Hebrew and Northwest Semitic languages

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modus.irrealis

Senior Member
English, Canada
Hi,

I came across this article in Wikipedia on Northwest Semitic languages and I was wondering how close this language group is. First, I was wondering how close is Modern Hebrew to Biblical Hebrew and other older forms of Hebrew? Could a modern Hebrew speaker pick up the Torah and understand most of it?

And then, what about the various forms of Aramaic? How close are they to Hebrew? If you were to compare them to Indo-European languages would they be like two Romance languages, or would it be like a Romance and Germanic language, or somewhere in between?

Thanks.
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Written moderne Hebrew is build on Biblical Hebrew. Some grammatical constructs of Biblical Hebrew are not used any more and the language has been extended to accommodate modern communication needs but essentially every sentence of the Hebrew Biblical (except the Aramaic passages) are still valid modern Hebrew. The pronunciation is based on a Tiberias Hebrew of the Byzantine era but severly simplified.

    Hebrew and Aramaic are maybe more different than German and Dutch but closer than Germanic and Romance languages.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Hebrew and Aramaic are maybe more different than German and Dutch but closer than Germanic and Romance languages.
    If you take Classical Hebrew and Classical Aramaic, I would say German and Dutch are a pretty good comparison.
     
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