Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

Are Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew the Same Language?

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Are Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew the Same Language?

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:29 am

Paul Ogden and I are having a conversation about old and modern languages in the blog that might be of interest to Agorans at http://www.alphadictionary.com/blog/?p=78 and the following (which I will post later today).
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3448
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Garzo » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:41 am

Can any one lect be the same as another? No, not entirely. Is Old English the same language as Modern English? Lack of comprehension of one from the other suggests not, yet the former is surely the ancestor of the latter. The matter is more complex, however, in the case of Hebrew. Classical and Modern Hebrew are further removed in time from one another than the former two Englishes, but both have a significant element of planning in their construction. In Classical Hebrew, the work of the mediaeval Masoretes is the lens through which we understand much of the texts of the Tanakh. With Modern Hebrew, it was the work of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and others that prepared the language for mass use in the modern Israel. Phonetically, grammatically and lexically, the two Hebrews are quite different, and comprehensibility is low. In spite of this, Modern Hebrew is built upon the foundation of Classical Hebrew, and, because of its planned nature, is more clearly an adaption of the older language than Modern English is to Old English.
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
Garzo
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: A place to cross the river Thames with your Oxen

Postby Perry » Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:04 pm

!מה שהוא אמר

Or "what he said!".

I would say that the comprehensibility is very good for the Modern Hebrew speaker reading or hearing the Classical Hebrew of the Bible. On the other hand, if Moses were to suddenly show up today, he would need some help understanding Modern Hebrew. Modern Hebrew has (for the most part) retained the vocabulary of Classical Hebrew; and added new vocabulary to boot.

Also the use of tenses is different, but the change came about much earlier than with Eliezer Ben Yehuda. In the Torah (the first five books) past tense is indicated by using future tense, preceded by "and". E.g. "and he will" actually means "and he did". By the time the Book of Esther was set down, the use of tenses was much as it is today. I.e. the past tense has its own discrete conjugation, and no longer depends on the "and".

Garzo, it's wonderful to have you back! Please don't stay away for so long again.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby Stargzer » Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:18 am

Perry wrote:
... Garzo, it's wonderful to have you back! Please don't stay away for so long again.


To quote Perry:

!מה שהוא אמר

Or "what he said!".


Or in other words, Parson, please don't be so parsimonious with your time here! :wink:
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2546
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby anders » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:23 am

Perry wrote:I would say that the comprehensibility is very good for the Modern Hebrew speaker reading or hearing the Classical Hebrew of the Bible.

My university Bible Hebrew (BH) teacher (who also taught the modern Hebrew language of Palestine) was rather pessimistic on today's speakers' of modern Hebrew regarding their understanding the old language.

Also the use of tenses is different

Big big big problem.
contemporary Palestinians have as much difficulty in interpreting the Bible Hebrew aspect as Europeans.
The often named "perfect" may mean something that happened some time ago, in that BH כתב ktb might like our (Germanic) be thought of like a past tense, meaning the simple past (he wrote) or the present perfect (he has written), or with verbs signifying perception etc. the general present tense, or with verbs signifying the mental state of the subject, perhaps translated by the English present of the verb 'to be' plus an adjective, to mention just a few possibilities. In poetry, this "perfect" is often used to denote habitual activity, like 'he writes'. And don't think that the "imperfect" is any easier.

Garzo, it's wonderful to have you back! Please don't stay away for so long again.

I've been too busy on too many projects, but do I agree!
Irren ist männlich
anders
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Sweden

Postby Perry » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:33 am

My university Bible Hebrew (BH) teacher (who also taught the modern Hebrew language of Palestine) was rather pessimistic on today's speakers' of modern Hebrew regarding their understanding the old language.


Is that a political statement, or just a slip?
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Lately it hasn't been working."
Anonymous
User avatar
Perry
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2306
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Postby anders » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:47 am

Perry wrote:
My university Bible Hebrew (BH) teacher (who also taught the modern Hebrew language of Palestine) was rather pessimistic on today's speakers' of modern Hebrew regarding their understanding the old language.


Is that a political statement, or just a slip?

Probably.
Irren ist männlich
anders
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Sweden


Return to Languages of the World

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron