Sunday, July 17, 2016

Revival of Hebrew

The revival of the Hebrew language began at the end of the nineteenth century. Hebrew changed from the sacred language of Judaism to the spoken and written language of Israel. The revival of Hebrew is unique in history. There are no other examples of a natural language with no native speakers acquiring millions of native speakers.

The revival of Hebrew included linguistic additions. It incorporated characteristics from various periods of the Hebrew language and other languages used by Jewish communities around the world. Of these languages, Yiddish was the predominant.

With the rise of Jewish nationalism in nineteenth century Europe, many Jews believed that one of the criteria needed to define a nation was the use of a common language. In the early twentieth century, the Hebrew School Program founded in Palestine created a few hundred fluent Hebrew speakers. This proved that Hebrew could be used on a daily basis.

After World War II, it was clear that Hebrew would become the language of Israel. Though the immigrants to Israel did not speak Hebrew as a mother tongue, their children learned it as a native language. This made it possible to revive Hebrew and make it the official language of Israel. This revival can truly be considered remarkable.

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