The Hebrew language origins can be traced back over 3,000 years when the Old Hebrew is documented. Old Hebrew dates to at least the 10th century BCE, although some argue that it may have even older roots.The most well-known form of Hebrew is Biblical Hebrew, which is the language of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament in Christian terminology). This form of Hebrew was used for religious, literary, and administrative purposes in ancient Israel. It is characterized by its distinct script (ancient Hebrew script) and vocabulary. After the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE, the Jewish people stopped speaking Hebrew in order to fit in with the locals, so they spoke Armenian. They only used Hebrew to write, pray and one Sabbat days.
Until the 19th and early 20th century, Hebrew wasn’t spoken in a day-to-day setting. Then came Eliezer Ben Yehuda and revived the language. He modernized it and adapted it for daily use, and this is the modern Hebrew that is being spoken these days. This is language we will learn in class.
How is Hebrew unique?
Hebrew is unique because of how old it is, the history linked to it and the impressive survival and revival it went through. As a sematic language it is similar to Arabic and Aramaic, but it has its own unique grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Now, don’t be scared, because of the reconstruction of the language, it is based on very clear and easy patterns, so compared to other languages like English and French it is easier to learn. It is also unique because it serves as a symbol of Jewish identity and culture.
How Hebrew is different than English
-It is written from right to left.
-It consists of 22 letters, (some of them change shape if placed at the end of a word, how cool!)
-It doesn’t have vowel letter, rather it has vowel signs placed around the letters.
-There are 2 ways to write modern Hebrew. Print and script. We used print on anything that is printed like books and signs. We use script for everyday real-life writing.
-Every noun has a gender, so all the verbs, adjectives, adverbs must change accordingly.
What will you learn in this class?
You will learn how to read print including the vowels, but you will only be asked to write in script. You will learn how to pronounce and speak properly. At the end of the first semester, you will be able to speak about where you come from/ where do you live, what you study/ the university, what you like to do in your free time and discuss food. Basically, At the end of the semester you will be able to have a small talk with a stranger on a street in Israel, or with your favorite cousin of course!
You can go ahead and register for Spring 2024!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Contact Us!