Rus Articles Journal

Hebrew. Whether it is possible to recover “dead“ language?

In Israel are spoken Hebrew, just as in Holland - on - Dutch. This statement seems to us trivial today. But only hundred twenty years ago the founder of political Zionism Theodor Gertsl (Theodor Herzl) (1860-1904) claimed that it is impossible to revive Hebrew:

“Perhaps, occurs to somebody that difficulties will come from the fact that we have no uniform language in which all could express because we cannot use Hebrew language. Unless there is somebody who, using it, could buy, for example, at least the train ticket? Is not present!“

T. Gertsl believed that “will get the rights of nationality and that which is not enough will become the main language - Pomala it will be the most useful and common“ . Not without justification Gertsl hoped that German will be that language native to it. In German such literature, such philosophy is created! German - international language of science and equipment! Unfortunately, creation in German of the sweetest book “Main Kampf“ and the events which followed it crossed out all hopes of the great herald of creation of the Jewish state for a wide circulation in this state of language of the Edging and Goethe.

At the time of T. Gertsl Hebrew was called Hebrew language. It as if suggested an idea that language - that the dead, like Ancient Greek. Also it is used only for the liturgical purposes, like Latin.

Actually the difference was essential. Latin in Europe after fall of the Western Roman Empire, really, stopped being a spoken language and became language sacral and language exclusive. Latin continued to speak, discuss, write scientific works. But took it a narrow detour of people educated, as a rule, belonging to priestly estate. For parishioners of Catholic church language of a mass was a foreign language, sometimes absolutely unclear.

Unlike it, the men gathering for a prayer in any synagogue understood words of the prayer said by them. Hebrew, Torah language, studied in all Jewish communities worldwide. Since four years trained in it the Jewish boys, and sometimes and the Jewish girls. Thanks to it practically all Jews of the world could read and understand the sacred texts. Moreover, Hebrew was the only language which all Jews in diaspora irrespective of the place of residence understood: in Europe, in Morocco, in the USA, in Argentina. In 19 - m a century the number of the Jews who did not pass elementary education and not knowing Hebrew was scanty. Theodor Gertsl belonged to this minority, by the way. The brilliant publicist and the writer who got a fine education in German for most of the tribesmen it was an ignoramus - worse than the Volynsk woodcutter. He could not pray because he did not know Sacred language.

However, exactly its works served revival of Hebrew as spoken daily language. As it was already told, Hebrew was known worse or best of all by all “risen to Zion“. Besides, revival of language of ancestors considered the majority of them as the major national task. At the beginning of 20 - go centuries the slogan “The Jew, Speak Hebrew“ in the Jewish settlements could be come everywhere: on streets, in offices, in grocery stores.

This slogan “Eliezer Ben - Yeguda (1859-1922) started up in the people“ . The first twenty two years of the life there was it Lazar Perelman who was born within the Russian Empire in Vilno. Having got medical education in Paris, in 1881 he arrived to Palestine, replaced a name and a surname and, having lodged in Jerusalem, devoted the life to revival of Hebrew.

How Ben - Yeguda revived Hebrew? For the answer to this question we will reflect, in what a living language differs from the dead? Not quantity speaking this language and not importance of information, in this language of stated. On what the bigger or smaller number of people begins to speak with the earliest childhood is considered a living language.

For example, Latin, being a state language of Vatican today, continues to remain nevertheless language dead. Because any child in the world does not begin to speak Latin. Especially, in Vatican where children cannot be born by definition as there is no female population. Similarly, in Egypt there is a large community of Christians - Copts. Among themselves they speak on - Arab though church service at them is conducted in coptic, the lineal descendant of language Ancient Egyptian. For children of Copts the native language - Arab therefore also coptic is the dead. And here other classic language, Aramaic on which at the beginning of a Christian era spoke in the huge territory of Syria and Palestine “was now pressed down“ to language of very small people of aysor (Assyrians). But, despite it, Aramaic language - not the dead because there are people for whom this language is native, the first, language.

In spite of the fact that at the time of Ben - Yeguda most of Jews knew Hebrew, there was no child who pronounced the first words in this language. Means, Hebrew was rather a language dead, than live. Therefore, to recover Hebrew, to make “Hebrew“ language “new Jewish“, there had to be children for whom Hebrew would become the native language.

Ben - Yeguda and his wife decided to talk in the house only in Hebrew. When in 1882 they gave birth to the son Itamar, the father with mother continued to use Hebrew, and their child became the first during modern times living native speaker which many considered as the dead! But to revive Hebrew, one it was insufficiently...