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Encyclopedia > Biblical Hebrew language
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This article describes the Biblical dialects of Hebrew. These flourished between the 12th and 6th centuries BCE and comprise all of the Hebrew Bible but for several Aramaic sections and isolated loanwords. Image File history File links Wiki_letter_w. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ...


The precise meaning of the term Biblical Hebrew varies with context and may refer to any of the following:

  • all Hebrew dialects found in the Hebrew Bible, including the Archaic Biblical, Biblical, and Late Biblical Hebrew dialects
  • the Hebrew of only the corpus of the Hebrew Bible itself, not including other texts - such as inscriptions - that use related Hebrew dialects
  • Tiberian Hebrew, also called Masoretic Hebrew, which is an early-medieval vocalization of the Hebrew Bible's ancient consonantal text

As Biblical-Hebrew vocalization is derived from the Masoretic system applied to ancient texts, Biblical Hebrew is somewhat a mixture of these elements. It is the mixed language that is discussed in this article. Hebrew redirects here. ... Tiberian Hebrew is an oral tradition of pronunciation for ancient forms of Hebrew, especially the Hebrew of the Bible, that was given written form by masoretic scholars in the Jewish community at Tiberias in the early middle ages, beginning in the 8th century. ...


Biblical Hebrew, sometimes called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of the Hebrew language, in which the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh was written, and which the ancient Israelites spoke. Hebrew language most commonly refers to Modern Hebrew; in historical contexts, it commonly refers to the Biblical Hebrew language. ... TaNaKh [תנ״ך] (also Tanach, IPA: or ), is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... An Israelite is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of the Biblical patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel by God in the book of Genesis, 32:28 The Israelites were a group of Hebrews, as described in the Bible. ...


It is not spoken in its pure form today, although it is studied by religious Jews – as well as Christian theologians, linguists and Israeli archaeologists – for practical application and deeper understanding in their studies of the Torah and its commentaries. Jews usually learn it when studying ancient scriptures. Classical Hebrew is taught in most if not all public schools in Israel. It has been suggested that Christian theological controversy be merged into this article or section. ... Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. ... Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Poo Poo Tlak Torah () is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. Itlucky is the central and most important document of Judaism revered by Jews through the ages. ...


Modern evolutions, or adaptions, of Classical Hebrew are in active use today, mostly in the form of various modern Jewish dialects of Hebrew, as well as Samaritan Hebrew language, which is used primarily by the Samaritans. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... A dialect (from the Greek word διάλεκτος, dialektos) is a variety of a language used by people from a particular geographic area. ... The Samaritan Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew as pronounced and written by the Samaritans. ... For other uses, see Samaritan (disambiguation). ...


From a linguistic point of view, the Classical Hebrew language is usually divided into two periods: Biblical Hebrew, and Roman Era Hebrew, having very distinct grammatical patterns. Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. ...


Biblical Hebrew is further divided into the so called 'Golden Age' Hebrew (1200 BCE to 500 BCE) and 'Silver Age' Hebrew (500 BCE to 60 BCE). Silver Age Hebrew has many borrowings from Aramaic, for example the use of the conditional particle illu (אִלוּ) replacing (לוּ). Another shibboleth between the two, is the use of the relative pronoun ʾšr (אשר) (introducing a Restrictive clause, 'that') in the earlier period, being replaced with the prefix š- (-ש) in the later, both being used in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew. (Redirected from 1200 BC) Centuries: 14th century BC - 13th century BC - 12th century BC Decades: 1250s BC 1240s BC 1230s BC 1220s BC 1210s BC - 1200s BC - 1190s BC 1180s BC 1170s BC 1160s BC 1150s BC Events and Trends 1204 BC - Theseus, legendary King of Athens is deposed after... Centuries: 7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC Decades: 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC - 450s BC Events and Trends 509 BC - Foundation of the Roman Republic 508 BC - Office of pontifex maximus created... Centuries: 7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC Decades: 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC - 450s BC Events and Trends 509 BC - Foundation of the Roman Republic 508 BC - Office of pontifex maximus created... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC - 60s BC - 50s BC 40s BC 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC Years: 65 BC 64 BC 63 BC 62 BC 61 BC 60 BC 59 BC 58 BC 57... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ... Look up Shibboleth in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A relative pronoun is a pronoun that marks a relative clause within a larger sentence. ... In syntax, the concept of restrictiveness applies to a variety of syntactical constructions. ... The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ...


