Hebrew Language Facts

Interesting 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:

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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Hebrew Courses

An excellent way to improve your Hebrew language skills is by taking a group Hebrew language course with Cactus. We offer Hebrew languages courses online and face-to-face in over 10 locations across the UK.

Private Tuition

Cactus offers a range of options for Hebrew private tuition. You can choose one-to-one classes if you prefer online and tailored Hebrew lessons that suit your schedule and location. For more information please visit our private tuition and corporate language training division.

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