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Etymology and History of Hebrew Language: – The term Hebrew is derived from various ancient languages like Old French, Latin, Ancient Greek, and Aramaic, ultimately […]

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Etymology and History of Hebrew Language:
– The term Hebrew is derived from various ancient languages like Old French, Latin, Ancient Greek, and Aramaic, ultimately originating from Biblical Hebrew.
– Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages within the Northwest Semitic family.
– Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah from about 1200 to 586 BCE.
– Hebrew was extinct as a colloquial language by late antiquity but continued as a literary language, especially in Spain.
– Hebrew was used as the language of commerce between Jews of different native languages and as the liturgical language of Judaism until its revival in the late 19th century.

Oldest Hebrew Inscriptions and Usage of Hebrew:
– Various ancient inscriptions like the Shebna Inscription, the Gezer calendar, and others provide insights into the development of Hebrew language.
– Modern Hebrew is the main language of the Yishuv in Palestine and the official language of Israel.
– Estimates suggest over nine million Hebrew speakers worldwide in 2013.
– Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel, with pre-revival forms of Hebrew used for prayer or study in Jewish and Samaritan communities.
– Hebrew is studied by non-Israeli Jews, students in Israel, archaeologists, linguists, and theologians in Christian seminaries.

Revival and Development of Hebrew Language:
– Hebrew was revived as a spoken language in the 19th century, led by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, driven by the rise of Zionism.
– The creation of a modern version of the ancient language was successful, making Hebrew the official language of Israel.
– Nearly all of the Hebrew Bible is written in Biblical Hebrew, with different dialects existing over various historical periods.
– Hebrew is the only successful large-scale example of linguistic revival and one of the only two Northwest Semitic languages still spoken today.

Evolution of Hebrew Script and Post-Biblical Hebrew Development:
– Hebrew script evolved from old Semitic script to the Imperial Aramaic script and eventually to the Hebrew square script.
– Different forms of Hebrew language like Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew, and Rabbinic Hebrew were used in various historical periods.
– Hebrew evolved as a spoken language alongside Aramaic but eventually declined as a spoken language around 200 CE.

Influence of Aramaic on Hebrew and Language Dynamics in Ancient Israel:
– Aramaic became the primary colloquial language alongside Hebrew, displacing it as the everyday spoken language by the beginning of the Common Era.
– Hebrew continued as a literary language after being displaced by Aramaic, indicating a multilingual society in ancient Israel.
– The roles of different languages like Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in ancient Israel were defined based on their functions in various aspects of society, such as government, prayer, study, and trade.

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