Understanding the Hebrew language for beginners

Not capitalizing Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is bad grammar, because these are all proper names. For monotheistic spiritual authors it is a BIG no-no, and borderline blasphemy to not capitalize. ‘God‘ & ‘god’ have two entirely different meanings. Even the pronouns, when referring to God are capitalized; “God had His rest on the seventh day.”Orthodox Jewish Interestingly enough, writers will not even spell the whole name; God is written G-d. This dates back thousands of years to the “Thou shall not take the Lord’s Name in Vain” The name was uttered only once a year by a single priest, in the Holy of Holies section of the temple, and the scribes needed to perform a ceremony before even transcribing his name. The Hebrew pronunciation even seems to have become lost because of this. Is it Jehovah, or is it Yaweh?The Hebrew language is very efficient, and uses few vowels, expressing most words in writing with only consonants: Dvd instead of David. Hebrew is an extremely unique language. One of the few to be written and read right to left; I’ve studied it a bit and found it very surprising how quickly one can get accustomed to that change of habit.

Hebrew is simultaneously, one of the oldest AND newest languages, in the world today. Oldest because even the everyday language of Jesus of Nazareth was Aramaic. Aramaic is a form of Hebrew, but with a heavy dialect from the captivity in Babylon. This language of Moses was quite different, and more ancient than Amaraic.

Hebrew, an ancient language, is also considered the newest because in 1948 when Jews from all over the world returned to Israel, the Hebrew of the time of Moses was revived as a common, unifying language. Amazing, huh?

This revival is accredited to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. The revived Hebrew alphabet is also very interesting. It is where the word “alphabet” comes from. The first two letters are pronounced Aleph, Bet. Each letter is also a corresponding number, and word, and is drawn to resemble the word it represents. For instance: Aleph is the letter “A”, the number “1”, the word for “Ox”, and the symbol looks like an “X” which also resembles the horns and front legs of an ox. Beth is the letter “B”, the number “2”, the word for house, and it’s symbol looks like a backwards “C” with a flat bottom…a shelter, or house. Pretty cool, huh?

Linguistics is barely a hobby of mine, so any corrections or additions by anyone with a deeper understanding are more than welcome in the comments! I enjoyed the self-study I did, through a course on Biblical Hebrew. I’ll be posting a link to that excellent book and CD set, for sale on Amazon. I highly recommend it. It will lead you to learn things about the holy Bible, you will otherwise never have learned.

Jr Coffey, an anthropologist and linguist, was kind enough to offer this correction to my claim the the word ‘alphabet’ came from the ancient Hebrew, in this FaceBook comment:

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6 responses to “Understanding the Hebrew language for beginners

  1. Hi,You have a good understanding of it!
    In Hebrew when refering to G-d they say “The Name”, even if saying a prayer when you are not actually praying the name of G-d is replaced with “The Name” (HaShem).
    The vowels in Hebrew for the most part are indicated by lines and dashes under the letters which are used mainly when learning to read and write, newspapers, books and everyday handwriting doesn’t use the vowels. Really in English if we took away the vowels we would understand it too.
    About the new language of Hebrew: In Israel modern things like video, pizza and television are refered to by the English word although academically they have been given Hebrew names, hardly anyone knows.

  2. Shalom Kevin , my name is Eli and I am a Biblical Hebrew teacher. Here you can find useful tips to improve your Hebrew: http://blog.eteacherhebrew.com/learn-hebrew/five-tips-to-improve-your-hebrew-learning/

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  4. Actually, Aramaic is not a “form of Hebrew,” but a completely different language. Some vocabulary is shared, but the two languages did not even use the same characters to represent phonemes until a much later date.

    Aramaic and Hebrew are both Northwest Semitic languages stemming from “proto-semitic,” the parent language of all the Semitic languages. For a basic language tree, see here: http://mathildasanthropologyblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/semitic-tree.jpg

    Aramaic was spoken by Jesus because it had become the “lingua franca” of the Hebrew people during the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Although it was replaced by Greek as the common language, most people in Palestine still spoke Aramaic. Hebrew was mainly only used in Temple worship and Synagogue readings.

  5. Pingback: The symbol of the Holy Trinity « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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