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The Jewish language or Hebrew?
Hebrew is the modern Jewish language of the Semitic family. Hebrew is the liturgical language of Judaism. As a language of communication, it disappeared around the 4th century, but by the 1880s it was restored by the Sephardim. Today, about 7 million people speak Hebrew in Israel and another 2 million of Jews in the world.
But the population in Israel is about 8 million people, the most of them are Jews (76.4%). Other ethnic groups live in the country, such as Arabs, Palestinians and representatives of several other ethnic religious groups – Samaritans, Druze.
The capital of Israel – Jerusalem. ISO language code – IL. The Israel flag – a blue hexagram on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes.
There are many myths around the Hebrew language. Here are the more popular.
Is Arabic the official language in Israel?
Arabic has a special status – the majority of the population speaks Hebrew. The official language of Israel is only Hebrew. Arabic is spoken not only by the Arab and Palestinian minorities living in the country, but also by Jews who came to Israel from Arab countries. Russian and Amharic are also widespread.
Is Yiddish is the same as Hebrew?
The languages are very similar only in script. Yiddish uses Hebrew letters. Yiddish is a German dialect written in Hebrew letters and containing Hebrew words. Also, the Hebrew in Yiddish is pronounced rather differently from modern Hebrew. The languages are very different to be mutually intelligible.
The alphabet consists of 22 letters.
Words are written from right to left (except for numbers). In Hebrew, there is no capital letter either at the beginning of a sentence or at the beginning of a person’s name. There are practically no vowels in the alphabet. Vowels are expressed with special signs, such as periods and hyphens, called “nekudot”. Capital letters are not used for writing; you need to know how to read them.
The letter is not related, i.e. letters are not compatible with each other. In rare cases, due to the speed of writing, they are still in contact with each other. The letters are almost the same (only a few of them protrude or fall out of line). Handwritten semi-oval and oval font. Each letter can also represent a specific number (for example, the letter “ALEF” = 1, “BET” = 2, etc.)
Hebrew writing examples
- Letter: BET
- Sounds: b, v
- Numerical value (gematria): 2
- Example: ובע = kOva = hat
- בּוקר = bOker = morning
The letter “BET” can transmit 2 sounds: “b” and “v”. With a dot inside (ּב), it reads as “b,” and without a dot, “v.” Remember! If the word begins with the letter “BET,” then it will definitely be “b.” And also this letter ב – a preposition, roughly corresponds to “v” in English.
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