Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript


Michael: Where is Hebrew spoken?
Lenny: And how many varieties of Hebrew are there?
Michael: At HebrewPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Emma is meeting another college student, Arik, for the first time. After hearing her speak Hebrew, Arik asks,
"Where did you learn Hebrew?"
Arik Aharon: ?איפה למדת עברית (Eyfo lamadeta Ivrit?)
Arik Aharon: ?איפה למדת עברית (Eyfo lamadeta Ivrit?)
Emma Eisenberg: .כאן, בישראל (Kan, be-Israel.)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Arik Aharon: ?איפה למדת עברית
Michael: "Where did you learn Hebrew?"
Emma Eisenberg: .כאן, בישראל
Michael: "Here, in Israel."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, we hear Arik ask Emma where she learned Hebrew, to which Emma responds,
Lenny: .כאן, בישראל (Kan, be-Israel.)
Michael: "Here, in Israel."
Michael: As a student of Hebrew, you may wonder where Hebrew is spoken in the world. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look.
Michael: To begin with, Modern Hebrew or
Lenny: עברית מודרנית (Ivrit modernit)
Michael: is the official national language of Israel. Hebrew is also widely spoken amongst the Jewish diaspora, or
Lenny: יהדות התפוצות (Yehadut ha-tfutsot)
Michael: which includes international Jewish communities. For this reason, the United States has the second-largest Hebrew-speaking population. France and Canada also have large Hebrew-speaking populations of nearly half a million and a quarter of a million speakers, respectively. There are about 9 million Hebrew speakers worldwide and about 7 million fluent speakers.
Michael: Many religious texts, including the Bible and Torah, are written in Hebrew and, even though that is Classical Hebrew, or
Lenny: עברית קלאסית (Ivrit klasit),
Michael: many Jewish traditions and religious celebrations are also conducted in Hebrew. This means that, even amongst non-native speakers, some people may consider a general knowledge of the language to be important.
Michael: To this day, organizations like the Academy of the Hebrew Language and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem promote the language and its prevalence in Israeli and diasporic culture today.
Michael: To wrap up, in this lesson, we learned that, culturally, Hebrew, both Classical and Modern, is considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Modern Hebrew is one of the official languages of Israel; therefore, it is spoken by the seven million people living in Israel, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and by the approximately 750,000 Israelis living abroad.
Cultural Insight
Michael: One of the most impressive facts about Hebrew is that it was not a spoken language for almost two thousand years. From the seventh century BCE until the nineteenth century, it lived on only in religious contexts. Hebrew experienced a revival in the late 19th century as part of the larger Zionist movement and, thanks to the efforts of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, or
Lenny: אליעזר בן־יהודה (Eli'ezer Ben Yehuda),
Michael: Ben-Yehuda prepared the first modern Hebrew dictionary, and people started using Hebrew again to communicate with one another as they went about their lives.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Lenny: להתראות! (lehitra'ot!)
Michael: See you soon!

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