Talk:Revival of the Hebrew language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


This article anachronistically refers to "Israel" when it was still Ottoman or British Palestine. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lollk (talkcontribs)

Those are just political boundaries; Canaan and Israel are long-acknoweldged terms of use for this area for whatever time-period is under discussion as geographic localities.HammerFilmFan (talk) 14:10, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

"Dead Language"[edit]

This article contains the following paragraph:

"The term "revival" may not exactly fit the circumstances of this process as Hebrew was never a dead language. Contrarily, it was widely used and recognized by many and had undergone numerous developments over the course of time. The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage, nevertheless, is entirely unique, and modern linguistics has no other incident in which a language devoid of native speakers became a national and multisystematic language of wide usage in a number of decades."

A "dead language" is defined as one which no longer has any native speakers, no matter how widely it is used by people who speak it as a second language. Latin was quite widely used in the church and in academia, and even underwent changes, for centuries after it had become "dead." Likewise, Hebrew was used for centuries as a religious and academic language among the Jews long after it ran out of native speakers and became dead.

Linguofreak 03:34, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Very misleading. Will edit. Drmaik (talk) 13:34, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Ever Spoken?[edit]

As an Israeli Jewish person I am very curious; what scientific/encyclopedic/logical proof is there that the Hebrew language, or something which may be recognized as such (no matter the name by which it was called), was actually ever used for a spoken language? (Who spoke hebrew? when? etc.) (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 17:04, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I assume you mean prior to its modern revival? The evidence is clear, it's the written records. Written Hebrew only represents the sounds of a spoken language, just as almost every other writing system in the world does.-- (talk) 08:10, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
This is true. There are also accounts of Jews of different sub-ethnicities using Hebrew to communicate in the Levant throughout the 19th century. - Lazer Stein (talk) 13:37, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

If you review the reports of travelers and consulate workers from the 19th century before Eliezer Ben Yehudah, you find that the lingua franca between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews was Hebrew. Not only that, completely secular documents such as sales contracts were written in Hebrew. One can easily go to and read Hebrew newspapers from the 1860's written in a very modern Hebrew. In short, spoken Hebrew never died. What happened is that the secular Zionist movement's leaders didn't know Hebrew that well, and assumed incorrectly that Hebrew only existed in its written form, and couldn't be the basis of a modern state. Ben Yehudah led the fight to continue Hebrew as the lingua franca of the Jews of the Land of Israel, and in this respect his contribution was enormous. However, he did not revive Hebrew, as it was alive and flourishing at all times throughout Jewish history, and especially in the wake of the true 1st Aliyah, which was the followers of Rabbi Eliahu of Vilna (the Gra) and various chassidic groups, who came in large numbers starting in 1808. The more one reads the Hebrew of the pre-Zionist Jewish community of the Holy Land, the more one realizes how unhistorical is the claim that Hebrew was ever even remotely close to dying. (talk —Preceding undated comment added 08:49, 7 June 2013 (UTC)


"Throughout all periods, Hebrew signified for both its proponents and detractors the antithesis of Yiddish" really? How about a cite?

"Against the exilic, rabbinical, and bourgeois Yiddish language stood revived Hebrew, a language of secularism, Zionism, of grassroots pioneers," What dumbfuck wrote that? If anything, hebrew was the 'rabbinical, bourgeois' language. Why do you think the soviets encouraged yiddish and suppressed hebrew in the jewish oblast?

"and above all of the transformation of the Jewish nation to a Hebrew nation with its own land." What the * does that mean, *? We're not privy to your internal thought processes. (talk)

thank you for your contructive, intelligent criticisms -- (talk) 16:38, 15 September 2010 (UTC)


NO - This article is fine the way it is (although it needs more referencing). It is a history article and should remain that way--Gilabrand (talk) 04:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC).

See my comment below. I actually agree that it makes little sense to merge to here; this is the result of what I see as a larger problem. I think Hebrew Grammar should merge to Modern Hebrew, but the latter is only a subsection that claims here as the main article, which is why I put the merge tag here.Lhynard (talk) 12:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I strongly object to User:Lhynard's suggestion to merge this article into Revival of the Hebrew language. This clearly violates the standard set by sets of articles related to other languages, and seems unmotivated. Mo-Al (talk) 04:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I also strongly oppose. Frankly, I find this a proposal ill conceived. See Category:Grammars of specific languages that "grammar of language" articles are commonplace. The story of the revival of the language (as a language spoken in day-to-day life, not as a language per se, since Hebrew has been in use throughout the ages) is a different story. Debresser (talk) 07:55, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
In my defense, I wanted to suggest a merger into Modern Hebrew (not this article), as the Hebrew grammar article clearly states that it is describing Modern Hebrew. However, Modern Hebrew redirects to a section heading, which further links out to Revival of the Hebrew language. Frankly, I find that rather odd. Maybe it's just me, but in my organized way of thinking, Modern Hebrew would be a main article, with its history and its grammar as sections, each of which could link out with a "See main article..." to this article and Hebrew grammar. If I wanted to learn about the grammar of a given language, I would type the name of the language into into Wikipedia and expect to find it under one of the section subheadings of the main article or at least a link from there.
By the way, I'm not entirely crazy. What I describe is exactly how it works with English language. There is a main article for the language with subsections for both History and Grammar, each of which links out to a larger article, History of the English language and English grammar, respectively.
Anyhow, that's why I suggested it. Suggestions are just that, so feel free to remove the tag.Lhynard (talk) 12:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree we need more consistency. If "Hebrew" consistently refers to modern Hebrew on Wikipedia, we should agree on that and make a separate Biblical Hebrew grammar article. But the merger makes no sense. Instead, I'll change the Modern Hebrew redirect to go to Hebrew language, as makes more sense. Mo-Al (talk) 20:16, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Difference in dialects (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, etc)[edit]

