Hebrew as a Medium Sized
Language Community (MSLC)
Challenges faced by MSLC in the XXI
Century Conference
Anat Stavans
Beit Berl Academic College &
NCJW- Insitute for Innovation in Education,
Hebrew University in Jerusalem
December 3-4
CUSC - Universidad de Barcelona
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF
RESEARCH IN BILINGUALISM
9000
EU
8000
# entries in google
7000
Internet Revolution
6000
5000
Vietnam War
4000
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0
1910
1920
1930
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decade
1970
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My presentation
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History of Hebrew
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Revival of Hebrew
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Homeland, diaspora and transnationalism
•
Language facts of Modern Hebrew
•
Language policy in Israel
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Language policy in education in Israel
Hebrew History:
Four major periods
Biblical or Classical
• Until 3rd century BC
• Most of the Old Testament
is written
Medieval
• 6th - 13th century AD
• Borrows Greek, Spanish,
Arabic words and from
other languages
Mishnaic or Rabbinic
• Language of the Mishna:
collection of Jewish
traditions
• Mishnaic Hebrew spoken
Rabbinic Hebrew written
• 200 AD - 6th century AD
Haskala and Modern
• Europe (1770-1880)
• Language of Israel (1886 present)
Revival of Hebrew
Beginning:
•
Hebrew was diglosic – written Hebrew known by all;
spoken Hebrew was not.
•
State of the Jewish nation split with written Hebrew as a
unifying force and spoken Hebrew as divisive force.
•
•
Need for a common language for the new homeland
1881-1882 Ben Yehuda begins the: “Hebrew in Hebrew”
movement as a means to educate people under the
ideological credo of “Hebrew man speak Hebrew”
Revival of Hebrew
1889 onwards:
•
•
First Hebrew-only school is established
Hebrew slowly penetrates all levels of education from
kindergarten to graduation
1900-1910:
•
Young generation who was educated and grew on
Hebrew only was getting married
•
First generation of Hebrew monolingual home begun
Revival of Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
•
•
•
•
Based on biblical language
•
•
Syntax based on that of the Mishna
•
Written from right to left in a Semitic script of 22 letters
Innovations to meet modern needs
Only colloquial speech based on a written language
Pronunciation based on Sepharadic (Hispano-Portuguese)
Jews rather than Ashkenazi (East European) Jews
Use of word three-consonants roots with vowels and other
consonants added k.t.v yields kotev (writes)
Revival of Hebrew
The impact of the revival of Hebrew
(Shohamy, 2008)
1.
attempts to revive and preserve endangered language result
in:
a. high costs on the individual
b. regulations that contradict daily practices and
personal beliefs of an individual or a group
2.
the need to revive a language is rooted in:
a. ideologically driven agenda
b. may last long after revival has been achieved
c. may remain even if languages are no longer
endangered.
Revival of Hebrew
Hidden agendas
a. the language spoken in Palestine, and
b. the unifying force in building a nation
Overt practices
a. “Hebrew Only” policy,
b. de-legitimized the home language of the immigrants
c. advocating “Ivri daber Ivrit” (Hebrew-man speak
Hebrew)
d. maintaining another language, was detrimental
e. Policy embraced and institutionalized into educational
programs in Israel
f. “exported by proxy” to Jewish communities outside
Israel – catering to ideology, immigration and
settlement in Israel
Revival of Hebrew
The outcome of the revival of Hebrew
1.
2.
(Ben Rafael, 1994)
Hebrew revival is a success story but not without difficulty
Its status as an “endangered” language is questionable.
People were gathering and
needing a common language
of communication
It is not a case of revival but
rather of “revernacularisation”
Hebrew  vernacular  liturgical 
unifying force - ideological
Summary of Hebrew Language
History
Hebrew : being a vernacular language
•
•
•
•
•
•
To: a liturgical language until the nineteenth century
Then: Haskala movement in Europe expands traditional
Judaism to secular populace, promoting national ideologies
These ideologies were reinforced by the revival of Hebrew as
a unifying force among the Jewish people in the Diaspora.
