Hebrew Language and Culture

Modern Hebrew is a hybrid language that draws on the influences that migrants brought with them to Israel from their native languages (Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Arabic). Over the course of several generations, these languages and cultures blended together to create a new hybrid language and a new hybrid culture. This course is an introduction to Hebrew culture and the Hebrew language. We will look at the basic features of the Hebrew language, learning some grammar and some useful phrases. We will also explore various aspects of Hebrew culture, including Hebrew music and literature."


COURSE OUTLINE

  • The history of the Hebrew language 1: Modern Hebrew is a language that was revived and in part created in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The main impetus for the revival was the work of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a Russian Jew who moved to Jerusalem in 1881. We will look at Ben-Yehuda’s life, his motives for attempting to revive a language that was not spoken in conversation for centuries, and the socio-political context in which the revival of Hebrew took place.
  • The history of the Hebrew language 2: A main cultural and linguistic tradition for European Jews was the Yiddish tradition. In the Arab world, the millions of Arab Jews mostly spoke Arabic. We look at the way in which the revival of Hebrew fitted in with both these groups of Jews. The politics of language is important to understand in order to fully appreciate the difficulties of reviving the Hebrew language.
  • The basics of Hebrew 1: We will look at the basic features of the Hebrew language. This includes learning how to write and recognise the Hebrew alphabet, pronunciation and some basic useful phrases.
  • The basics of Hebrew 2: Introduction to the grammar of Hebrew and the differences and similarities between modern and biblical Hebrew. We’ll also look at more phrases, some Hebrew idioms, and jokes.
  • Hebrew then and now: We’ll look at the way in which Hebrew (and Hebrew culture) has changed from the late nineteenth century and some of the causes of this (immigration, more influence from the US from the 1980s, native speakers with different backgrounds).
  • Hebrew culture 1: We discuss the claim by Israeli linguist Ghil’ad Zuckerman that modern Hebrew should not be thought of as simply a case of reviving biblical Hebrew into a spoken form. Zuckerman argues that the name of the language should be changed from Hebrew to Israeli because the spoken language in modern Israel is a hybrid language that draws on the influences that migrants brought with them to Israel from their native languages (Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Arabic). We’ll also discuss the differences between Hebrew culture and Jewish culture in general.
  • Hebrew culture 2: We’ll look at some examples of Hebrew music and poetry. We’ll look at translations of songs and poems and use them to better understand the Hebrew language and give us insights into Hebrew culture.
  • Hebrew culture 3: We’ll look at some examples of Hebrew literature. We’ll discuss the approach fiction writers take to their craft. We’ll discuss the way in which the Israel/Palestine conflict influences Hebrew literature, as well as the influence of the Arab Jews. We’ll also look at how the non-Jewish population of Israel (a significant minority) has used Hebrew as a medium for literature.
  • Revision and overview: We’ll revise the details of the Hebrew language and learn some more phrases and more vocabulary.
$258 Limited / $232

<p>Modern Hebrew is a hybrid language that draws on the influences that migrants brought with them to Israel from their native languages (Yiddish, Polish, Russian and Arabic). Over the course of

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16 Oct

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