Hebrew: The Eternal Language

Hebrew: The Eternal Language

Hebrew: The Eternal Language

Hebrew: The Eternal Language

Excerpt

Barely a decade or two ago there were people who maintained that Hebrew was not a living language.Now, the "sacred language" of the past is the daily vernacular of hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel.There the language lives in the mouths of school children, bootblacks, busmen, cab drivers, cabaret singers, lawyers, doctors and officials, of the religious, irreligious and anti-religious—indeed, of everyone. The thick horizontal strokes and thin verticals of the Hebrew alphabet are blazoned all over the country on posters, advertising signs, stamps and coins; on highways, shops, stores and hotels.Hebrew slang, colloquialisms and even curses are freely coined; while the Hebrew Language Academy (formerly, Vaad ha-Lashon), composed of outstanding scholars and writers and sponsored by the Israel government, is vigilantly on guard against the intrusion of any solecisms or barbarisms that might impair the purity of the language.From time to time, moreover, this Academy publishes lists of technical terms covering every branch and aspect of science, industry, technology and the like: some ten thousand new words have gained currency since the establishment of the State of Israel.At least four theatrical companies offer regular performances—all, of course, in Hebrew.Thousands of . . .

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