I just undid some edits that added some new information, but did so in a seemingly biased way. I'm unsure whether the factual information is correct so I wanted to open up discussion here to see if it could be added in without also expressing a POV. Here are the parts I removed:

  • There is a distinction between Sephardi and Mizrahi Hebrew. Here is how the editor expressed it:
    • Sephardi Hebrew, used by Sephardi Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, Turkey, and occasionally Iran and France, preserved certain aspects of the Tiberian pronunciation. The schwa is pronounced in all places as a short "e", and the dagesh only applies to certain letters. The "tav" is always pronounced as "t", with or without dagesh (except in certain dialects where it is pronounced as a th without a dagesh). The gutturals are pronounced correctly (i.e. ḥeth is pronounced correctly and NOT as the ch in Bach like it is pronounced in Modern Hebrew).There are two possibilities: the difference disappeared over time in the Sephardic pronunciations, or it never was there in the first place: the pronunciation stems from a separate Hebrew dialect, which always was there, and which e.g. the masoretes did not use as reference.
    • Mizrahi Hebrew is spoken by the Jews of Arab Countries (i.e. Iraq, Syria etc.) excluding Yemen. It is similar to Sephardi Hebrew except that it recognizes all double letters (i.e. taw and thaw, gimel and ghimel, daleth and dhaleth, etc.) and pronounces the Vav as a w as it was originally pronounced.
      • Is this information correct? Is there any indication that some pronunciations are more original or correct?
        • I believe that there is no critical consensus on which dialect is more correct. Does more "correct" mean more "Biblical"? - Lazer Stein (talk) 13:39, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Yemenite Hebrew is very similar to Mizrahi Hebrew, with some distinctions:
    • Yemenite Hebrew, which, thought by some[according to whom?] to preserve almost all the Classical Hebrew pronunciation, was barely known where the revival took place. It is almost exactly the same as Mizrahi Hebrew. The only differences are the pronunciation of the gimel as jimel and slight differences in the pronunciation of vowels.

Is this information sourced enough to warrant including? Is it covered by the mention of subsets of pronunciation?

Thanks! Banjaloupe (talk) 21:46, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

What should be noted is BY's connection to Arabic, and his turn to that language to influence spoken Hebrew, e.g. taking words from Arabic, wanting to be more "Eastern". The Zuckerman article referenced is REALLY interesting, and is true of the larger population, but BY himself saw cultural Zionism as an expression of Eastern-ness - Lazer Stein (talk) 13:50, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Unique resurrection?[edit]

The process of Hebrew's return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million such native speakers. Really??? What about Czech? (I realize that this isn't 100% natural, much being 'reconstructed' (invented) by Josef Jungmann, but it sounds as though the same is true for modern Hebrew). --catslash (talk) 00:45, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


While the article speaks about the opponents and opposition, it fails to actually discuss their point of view. There are still many critics of modern Hebrew, especially within the large religious community. (talk) 20:43, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

I removed this tag. There isn't much about modern opposition to the revival. If you have specific material from reliable sources, please add it. Oren0 (talk) 00:05, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
More on the religious opposition, historic at least, need to be added. Glaring omission. Chesdovi (talk) 13:03, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

War of Languages & Technion, style edit[edit]

Fascinating article. In some sections, American English readers may have difficulty following the narrative and its sequence of events. In particular, where the previous edit stated "the whole of the Yishuv rose up against this standpoint and forced the group to admit defeat," it is unclear whom "group" means; readers can infer either the Company to Aid or a subgroup within the Yishuv itself. The phrase "rose against" suggests force or violence where only opinion about the school's language is almost certainly at issue. That Hebrew in fact became the curricular language should be emphasized by a clause at the end. So I rewrote the one paragraph for style, noting the Technion's campus already under construction and pointing to Technion's web site. Also added brief description of calque and put in parentheses. Jessegalebaker (talk) 20:09, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

Source for the lack of native speakers for about 1700 years?[edit]

Is there a source for "Hebrew ended in the 2nd century CE, Hebrew had not been spoken as a mother tongue."? --Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven (talk) 19:39, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Exactly, Hebrew was extinct. It still is. Modern Hebrew is a different languageRoyalcourtier (talk) 21:43, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

Revival or re-creation?[edit]

I am not sure that the title is correct. Hebrew is largely an invented language. Only a minority of words were from the original Hebrew. Grammar and pronunciation are new. ~I submit that the language was created, rather than revived, and that the title of the article should be "Creation of the modern Hebrew language".Royalcourtier (talk) 21:43, 9 January 2017 (UTC)