [of] the new [variety])" is confusing, awkward, and introduces unnecessary and incorrect grammatical elements. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:55, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

What about Maltese?[edit]

If Modern Hebrew is classified as a some-sort of a Semito-European Creole, why isn't Maltese defined as a Semito-European Creole? Around 40% of Maltese uses non-Semitic, mostly Italian and English loan-words. If it's about basic morphology and grammar, Maltese lost the Semitic grammatical conjugation system, while the Semitic grammatical conjugation system is still used in Hebrew. I do not see, as a native Hebrew speaker, Modern Hebrew is defined as Creole, while Maltese is still Semitic. Moto53|Talk to me! 13:41, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

The debate is sparked by the history of Modern Hebrew as a language spoken and written every day. When Hebrew was just beginning to take hold in Israel as a spoken language, it was mainly spoken by people who invariably learned it as a second language. There is no debate that most, if not all, people who learn a second language in the middle of their life, like the immigrants who began using Hebrew in daily life, will learn that language imperfectly, i.e. with an accent, grammatical mishaps, and general grammatical influence from their first language. Since people learn languages at different rates, all of their Hebrews would have been different. Now when their children learn the language as their only language growing up, they take the modified form of the language and perfect it into an actual, consistent system that can be formalized. This is what we know as Modern Hebrew today and it does not mean it's not a real language or whatever disparaging claims people put forward about it being a creole. Creoles are real languages too, by the way, but as I will talk about below, I don't think that Modern Hebrew is a creole.
There is a similarity between what happened between Classical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew and what happens to create creoles as we know them. Creoles form when there's a contact between two languages and a common ground needs to be found. The first generation learns a sort of "mix" of the two or more languages, and their children perfect the mix and make it a functional system that is as expressive as any language because children's brains are really good at that, as it turns out. This is why some people think Modern Hebrew is a creole and, I assure you, without any anti-semitic prejudice from their part. I personally don't agree with the idea. Modern Hebrew is not the most direct continuation of Classical Hebrew because it had to pass through that stage where people had to learn it as a second language, but it doesn't fit the criteria of a creole in that Classical Hebrew was already a language that existed and people just learned it differently, thereby exerting less or more of their native influence on it. It has similarities to creole situations, but overall it's a phenomenal case, which means that just sticking the label of "creole" on it is rather inaccurate. It also makes it all the more interesting to research.
Maltese is completely excluded from the creole debate because it is a direct continuation of the dialect of Arabic spoken in the region. It, unlike Hebrew, has always had native speakers for as long as it's existed. It hasn't lost the Semitic conjugation system by any means either.
By the way, grammatical complexity is often retained in creoles, so it's sort of irrelevant to talk about the Semitic conjugation system being preserved in Modern Hebrew to determine whether or not it is a creole. In fact, most creoles in the world take their lexicon (i.e. vocabulary) from one language and their grammar and most, if not all, of its morphological complexity from another.BasicDeer (talk) 00:31, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Argumenta, non homines[edit]

In the classification section, how about instead of having a list of creole scholars we have a list of actual, sourced arguments as to what Modern Hebrew should be classified as? In other words, if Modern Hebrew is, say, non-Semitic, then what makes it such: aspects of phonology, morphology, syntax, lexis, what? (talk) 02:06, 28 January 2015 (UTC)