Roman Era Hebrew, or Mishnaic Hebrew, was further influenced by the Greek and the Parsi, mainly through the dialect of Aramaic which was the Lingua franca of the area at the time. The Mishnaic Hebrew language or Rabbinic Hebrew language is the ancient descendant of Biblical Hebrew as preserved by the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, and definitively recorded by Jewish sages in writing the Mishnah and other contemporary documents. ... Persian, also called Farsi or Parsi, is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, Tajikistan and by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... Aramaic is a Semitic language with a four-thousand year history. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ...


Biblical Hebrew is easily read by anyone familiar with modern Hebrew. The differences are mainly in grammar and Biblical Hebrew's distinct writing style, which sometimes make it a difficult task interpreting its meaning. Although Modern and Biblical Hebrew's grammar laws are often very different, elements of Biblical Hebrew are often used in literary Modern Hebrew. Elements of Biblical Hebrew are also often used in conversation and in the Israeli media.


The Biblical Hebrew language is sometimes referred to as "the flame alphabet" because many devout Jews believe that the Torah is the literal word of God written in fire. Poo Poo Tlak Torah () is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. Itlucky is the central and most important document of Judaism revered by Jews through the ages. ...

Contents

Descendant languages

The Samaritan Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew as pronounced and written by the Samaritans. ... The Mishnaic Hebrew language or Rabbinic Hebrew language is the ancient descendant of Biblical Hebrew as preserved by the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, and definitively recorded by Jewish sages in writing the Mishnah and other contemporary documents. ... Tiberian Hebrew is an oral tradition of pronunciation for ancient forms of Hebrew, especially the Hebrew of the Bible, that was given written form by masoretic scholars in the Jewish community at Tiberias in the early middle ages, beginning in the 8th century. ... The Yemenite Hebrew language or Temani Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew traditionally used by Yemenite Jews. ... The Sephardi Hebrew language is an offshoot of Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. ... The Ashkenazi Hebrew language is a descendant of Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Ashkenazi Jewish practice. ... Hebrew redirects here. ...

Phonology

The phonology as reconstructed for Biblical Hebrew is as follows (from Lambdin, with modifications): The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... Because of technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... This is a concise version of the International Phonetic Alphabet for English sounds. ...

Name Letter Phoneme and Allophone (IPA)
’ālep̄ א /ʔ/
bêṯ ב /b/ - [v] allophonically
gîmel ג /ɡ/ - [ɣ] allophonically
dāleṯ ד /d/ - [ð] allophonically
ה /h/, null at the end of words
wāw ו /w/, null after /o/ or /u/
zayin ז /z/
ḥeṯ ח /ħ/
ṭēṯ ט /tˁ/
yōḏ י /j/, null after /ɛ/, /e/, or /i/
kap̄ כ, ך /k/ - [x] allophonically
lāmeḏ ל /l/
mēm מ, ם /m/
nûn נ, ן /n/
sāmeḵ ס /s/
‛ayin ע /ʕ/
pēh פ, ף /p/ - [f] allophonically
ṣāḏēh צ, ץ /sˁ/
qōp̄ ק /kˁ/ (or possibly /q/)
rēš ר /r/
śîn/šîn ש [ɬ], [ʃ]
tāw ת /t/ - [θ] allophonically

Biblical Hebrew had a vowel system based on the cardinal vowels /i u e o a/, which occurred in short, long, and extra-long [citation needed] forms. Some follow Lambdin's use of macrons to mark long vowels and circumflexes to mark extra-long ones. Aside from these vowels, there were also four "reduced", extra-short ones, ə, ă, ĕ, and ŏ (all but the schwa, /ə/ seem to have been allophonic). The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... A macron, from Gr. ... The circumflex ( ˆ ) (more commonly known as an uppen) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek, French, Esperanto, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Japanese romaji, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans, and other languages. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet uses a breve, , to indicate a vowel with less than nomal duration. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... In phonetics, an allophone is one of several similar phones that belong to the same phoneme. ...


Historical sound changes

Consonantism

As Biblical Hebrew (BH) evolved from Proto-Semitic (PS) it underwent a number of mergers[1],[2]: Proto-Semitic is the hypothetical proto-language of the Semitic languages. ...

