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Hebrew (עִבְרִית ʿIvrit) is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family.  The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE, in the form of primitive drawings, although "the question of the language used in this inscription remained unanswered, making it impossible to prove whether it was in fact Hebrew or another local language".

Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between the first and fourth centuries CE and survived into the medieval period only as the language of Jewish liturgy and rabbinic literature. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language, and, according to Ethnologue, is now the language of 9 million people worldwide, of whom 7 million are from Israel. The United States has the second largest Hebrew speaking population, with about 221,593 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.

Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of Israel (the other being Arabic), while pre-modern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today. Ancient Hebrew is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in Christian seminaries.

The Torah (the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian exile. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Leshon HaKodesh (לְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ), "The Holy Language", since ancient times.

ResourcesEdit

Courses Edit

Name Platform Price Description
Duolingo Website, Mobile App Free, $10/Mo. Good for beginners. Gamified lesson format includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges covering many fields. Not as polished as some other Duolingo courses.
Rosetta Stone Desktop, Mobile App $6 - 17/Mo. 5 levels available covering pronunciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing. Can be used as a beginning tool but is generally considered overpriced and ineffective.
Memrise Website, Mobile App Free, $9/Mo. Good for beginners. Pre-made and user-generated flashcard decks.
Teach Me Hebrew Website Free, some paid material Free Hebrew lessons with native audio, as well as Anki decks, a phrasebook, a word frequency list, and bilingual song lyrics and texts. Extra material is also available for a price.
Pimsleur Audio, Mobile App $335 3 levels available. Focused on audio and daily conversations.
FSI Course Website Free Courses developed by the United States Foreign Service Institute to train US officers and diplomats in foreign languages, now available for free online. Thanks Uncle Sam!

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Subtitle websites

Israeli-made movies are notoriously shitty. Kalevet at least manages to be hilariously shitty.

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MusicEdit

  • גבריאל בלחסן - Alternative/Prog rock. Was in and out of mental wards until he killed himself in 2013. Despair aplenty.

Anime & CartoonsEdit

  • Yotam Perel Is a cartoonist who produces wonderful shorts in Hebrew. Greats stuff. It even has English subtitles for the noobs!

BrotipsEdit

  • Find an Israeli or at least someone Jewish, he or she should be able to hook you up as far as Hebrew goes.
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  • Stop using niqqud as soon as you can.
  • Learn the cursive script, it makes handwriting a lot easier. Just pull up an article in printed Hebrew and transcribe in cursive until you've gotten all the letters (and the five final forms) memorized.
  • Try to get a good grasp of the weird-ass grammer rules. The infamous בניינים ("Modern Hebrew verb conjugation"), the gendered nouns and so on. Get a good book; You'll need it.