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Hebrew language

Hebrew (עִבְרִית or ) is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the 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. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE, declining since the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt. Aramaic and to a lesser extent Greek were already in use as international languages, especially among elites and immigrants. Hebrew survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-Jewish commerce, and poetry. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language. It became the lingua franca of Palestine's Jews, and subsequently of the State of Israel. According to Ethnologue, in 1998, it was the language of 5 million people worldwide. After Israel, the United States has the second largest Hebrew-speaking population, with 220,000 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.

Modern Hebrew is the official language of the State of Israel, while premodern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today. The Samaritan dialect is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in Christian seminaries.

The Torah (the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian captivity. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as (לשון הקדש), "the Holy Language", since ancient times.

The modern English word "Hebrew" is derived from Old French Ebrau, via Latin from the Greek Ἑβραῖος (Hebraîos) and Aramaic 'ibrāy, all ultimately derived from Biblical Hebrew Ibri (עברי), one of several names for the Israelite (Jewish and Samaritan) people. It is traditionally understood to be an adjective based on the name of Abraham's ancestor, Eber, mentioned in. The name is believed to be based on the Semitic root ʕ-b-r (עבר) meaning "beyond", "other side", "across"; interpretations of the term "Hebrew" generally render its meaning as roughly "from the other side [of the river/desert]"—i.e., an exonym for the inhabitants of the land of Israel/Judah, perhaps from the perspective of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, or the Transjordan (with the river referenced perhaps the Euphrates, Jordan, or Litani; or maybe the northern Arabian Desert between Babylonia and Canaan). Compare cognate Assyrian ebru, of identical meaning.

One of the earliest references to the language's name as "Hebrew" is found in the prologue to the Book of Ben Sira, from the 2nd century BCE. The Bible does not use the term "Hebrew" in reference to the language of the Hebrew people.



Israel (إِسْرَائِيل), officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age. The Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian, Persian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces. The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, and in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, expulsion of Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187. The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and later British Mandate Palestine.


Hebrew language (English)  Lingua ebraica (Italiano)  Hebreeuws (Nederlands)  Hébreu (Français)  Hebräische Sprache (Deutsch)  Língua hebraica (Português)  Иврит (Русский)  Idioma hebreo (Español)  Język hebrajski (Polski)  希伯来语 (中文)  Hebreiska (Svenska)  Limba ebraică (Română)  ヘブライ語 (日本語)  Іврит (Українська)  Иврит (Български)  히브리어 (한국어)  Heprea (Suomi)  Bahasa Ibrani (Bahasa Indonesia)  Hebrajų kalba (Lietuvių)  Hebraisk (Dansk)  Hebrejština (Česky)  İbranice (Türkçe)  Хебрејски језик (Српски / Srpski)  Heebrea keel (Eesti)  Hebrejčina (Slovenčina)  Héber nyelv (Magyar)  Hebrejski jezik (Hrvatski)  ภาษาฮีบรู (ไทย)  Hebrejščina (Slovenščina)  Ivrits (Latviešu)  Εβραϊκή γλώσσα (Ελληνικά)  Tiếng Hebrew (Tiếng Việt)