  • PS */ð/ and */z/ merged as BH /z/
  • PS */θ/ and */ʃ/ merged as BH /ʃ/
  • PS */θˁ/, */ɬˁ/, and */sˁ/ merged as BH /sˁ/
  • PS */s/ and */ɬ/ merged as BH /s/ (but were spelled with different letters, samekh and sin respectively)
  • PS */ɣ/ and */ʕ/ merged as BH /ʕ/1)
  • PS */x/ and */ħ/ merged as BH /ħ/1)
  • PS */w/ and */j/ merged as BH /j/ in word-initial position; > Ø between vowels
  • PS */ʕ/ > BH Ø (with compensatory lengthening) in the syllable coda (e.g. PS */raʕs/ "head" > BH רֹאס /ro:s/.
  • PS */-át/ > BH /-á ː/ in the ending of the feminine; not in the status constructus).
  • PS */h/ > BH Ø between vowels in the pronominal suffix (with contraction, see below).
1) Greek transcriptions (see also "Various names in Hebrew and Greek".) provide evidence that Biblical Hebrew maintained the proto-Semitic consonants /ɣ/, /x/ for longer than the writing system might suggest. Thus ʿǍmōrāh (עֲמוֹרָה) is transcribed as Gómorrha (Γόμορρα) in Greek, whereas ʿĒḇer (עֵבֶר) is transcribed as Éber (Ἔβερ) with no intrusive g; since comparative Semitic evidence shows that proto-Semitic */ɣ/ and */ʕ/ both became `ayin (ע) in later Hebrew, this suggests that the distinction was still maintained in Classical times. Similarly Raħēl (רָחֵל) is transcribed as Rhakhḗl (Ῥαχήλ), whereas Yisˁħāq (יִצְחָק) becomes Isaák (Ἰσαάκ).

Samekh is the fifteenth letter of the Phoenician and Hebrew alphabets. ... Shin (also spelled Sin or Sheen) is the twenty-first letter in many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic (in abjadi order, 12th in modern order). ... Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... The status constructus or construct state is a noun form occurring in Semitic languages (such as Arabic and Hebrew) and in the extinct Egyptian language. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Syneresis. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ... Sodom redirects here. ... Eber (עֵבֶר, Standard Hebrew , Tiberian Hebrew , Arabic: هود) is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. ... Ayin is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... Rachel (Hebrew: , Russian: , also spelled Rachael) Ewe, also innocence and gentility of a rose and may mean lovely. Standard Hebrew Raḥel, Tiberian Hebrew Rāḫēl, Rāḥēl) is the second and favorite wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, first mentioned in the Book of Genesis of... It has been suggested that Ishaq be merged into this article or section. ...

Vocalism

  • PS */á:/ > BH /o:/; in word-final position > /a:/
  • PS */a:/ > BH /a:/
  • PS */í:/ > BH /i:/ or, before ה ח ע, /i:a/ (páṯaḥ furtivum);
in word-final position regularly > /ɛ:/
  • PS */ú:/ > BH /u:/ or, before ה ח ע, /u:a/(páṯaḥ furtivum)
  • PS */ó:/ > BH /o:/
  • PS */o:, u:/ > BH /u:/;
in an open syllable before a following */o:/ > BH /i:/
  • PS */a, i, u/ > Ø in word-final position
  • PS */a, i, u/ in open unstressed syllables > Ø ("šəwa mobile") two or more syllables before the stressed syllable;
before or after א ה ח ע > /a/ ("ḥāṭēp̄ pátaḥ") or, if the adjacent syllable has /e, ɛ/ or /o, ɔ/, /ɛ/ ("ḥāṭēp̄ seḡōl") and / ɔ/ ("ḥāṭēp̄ qāmeṣ") respectively;
in verbs also in the second syllable of the word if the following syllable is stressed;
in nouns in the second syllable of status constructus > /ə/ (the consonant carrying the šeəwa is marked with "dāḡēš dirimens" or the following consonant is fricative, indicating that it was preceded by a vowel).
  • PS */á/ > BH /a:/ in open syllables (sometimes /a/, /ɛ/)
  • PS */a/ > BH Ø;
immediately before the stress > /a:/ (”qāmeṣ antetonicum”);
in closed syllables > /i/
  • PS */í, ú/ > BH /e:, o:/ or, before ה ח ע, /e:a, o:a/ ("páṯaḥ furtivum");
in closed syllables in verbal forms > /e, o/ or, before ה ח ע, /a/;
in syllables that were closed already in Proto-Semitic > /a/ ("Philippi’s law")
  • PS */i/ > BH /i/ or, before or after ה ח ע, /a/;
immediately before the stress > /e:/ ("ṣērē antetonicum")
  • PS */u/ > BH Ø ("šeəwa mobile") or /ɔ/ (”ḥāṭēp̄ qāmeṣ”);
in closed syllables > /ɔ/ ("qāmeṣ qāṭān") or, before a geminated consonant, /u/
  • PS */áw/ > BH /a:w/
  • PS */aw/ > BH /o:/
  • PS */áy/ > BH /ay/ or in an open syllable, /e:/ or, in word-final position, /ɛ:/
  • PS */ay/ > BH /e:/
  • Contractions after loss of PS */h/ in the pronominal suffix:
*/-a-hu:/ > /-o:/
*/-a-ha:/ > /-a:/
*/-a-hɛm/ > /-a:m/
*/-e:-hɛm/ > /-e:m/
*/-i:-hu:/ > /-i:w/
*/-i:-hɛm/ > /-i:m/
*/-u:-hɛm/ > /-u:m/
*/-ay-hu:/ > /-a:w/

