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Language in Time of Revolution$
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Benjamin Harshav

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079588

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079588.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

The Life of “Dead” Hebrew

The Life of “Dead” Hebrew

Chapter:
(p.115) Twenty-Four The Life of “Dead” Hebrew
Source:
Language in Time of Revolution
Author(s):

Benjamin Harshav

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520079588.003.0024

The revival of the language was seen primarily as the task of turning Hebrew into a spoken language. One can easily sense here the competition of Yiddish, which was the native language of all advocates of spoken Hebrew, as well as the general atmosphere of populism which assumed that the everyday speech of simple people is an indispensable base for any high culture. To this day, arguments are made as to whether Hebrew was “dead” or “alive,” and how much speech may constitute its revival. What one calls “language” is a rather complex cluster of social, mental, and linguistic aspects, and each may be active or passive to different degrees at a given time; and “active” may also mean different things: simply “in use” or expanding and innovating. The relations between Hebrew and Yiddish, however, were not limited to the difference between a written language and a spoken language—there were many crossover phenomena.

Keywords:   revival, language, Hebrew, Yiddish, populism, speech

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