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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Languages of the Near & Middle East at SOAS: Hebrew

Modern Hebrew is one of the official languages of the State of Israel, spoken by more than seven million Israelis and for many it is their mother tongue. It has its roots in Classical Hebrew, the ancient Semitic language of the Hebrew Bible, and the rich tradition of Jewish writings throughout the Middle Ages. In the late nineteenth century, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, along with other Jewish activists, revived the Hebrew language as a living vernacular and set the basis for Modern Hebrew: a living language composed of the many layers of Classical Hebrew of Jewish creative writing alongside innovations, adaptations and slang.  Modern Hebrew literature is rich and unique in its linguistic and historical scope, with S.Y. Agnon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966 and many contemporary writers receiving international prizes and world acclaim.

If you would like to learn Hebrew, contact Dr Tamar S. Drukker (td4@soas.ac.uk) in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East.