The Survival of Yiddish beneath Israeli

Phenicuckoo Cross Zuckermann

Today it is Hebrew Language Day. It is each year on 21 tevet, which is Eliezer Ben Yehuda‘s birthday. For that occasion, Ghil’ad Zuckermann displays his view on the underlying roots of the Israeli language.
First, a little background information:

Background on the Hebrew language

Hebrew was spoken after the so-called conquest of Canaan (c. thirteenth century BC). Following a gradual decline (even Jesus, ‘King of the Jews’, was a native speaker of Aramaic rather than Hebrew), it ceased to be spoken by the second century AD. The Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Romans in Judaea in AD 132-5 marks the symbolic end of the period of spoken Hebrew. For more than 1700 years thereafter, Hebrew was comatose, …

A language without a nation

400px PS mapo 2015

”Now that I am dating an Italian, I will have to start learning Italian”… “I am going to Portugal during my summer vacation, can I borrow your dictionary?” … In Europe we are used to countries having each their language – Denmark has Danish, Sweden has Swedish, Germany has German and so on. But this is a truth with modifications. First of all, countries can contain more than one language, either minority languages such as German in Southern Jutland and Danish in the Flensburg area, or like entire language areas such as Greenlandic and Faroese in Denmark or Sorbian in Germany. Not to mention countries like India or China, which each contain hundreds of languages. Second, several countries can “share” …