Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program

Global and International Studies

Project Advisor 1

Shai Secunda

Project Advisor 2

Omar Cheta

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This thesis seeks to investigate the unique example of Modern Hebrew’s linguistic revival and determine the historical and linguistic qualities that made it successful. I intend to challenge the common narrative of Hebrew revival as 'miraculous' and isolated from Jewish history. I will demonstrate the long legacy of Hebrew creativity, preservation, and reinvention that formed the foundations the Zionist movement was able to build upon. I also seek to expand the narrative of the revival process itself to more accurately account for the modern result that is Israeli Hebrew. The ‘planned’ element of the revival process, i.e. the well-documented top-down impositions of the Hebrew revivalists, was just one of many conflicting forces that converged to actualize a functioning vernacular; in fact, simultaneously, the population was engaging with, and even defying, the rules of the establishment–introducing foreign loanwords, using ‘incorrect’ grammar, inventing slang, and, ultimately, choosing which of the Hebrew revivalists’ innovations would survive. In this way, the organic and unorganized actions of a young Hebrew-speaking population worked alongside the revivalists to determine what ‘correct’ Hebrew is today.

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

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