Remarks on the Nature of Israeli Hebrew

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI:
Remarks on the Nature of Israeli Hebrew

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An analysis of Israeli Hebrew in a broad perspective in culture—including the language of literature, journalism, and science—still awaits detailed research and comprehensive models. Opposition to the Diaspora was initially expressed, as in other countries of immigration, in changing last names and preferring new first names. The names of central Biblical figures, popular in Yiddish, seemed too Jewish and fell into disfavor; those include the names of the fathers of the nation and its prophets: Moshe, Avraham, Sara, Dvora, Rivka, Yitshak, Yirmiyahu, Yeshayahu, Yehezkiel, also the non-Biblical Hayim. Hebrew words identified with Yiddish words were also rejected. The Israeli says Yareakh (moon) and not levana, as in Yiddishi; tsibur (the public), not olam; me'unyan (interested), not ba'alan; rotse (want), not hafets; yimama (a 24-hour day), not me'et-le'et; and ta'anug (pleasure), not mehhaye.

Keywords: Israeli; Hebrew; culture; language; literature; journalism; science; Diaspora; Yiddish; Jewish

Chapter.  2345 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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