Biblical and Modern Hebrew

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by DieuEtMonDroit, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. DieuEtMonDroit

    DieuEtMonDroit Senior Member

    Uppsala, Sweden
    Swedish
    I'm going to apply for a scholarship to go to Israel to study Hebrew this summer. There are two options available, Biblical Hebrew, and Modern Hebrew. From what I've understood googling a bit, Modern Hebrew is still quite similar to Biblical Hebrew. To what extent is this true? Are you able to read and understand Biblical Hebrew if you're fluent in Modern Hebrew? Does it go the other way round, i.e. can I get by in modern Israel if I only learn Biblical Hebrew? Sorry for possible repost.
     
  2. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    Studying the one is very beneficial for understanding the other. The Biblical language contains several grammatical rules and certain vocabulary which is rarely used in the modern language. Children learn large part of the grammar gap in school so everyone can read the Bible... except of parts with too much "strange" words or grammatical differences.

    If you need Hebrew for Academic purpose then the answer depends on the details. If you want to feel at home in Israel then go for the Modern language, you can progress later to Biblical. Also, very few of us still speak Biblical Hebrew, Elijah for example, and he pays a visit only once a year on Passover. So with Modern language talking to people can take you much further than sitting with books.
     
  3. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    It really depends on what you expect to use Hebrew for in the future. The two are still versions of one language, not separate languages, but a person speaking like a character in a Shakespeare play would sound quite strange on a London or New York street in 2013! If you can tell us your purpose in learning Hebrew, we might be able to make specific suggestions.
     
  4. AlonVi New Member

    Hebrew
    I suggest taking modern hebrew. Bibical hebrew is not in use although it can be understood by most hebrew speakers. A lot of words are different and the bible has words that aren't in use today, but the bigger differnce is in the grammar. anyway, bibical hebrew would sound weird to a hebrew-speaker's ears, though a modern hebrew speaker could unserstand the bible . Bibical hebrew has no use nowadays so i think it's kind of pointless learning it.
     
  5. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Only pointless if you don't have an interest in history or religion. Otherwise, it's much more advisable to learn Modern Hebrew, but of course learning one will give you some ability to understand the other.
     
  6. David S Senior Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    English - US
    There are some vocabulary differences, but there are quite a few grammatical differences, I´d say that the gap between Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew is greater than the difference between Shakespearean English and Modern English.

    If you are going to Israel, you might as well learn Modern Hebrew, since it allows you to practice speaking and comprehending the language. You can always learn the specialized terms and equivalent grammatical forms of Biblical Hebrew and translate from what you know in Modern Hebrew, which is what Israelis probably do.
     
  7. DieuEtMonDroit

    DieuEtMonDroit Senior Member

    Uppsala, Sweden
    Swedish
    Thanks for the answers. I guess I will go with Modern Hebrew.

    It is, however, interesting how little Modern Hebrew differs from Biblical Hebrew, in comparison with how much, e.g., Latin differs from modern Italian.
     
  8. David S Senior Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    English - US
    ha you don't even need to go that far. Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew are much closer than Modern English is to Old English or even Middle English for that matter.
     

Share This Page