Modern Hebrew History
A Brief History of Modern Hebrew Language: The Revival of the Language
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and Israel History
Through my studies I have realized that dead languages, quite frankly, remain dead. All the history and the alphabets’ components spew down a dark hole and people forget about the glorious sounds of it. Lately, however, the Modern Hebrew Language caught my attention.
Aside from being an Israeli history nut, I decided to delve deeper. I did, and knocked into articles on the revival of Hebrew. Reading up on Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, whom I will discuss more in depth soon, motivated me to share my fascinations on all the history that was thrown to me.
Ben-Yehuda and Hebrew Revival
On October 13th, 1881, a group of friends decided to speak Hebrew one day, which made it Israel’s national language today. I never thought such a small action could drastically change centuries to come. Centuries before Ben-Yehuda and the revival, the Bar Kohba war caused the destruction of the Hebrew Language. It was not heard of outside literature and prayer until the 19th century.
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda grew up learning many different languages. Thus, gave him the idea to revive Hebrew. He saw a vision to make Hebrew Israel’s language again. It surely shocked me to see an incredible change in Israel society. The impact it left today on the Jewish state is the continuation of Modern Hebrew with the edition of Arabic and English.
The revival of the literature significantly moved forward when Ben-Yehuda influenced Jerusalem. Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) began to impact society during the 18th and 19th centuries in Germany. Literary and narrative uses started back up because of this enlightenment; a newspaper printed in Hebrew was the Ha-Magid in 1856.
So, the spread of the “dead language” was rapid throughout Eastern Europe, not Jerusalem alone. During the Haskalah, many significant writers in society accepted the language into their works. Some of the most well-known figures are listed below:
- Mendele Mokher Seforim
- A.D. Lebensohn
- M. Mendelssohn
Now, of course, there would have been many grammatical errors in many published works because of both the Yiddish language and Hebrew language clashing together. Tweaking still had to be done, but the influence never stopped.
Palestine and Jewish Immigration
Throughout time we studied all these texts that highlighted migration. I did not acknowledge much of its impacts until I asked myself, “Why are there two dialects in the Modern Hebrew Language anyway?”
The two Hebrew dialects:
When Ben-Yehuda moved to Palestine, he noticed something odd. What was it? Jewish division. There were two different ethnic and cultural groups:
Both groups spoke different Hebrew dialects within the same community. Communication was rough between the two, but the people were surprised by the fact that Ben-Yehuda was able to speak his dialect and have most understand. Hebrew evolved from Palestine, which recovered Israel’s national Hebrew language. Their Haskalah was decades ago, but mine was the ability rediscover this aspect in history, and briefly share its wonders.