Talk:Modern Hebrew

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See also: Talk:Modern Hebrew language/Archive 1

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda[edit]

@Debresser: shalom. One of the reasons for my posting examples of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda's Modern Hebrew vocabulary is to show that not all words are accepted by Hebrew linguists as being accurate. For example, Ben-Yehuda is accredited with introducing the new Hebrew word "ribah" (Hebrew: רבה‬) for "confiture; fruit conserves; marmalade," believing it to be derived from the lexical root reḇaḇ, and related to the Arabic word murabba (jam; marmalade). (Source:Ha-Zvi (9 March 1888)) Perhaps we should ask here if such an addition is relevant in this article. What I remember hearing in my yeshivah days was that the word "ribah" for marmalade is a misnomer, thought by Ben-Yehuda to be from the Talmudic passage that speaks about Joseph and the things he had given to his brother, Benjamin, and to his father, Jacob: מאי ריבה? מיני מרקחת, when the actual statement was "What did he give more [unto him]? A kind of [fruit] conserves." Anyway, the Modern Hebrew word "ribah" has stuck in the language, which was never used in Hebrew until Ben-Yehuda. Can we get some feedback from our fellow editors if we ought to mention the word "ribah" in this context?Davidbena (talk) 22:43, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

You already added two examples (חציל, חשמל) of a revived word and one of a mistake (כביש). I think even that is more than enough. The place to go into details is Revival of the Hebrew language, where all of this could be in its own section. Debresser (talk) 04:26, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
Even though the title of this article is “Modern Hebrew”? It seems to me that one more example would not hurt the article, especially when nearly all the rabbis agree that the word "ribah" is a misnomer.Davidbena (talk) 16:07, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
How is the second part of your sentence (especially when...) even relevant to the question? Debresser (talk) 18:47, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
@Debresser: What I meant to say is that since Eliezer Ben Yehuda's innovation of this one word "ribah" was not accepted by the rabbis who know linguistics, and who have assured us that it is NOT a correct substitute for the word "fruit conserves" (marmalade), it is all the more right and proper to mention the word as reflecting only a "corrupt" Modern Hebrew, as envisioned by Ben Yehuda. Remember, biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew are a far cry from Modern Hebrew. Many Arabic loanwords are also used in Modern Hebrew (e.g. na'anah for mint, zaatar for marjoram, etc.) when each of these words had a corresponding Hebrew word. This is what I was driving at.Davidbena (talk) 19:14, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Hebrew, is a Semitic language, or Canaanite language?[edit]

It seems that our fellow co-editor, User:AntonSamuel is confused with the origin of the Hebrew language, even though the language has adopted elements of other languages within it. He claims, contrary to a consensus already reached by us (see section "Classification"), that the Hebrew language is a Canaanite language, of Hamitic origin, when the vast majority of scholars claim that it is mainly of Semitic origin, and is cognate with Arabic, Aramaic and Sabaean. Can we please get the input of editors User:Zero0000 and User:Debresser? If Wikipedia articles are to be based on consensus, Anton Samuel's reverts are clearly not based on any consensus. While scholar, Joseph H. Greenberg, does purport to say that Hebrew is part of the Canaanite branch of languages, the matter is actually held in contention.Davidbena (talk) 22:55, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

This is what the classification section specifies: "Modern Hebrew is classified as an Afroasiatic language of the Semitic family and the Canaanite branch of the North-West semitic subgroup.", Canaanite is clearly listed as a subgroup of the Northwestern Semitic language group here, in the language family information in the infobox and as I mentioned the same Semitic-Canaanite classification is also given by Ethnologue: http://www.ethnologue.com/18/language/heb/, what do you take issue with here? AntonSamuel (talk) 23:08, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Joseph H. Greenberg writes (p. 80, in "On the African Affiliation of Hebrew and the Semitic Languages"): "There is no dispute regarding the existence and exact membership of the Semitic family of languages. What controversy exists concerns some aspects of the relatively minor problem of the exact of the exact nature of the mutual relations with the Semitic group." Since Greenberg, himself, holds that both Canaanite and Hebrew are part of the larger Western Semitic language group, at least from the perspective of all scholars being in agreement on the primal origins of Hebrew, we should mention Hebrew as being a Semitic language.Davidbena (talk) 23:13, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Jack Fellman, a PhD. of Bar-Ilan University, says explicitly that Hebrew is a Semitic language. See it here. On the other hand, Joseph H. Greenberg's opinions are not so conclusive, as you can see here, where he wrote (p. 83, in "On the African Affiliation of Hebrew and the Semitic Languages"): "The relationship of Semitic to Indo-European is to be rejected. Semitic is probably related to the Hamitic languages of Africa and is thus part of the Semito-Hamitic family. The membership in Hamitic is not clearly defined, but Egyptian, Berber and Cushitic must certainly be included."Davidbena (talk) 23:27, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Joshua Blau of the Hebrew University also calls Hebrew a "Semitic language," as you can see here (p. 18). I think that it should be obvious to all that having foreign loanwords in the Hebrew language, whether that be Greek, Canaanite, Yiddish, or whatever, doesn't make the Hebrew language another language as a whole, and that, my friend, is what we are dealing with here.Davidbena (talk) 23:35, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

One more thing: As you can see in this Review written by Gary A. Rendsburg of Cornell University, he mentions in the forefront of his article that "the classification of the Semitic languages is still a disputed subject." He mentions, for example, the view of Lipinski (p. 420) who "brackets Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic together as West Semitic." Nevertheless, the author of the Review, on p. 421, alludes to Hebrew as being a Semitic language. So why do you want to mention Hebrew as a Canaanite language when most scholars hold that it is chiefly a Semitic language?Davidbena (talk) 00:13, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict)There are a few relevant discussions with a lot of sources in the archives, if you guys are interested. I'm not sure what the problem here is, though. Canaanite is a Semitic language, so saying a language is Canaanite is also saying it's Semitic. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 00:19, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I agree with NMMNG. The modern classification is that the Canaanite language group belongs to the Semitic family and Hebrew is a member of the Canaanite group. This is a little outside my comfort zone but I checked Rubin, A Brief Introduction to the Semitic Languages (2010), Weninger, The Semitic Languages, An international Handboo (2011), and Lipinski, Semitic Languages (1997). The connection of Canaanite to Hamitic is no longer supported by scholars, though some support an older and more conjectural grouping Afro-Asiatic of which the Semitic languages are part. Zerotalk 01:32, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

It is perhaps best to steer clear from disputes. Since everyone agrees that Hebrew is still a Semitic language, whether it also belongs to the Canaanite branch or not, it's best to mention it as such. The current edit is fine with me.Davidbena (talk) 02:35, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
The text "a Semitic language of the Canaanite branch" is ambiguous, which I assume you didn't intend. It could mean that Hebrew is included in Semitic which is included in Canaanite, but the correct statement is that Hebrew is included in Canaanite which is included in Semitic. I'm not aware of any current dispute over that. I'll try "a member of the Canaanite branch of the Semitic language family". Zerotalk 08:06, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

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