Revival process was completed by 1920
Hebrew: declared the language of instruction
Melting Pot measures: compelling immigrants to learn
Hebrew even at the expense of their language of origin in the
late 1930’s.
Homeland, Diaspora and
Transnationalism
Transnationalism characterized by the new
conditions resulting from globalization:
a. de-territorialization of economic, social, cultural and
political relations
b. does not depend on distance or borders
c. interactions and relationships continue to be developed
without international borders laws, regulations and
national narratives
d. new readings of past conditions and experiences of
migratory flows of Diaspora communities change the
character of new social/communal formations
Homeland, Diaspora and
Transnationalism
Diasporas are previous formations of
transnationalism:
a. Globally dispersed yet collectively self-identified ethnic
groups
b. Territorial states and contexts where such groups
reside
c. Emotional/ideological and ethnic ties to the homeland
states and contexts their forebears arrived from
Homeland, Diasporah and
Transnationalism
The world Jewry is a case of transnationalism
because:
a. Their place of origin marked the migratory flows
b. They shaped their communal life
c. Built their associational and institutional profile and their
collective consciousness as part of a broader feeling of
peoplehood
d. Developed a sense of belonging that expressed itself as
well through global political interactions
Israel’s population:
7,466.3 millions
• 75.5% Jews and
Jewish Immigrants;
• 20.2% Israeli Arabs
• 4.3% Foreign (non-jewish)
Immigration from:
Jewish population outside
Israel:
13,305.000 (2008)
America & Oceania
24.5%
(former) USSR
41.0%
Europe
Africa
Asia
5.2%
13.8%
9.8%
The Destiny of Hebrew
Hebrew in Israel and in the Diaspora is
undergoing major changes due to
globalization effects (Nevo & Olshtain,
2007).
Modern colloquial
Hebrew -drastically
impoverished by
globalization --loosing its
authenticity, pure
form, and properness.
Hebrew -- a dynamic
communicative system
-- inevitably undergoes
changes according to
trends of globalization.
Language policy of Israel TODAY
OFFICIAL
LANGUAGES
HEBREW
ARABIC
Semi-Official
ENGLISH
All Ordinances, official notices and official forms of the Government and all
official notices of local authorities and municipalities in areas to be prescribed
by order of the High Commissioner, shall be published in English, Arabic and
Hebrew.
82nd paragraph of the “Palestine order in Council”
issued August 14, 1922, for the British Mandate of Palestine
Any order in the law which requires the use of the English language is hereby
abolished.
Adopted and amended by the State of Israel, on May 19, 1948.
Current state of Hebrew outside
Israel TODAY:
HEBREW
INSTRUMENTAL
HERITAGE
Multilingualism in Israel
Israel is a complex,
multilingual,
multicultural society !
A linguists Heaven!!!
Multilingualism in Israel
Language policy
•
•
Overt and covert
National
Multilingualism in Israel
Language policy
•
Overt and covert
•
Private/sectorial
Israel’s Language Policy must provide
for all the languages of Israel TODAY
Hebrew - official, principal language, spoken by most people
Arabic - second official language, medium of instruction in the
Arabic sector of public schools and the heritage language of
Jews from Arabic countries
English - major foreign language
Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Tat, Judeo-Berber endangered Jewish languages brought by immigrants
Russian, Polish, Hungarian, English, French, Amharic,
Tigrinya - some of the community languages of immigrants
French, German, Japanese - a few of foreign languages taught
Armenian, Assyrian (Aramaic), Circassian - some of the
community languages of non-Jewish Israelis
Language Education Policy in
Israel
•
No overt policy concerning the place of languages in
Israeli education until 1995.
•
Policy for Language Education in Israel, issued in the
Ministry of Education Director-General's Circular dated
June 1, 1995, revised on 15 April 1996 (Ministry of
Education, 1996) and in effect as of September 1996
•
Policy covers mother tongue teaching, and second and
foreign language education.
Language Education Policy in
Israel
•
Mother Tongue Education
•
Foreign Language Education
As for the:
THE LANGUAGE EDUCATION SYSTEM
We will discuss it in the panels tomorrow.
Gràcies
Gracias
Thanks You
‫תודה רבה‬
‫شكرا لك‬
Спасибо
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Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community