In linguistics and phonology, schwa is the tonally-neutral, mid-central unrounded vowel sound, exactly in the middle of the vowel chart. ... In linguistics and phonology, schwa is the tonally-neutral, mid-central unrounded vowel sound, exactly in the middle of the vowel chart. ...

Resources

  • Kautzsch, E. (ed.) Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar. Eng. ed. A. E. Cowley. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910.
  • Lambdin, Thomas O. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. London: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971.
  • Würthwein, Ernst. The Text of the Old Testament (trans. Erroll F. Rhodes) Grand Rapids: Wm.B.Eardmans Publishing. 1995. ISBN 0-8028-0788-7.

Notes

  1.   S. Moscati et al. (1964). An Introduction to the Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages, Phonology and Morphology. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  2.   G. Bergsträsser. (1983). Introduction to the Semitic Languages. Translated by Peter T. Daniels. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.
  3. ISBN 1-56563-206-0 Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon by Francis Brown, S. Driver, C. Briggs

Wiesbaden is a city in central Germany. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Peter T. Daniels is a scholar of writing systems. ... Winona Lake is a town located in Kosciusko County, Indiana. ...

External links



Chaim Menachem Rabin (1915 - 1996)was an Israeli professor of Hebraic and semitic languages, of German origin. ...

  Jewish Languages edit  
Afro-Asiatic
Hebrew eras: Biblical | Mishnaic | Medieval | Modern
dialects: Ashkenazi | Sephardi | Yemenite | Sanaani | Tiberian | Mizrahi | Samaritan Hebrew
Judeo-Aramaic (Aramaic): Biblical | Barzani | Hulaulá | Lishana Deni | Lishán Didán | Lishanid Noshan | Targum | Samaritan Aramaic
Judeo-Arabic (Arabic): Judeo-Iraqi | Judeo-Moroccan | Judeo-Yemeni | Judeo-Libyan | Judeo-Algerian
Other: Cushitic: Kayla | Qwara Berber: Judeo-Berber
Indo-European
Yiddish (Germanic) dialects: Eastern | Western | Litvish | Poylish | Ukrainish | Klezmer-loshn
derivates: Yeshivish | Yinglish
institutions: YIVO | Yiddish Theater | National Yiddish Book Center
Judeo-Romance (Romance): Catalanic | Judeo-Italian | Ladino | La‘az | Shuadit | Zarphatic | Lusitanic | Judeo-Aragonese | Tetuani
Judeo-Persian (Aryan): Bukhori | Juhuri | Dzhidi | Judeo-Hamedani | Judeo-Shirazi | Judeo-Esfahani | Judeo-Kurdish | Judeo-Yazdi
Judeo-Kermani | Judeo-Kashani | Judeo-Borujerdi | Judeo-Khunsari | Judeo-Golpaygani | Judeo-Nehevandi
Other: Yevanic (Hellenic) | Knaanic (Slavic) | Judæo-Marathi (Indic)
Turkic Dravidian Kartvelian
Krymchak | Karaim Judeo-Malayalam Gruzinic

  Results from FactBites:
 
Hebrew Language - MSN Encarta (623 words)
Modern Hebrew was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries from the ancient written form of the language.
Hebrew was preserved, however, as the language of ritual and sacred writing and through the centuries has undergone periodic literary revivals.
The language is written from right to left and employs an alphabet of 22 characters; the vocabulary is based on biblical Hebrew and the syntax on Mishnaic Hebrew.
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