Hebrew Language Facts
If you’re thinking about learning Hebrew it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Hebrew language facts:
5 Interesting Hebrew Language Facts
1. Hebrew is a Semitic language
Hebrew was originally spoken by the Israelites. The oldest records of written Hebrew date between 1200BC and 587BC, including the Bible.
2. There is an estimated 9 million Hebrew speakers across the world
Hebrew is mainly spoken in Israel with 90% of Israeli Jews and 60% of Israeli Arabs being proficient, and the United States has the second largest Hebrew-speaking population.
3. Hebrew was nearly extinct by Late Antiquity
Hebrew survived as the liturgical language of Judaism in the Middle Ages. It was only during the 19th century that Hebrew was revived as an everyday language. Its standardised form became Modern Hebrew.
4. Hebrew has many tongue twisters
Tongue twisters are seen as fun way to practice elocution and Hebrew is no exception to this. Examples of famous Hebrew tongue twisters include:
- גנן גידל דגן בגן דגן גדול גדל בגן (Ganan gidel dagan ba’gan. Dagan gadol gadal ba’gan) – A gardener grew rye in the garden. Large rye grew in the garden;
- נחש נשך נחש (Nachash nashach nachash) – A snake bit a snake;
- אנחנו לא מהממהרים אנחנו מהממהרות (Anachnu lo mehamemaharim, anachnu mehamemaharot) – We aren’t from the group of rushing men, we’re from the group of rushing women.
5. Many English words borrowed from Hebrew are related to religion
Other English words borrowed from Hebrew are related to mythology, and Hebrew names such as Adam, Benjamin and Jacob. Examples of Hebrew loanwords include behemoth, cherub, hallelujah, kosher, leviathan, jacket, jesuit, jockey, mazeltov, sabbatical, satanic, shibboleth and torah.
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Frequently asked questions
What will I learn?
Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.
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Do I need a course book?
You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.
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