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Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community (MSLC) Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community (MSLC) Challenges faced by MSLC in the XXI Century Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community (MSLC) Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community (MSLC) Challenges faced by MSLC in the XXI Century Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hebrew as a Medium Sized Language Community (MSLC) 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


3 My presentation History of Hebrew Revival of Hebrew Homeland, diaspora and transnationalism Language facts of Modern Hebrew Language policy in Israel Language policy in education in Israel

4 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 - 6 th century AD Haskala and Modern Europe (1770-1880) Language of Israel (1886 - present)

5 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”

6 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

7 Revival of Hebrew Modern Hebrew Based on biblical language 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 Syntax based on that of the Mishna Use of word three-consonants roots with vowels and other consonants added k.t.v yields kotev (writes) Written from right to left in a Semitic script of 22 letters

8 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.

9 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, 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

10 Revival of Hebrew The outcome of the revival of Hebrew (Ben Rafael, 1994) 1. Hebrew revival is a success story but not without difficulty 2. 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 “re- vernacularisation” Hebrew  vernacular  liturgical  unifying force - ideological

11 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.

12 Homeland, Diaspora and Transnationalism Transnationalism characterized by the new conditions resulting from globalization: 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 readings of past conditions and experiences of migratory flows of Diaspora communities change the character of new social/communal formations

13 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

14 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

15 Israel’s population: 7,466.3 millions 75.5% Jews and Jewish Immigrants; 20.2% Israeli Arabs 4.3% Foreign (non-jewish) Immigration from: America & Oceania 24.5% (former) USSR 41.0% Europe 5.2% Africa 13.8% Asia 9.8% Jewish population outside Israel: 13,305.000 (2008)

16 The Destiny of Hebrew globalization 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.

17 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.

18 Current state of Hebrew outside Israel TODAY: HEBREW INSTRUMENTAL HERITAGE

19 Multilingualism in Israel Israel is a complex, multilingual, multicultural society ! A linguists Heaven!!!

20 Multilingualism in Israel Language policy Overt and covert National

21 Multilingualism in Israel Language policy Overt and covert Private/sectorial

22 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

23 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.

24 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.

25 Gràcies Gracias Thanks You תודה רבה شكرا لك Спасибо

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