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Hebrew language


Hebrew (/ˈhiːbruː/; עברית ʿIvrit [ʔivˈʁit] or [ʕivˈɾit] is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Hebrew Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE, in the form of primitive drawings, although "the question of the language used in this inscription remained unanswered, making it impossible to prove whether it was in fact Hebrew or another local language. History Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. In turn, the Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of languages. According to Avraham ben-Yosef, Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, during about 1200 to 586 BCE] Scholars debate the degree to which Hebrew was a spoken vernacular in ancient times following the Babylonian exile, when the predominant international language in the region was Old Aramaic. ORIGINS The history of the Hellenic language, and therewith of the Hellenic people, goes back to the Mycenaean civilization of about 1400–1100 BCE, which itself was the heir of the pre-Hellenic civilization of Minoan Crete. The Mycenaean civilization consisted of little monarchies of an Oriental type with an administration operated by a bureaucracy, and it seems to have operated an educational system designed for the training of scribes similar to those of the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. But continuity did not exist between this education and that which was to develop after a period of obscurity known as the Greek Dark Age, dating approximately from the 11th to the 8th century. Syntax Like most other languages, the vocabulary of the Hebrew language is divided into verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so on, and its sentence structure can be analyzed by terms like object, subject, and so on. However, speakers of languages such as English, French, Urdu or Persian may find the structure of Hebrew sentences quite surprising.