Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Yana here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of your most common Hebrew questions.
The question for this lesson is…
Just what is the difference between Biblical and Modern Hebrew?
Now, you may be attracted to Hebrew for any number of reasons. Perhaps you want to communicate with friends or family. Or maybe you're interested in studying the many religious and classical texts written in Hebrew. Depending on your reasons for learning Hebrew, you may end up learning one of two very different languages!
Biblical or Classical Hebrew was an ancient language that first emerged in the 10th century BC. Over the next few centuries, the ancient Hebrew people used it to communicate and to make a record of their history, religion, philosophy, poetry, and culture. A portion of this literary record formed the basis for Hebrew scriptures and also what came to be called the Bible.
During the Roman period, the language evolved beyond recognition and later fell out of use in daily life. But it lived on in religious contexts.
Hebrew experienced a revival in the late 19th century as part of the larger Zionist movement. Thanks to the efforts of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who prepared the first modern Hebrew dictionary, people started using Hebrew again to communicate with one another as they went about their lives.
But because of the influence of European languages, Hebrew changed. Grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary -- not a single aspect of the language went untouched by the transformation. And, like any other modern language, Hebrew continues to change.
So for example,
The word "I" or "me" in biblical Hebrew is
אָנֹכִי
This same word has changed in modern Hebrew to
אני
Besides this change in pronunciation, modern Hebrew got a lot of new words from languages like French and German. For example, the word "concrete" or
בטון
Came from French, while schnitzel, or
שניצל
Came from German.
And of course there are new words to describe things that did not exist in ancient times, like:
חשמל - Electricity
מחשב - Computer
מכונית - Car
טלפון - Telephone
At this point in history, someone familiar only with Biblical Hebrew would not be able to communicate very well with contemporary native speakers. At the same time, a modern Hebrew speaker can not easily read the Bible.
How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
lehitraot!

47 Comments

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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Hebrew learning question do you have?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:53 PM
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Shalom Theresa Ann Shugart,


For a detailed overview of what subscription options are available on our site, please have a look at our Help Center page. You can find it at: https://www.HebrewPod101.com/helpcenter. We have one-month options available too. :)

Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.


Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Theresa Ann Shugart
Saturday at 04:29 AM
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Confused about the payments. It said $10 per month, but in PayPal it says 200 and something I cannot afford that.


Even words let my name is Theresa

Shugart. Would it be read backwards too. Could you pronounce it for me.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 09:31 PM
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Hi ace and FIrefist,


Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts!


@ace - well, in a way, we do use it... or at least its evolution. Hebrew has developed over the years, and it would be almost impossible to speak biblical Hebrew. You can parallel it to talking in the English of the 10th century about modern topics - this is roughly the same challenge... 😅😅😉


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

FIrefist
Monday at 03:14 PM
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bruh, facts the star in the flag is made up by a cultist. tsk oh boy.

ace
Monday at 03:10 PM
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biblical hebrew is awesome why israel dont use it?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:54 AM
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Hi Rose Obioma Aniagoh,


Thanks for posting!


The correct pronunciation of your phrase will be "Toda rabah Morah sheli, lehitra'ot!" - note that romanization is not a real way to write in Hebrew... It is much more recommended that you will write your phrases in Hebrew letters and I will do my best to review and correct them :)


You can find virtual Hebrew keyboards in a quick search online in case you don't have it installed on your device 👍


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Rose Obioma Aniagoh
Monday at 09:54 PM
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Todarabah Morah sheliy lehitrot!

Please correct my comments!

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:33 PM
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Hi ramadas,


Thanks for posting this request!


I will forward it and we will consider the possibility 😄👍


Best,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

ramadas
Monday at 08:18 PM
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can you please read Bible index in Hebrew

HebrewPod101.com
Sunday at 07:56 PM
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Hi Annemarie,


Thanks for commenting and for posting this question.


No - you are definitely not wasting your time! Hebrew changed very little in comparison to other languages in the course of 2000 years, and even though there are many new words today that weren't use back then and some grammatical structure have changed, the basics are still the same.


I encourage you to open sometimes a bible in Hebrew during the learning and try to spot differences and see if you manage to figure out what's going on - this will be a very good training 😄


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com