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Chapters in the History of Spoken Hebrew / פרקים בתולדות העברית המדוברת

ברוך אברהם לוין and B. A. Levine
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. יד‎, H.L. GINSBERG VOLUME / ספר ח"א גינזברג‎ (1978 / תשל"ח), pp. 155-160
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23617919
Page Count: 6
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Chapters in the History of Spoken Hebrew / פרקים בתולדות העברית המדוברת
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Abstract

The revival of Hebrew as the spoken language of modern Israel has reawakened interest in the question of the nature of spoken Hebrew in the biblical and early Rabbinic periods, before the use of Hebrew was largely restricted to the written word. Abba Bendavid saw, in the distinctive language of Song of Songs, a link between the spoken Hebrew of late biblical times and the spoken language which became the basis for Rabbinic Hebrew, as we know it in the Mishnah and other Tannaitic sources. This theory is examined against the background of early Hebrew poetry, specially with regard to the utilization of the inverted imperfect (the wayyiqṭôl form) and the consecutive tenses, in general. It is shown that the wayyiqṭôl form, as the salient feature of prosaic syntax, entered into the classical poetry of the Bible under the influence of the scribal schools, and such influence removed narrative prose style, as well as poetry, further away from spoken forms of the language. Finally, several examples of spoken Hebrew, taken from internal biblical quotations, are analyzed with particular attention to the use of certain demonstratives (hallāzeh, and related forms).

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