[b-hebrew] Hebrew - a live language throughout the generations (was Hebrew dead language etc.)

Yodan yodan at yodanco.com
Wed Dec 29 14:46:38 EST 2010



I apologize in advance for not reading all the recent posts on whether
Hebrew is (has been) a live, dead, or resurrected from the dead language. 


Therefore, I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the book Ivrit Safa Meduberet
("Hebrew - A Spoken Language") by Shlomo Haramati, a professor at the Hebrew
University. This slim, easy-read book, published in 2000, reviews the use of
Hebrew throughout the generations and discusses/debunks the myth that Hebrew
was a dead language that was "resurrected" by Ben-Yehuda. 


One of the points in this book is that while Ben-Yehuda's efforts and
accomplishments in inventing new words and in making the daily use of Hebrew
as a primary language are invaluable and are certainly acknowledged, it is
incorrect to consider Hebrew a dead language. 


Because it is clear (to me and to many others) that today's Hebrew has
evolved from Biblical Hebrew through the continued use of the language, much
as modern English has evolved from old English etc., I don't see how we can
say that Hebrew (or Biblical Hebrew) is a dead language. IMHO a "dead"
language is one that, except for academic researchers, no one is using it in
speaking, writing, teaching, prayer, singing, communicating, etc. 


If Fred, who insists on referring to Hebrew (Biblical Hebrew, I presume) as
a dead language has not done so already, perhaps he'll kindly defined "dead
language" for us. If he has done so, sorry I missed it (as I said, I didn't
read each post on the topic - my apologies).


Bevirkat Kol Tuv,


Rivka Sherman-Gold






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