Let’s Talk About Hebrew.

by | Jul 26, 2021 | Content Curation, Content Strategy, Translation & Localisation

Let’s talk about Hebrew.

Shalom everyone! Today, let’s talk about Hebew.

WHY HEBREW?

Hebrew counts around 9 million speakers. It is the first spoken language in Israel for half of its population. But, it is also widely spoken in the USA. In fact, in the USA and especially in New York, resides the second largest community of Jews in the World counting more than 5 million. Hebrew is spoken also in France and Canada, where there is also a community of around 340,000 Jews.  It is not uncommon, in the towns where these communities reside, to find name of buildings, marketing, product descriptions etc in Hebrew!

Even though most Hebrew speakers often speak a second language (English, Russian or Arabic), they are very proud of their own language. Especially the most religious ones.

FIY: Being a Jew does not imply that you are Israeli and therefore speak Hebrew. It is common, for Jews born in another country, to learn the language for religious purposes. This is one of the main reasons why having your website/content available in Hebrew could make a difference ! Let’s check out other reasons.

HERE’S WHY:

  1. By translating your content into Hebrew you will reach the Israeli community at a stronger and deeper level. 
  2. You will be able to reach the religious communities around the world.
  3. Translation into Hebrew will be useful if you are planning on expanding your business to Israel or if your communication is aimed at an international audience. 
  4.  If, for example, you are planning on opening a business selling Kosher/Israeli products, having your advertising and marketing content available Greek, will make it seem more legit and authentic. 

A BIT OF HISTORY

The earliest examples of written texts In Hebrew that have reached us date back to the second millennium BCE. Hebrew is a Semitic language that belongs to the northwest Semitic family of languages. As a spoken language, Hebrew appears in the Kingdom of Israel and Judah, around 1200 BCE. Hebrew stopped being used as a spoken language between 200 and 400 CE. It survived into medieval periods as the language of the Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature and among the Jews. Only in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language. It became the official language of Israel in 1922.

INTERESTING FACTS:

1. Hebrew has no consonants.

The Hebrew alphabet, actually called “alef bet” (אָלֶף־בֵּית) consists of 22 letters which are all consonants. Modern Hebrew does have some diacritical marks to indicate missing vowel sounds. Originally, though, you would have had to know the word, its meaning and it grammatical function in order to be able to pronounce it correctly!

2.“Abracadabra” is a Hebrew saying!

Although it is not 100% sure, “Abracadabra”, the most famous incantational word, could come from Hebrew! In fact, the saying אברה קדברה , abra+cadabra, in Hebrew, means “I will create what I speak”. Quite magical!

3. Many English words originate from Hebrew words and vice versa.

If Greek gifted English with multiple words related to sciences, philosophy and medicine, Hebrew gifted English with words of religious meaning. E.g:

  • AMEN = “So it be”, from the root אמן which means “truly”, “sure”, “verily”.
  • HALLELUJAH = “praise with joy”, from הַלְלוּ‎ + יָהּ‎ meaning praise Yah (is a shortened form of YHWH).
  • SABBATICAL= “lengthy intentional break”, from שבת, Shabbat , the seventh day of rest.

But there are many words that Hebrew took from English!

  • TELEVISION = טֶלֶוִיזְיָה  – teh-leh-vee-zee-yah.
  • SUPERMARKET = סוּפֶּרְמַרְקֶט – soo-pehr-mahr-keht.
  • SANDWICH = סֶנְדְּוִיץ – sehnd-veech.
Isn’t it such an interesting language?

We are happy to provide you with any additional information so, don’t hesitate in getting in touch!

Let us know if you have questions about any of the discussed content topics.