LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HEBREW LANGUAGE
Hebrew Language Solutions
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Although there are many Hebrew dialects, the main dialects are Ashkenazi (Europeanized, General Israeli) Sephardic Hebrew (Arabaized, Yemenite Hebrew).
Ashkenazi Hebrew (Standard or Europeanized Hebrew)
Ashkenazi Hebrew is spoken by Ashkenazic Jews, strongly influenced by Yiddish and German. It is still widely used in Ashkenazi Jewish religious services and studies in Israel and abroad, particularly in the Haredi and other Orthodox communities.
Sephardic Hebrew is spoken by Sephardi Jews, whose ancestors come from areas around the Mediteranean Sea like Portugal, Spain, Northern Africa and Middle eastern countries. Modern (also called Israeli) Hebrew is based on Sephardic pronunciation.
Most of the differences between the two dialects are based on the pronunciation. For example, the letter ת at the end of the word and certain other positions is pronounced as “t” rather than “s.” So, the word “Shabbos” for Sabbath in Ashkenazi is pronounced “Shabbat” in Sephardic. Also, in Sephardic and Israeli pronunciation, the stress is placed on the final syllable. In Ashkenazi, the next to last.
All Hebrew dialects use a word root system usually consisting of three consonants (sometimes four) to which the 12 vowel markers and other consonants are added to derive words of different parts of speech and meaning. The language is written from right to left in a Semitic script of a 22 consonant-only writing system called abjad.
There are several ways to say “hello” in Hebrew. The most familiar way to say hello is neither formal nor informal and known by just about everybody. And you can use the same word to say goodbye, too:
Shalom/Hello or Goodbye (literally means peace)
Oh, and super easy:
This greeting is obviously very informal and more likely to be spoken amongst acquaintances.
Of course, it is hard to characterize everyone that speaks Hebrew the same way. But, generally, Hebrew-speakers are not very formal in social interactions, especially with friends and family.
Sometimes, they can be seen as blunt because they are direct and to the point. But, it really can be attributed to the way that Hebrew is written and spoken. In English we tend to use a lot of words. Hebrew is typically characterized by its brevity. In English, we might say “May I please have a cappuccino?” In Hebrew it would be, “efshar cappuccino”? (literally “it’s possible, cappuccino?”) As in any language, how you say something is as important as what you say. Also, they appreciate honesty and direct speech.
Personal space and touching
While talking to one another it is normal to stand close to each other. And physical interaction is seen as normal, especially amongst acquaintances. Religious persons, may keep a greater distance, as a sign of respect, and not touch those of the opposite sex.
Eye contact and gestures
Direct eye contact while speaking is a sign of respect and interest in the other person. Although it is possible that a religiously observant person may avoid contact with someone of another gender.
Hebrew Culture Reference Guide
Modern Hebrew, sometimes called Israeli Hebrew, along with Arabic, is the official language of the state of Israel and British Palestine, spoken by, as of 2013, by 9,000,000 people worldwide, about 5,000,000 in Israel. However, there is a vast population of people that speak Hebrew all over the world including in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Panama, the UK, the US and others.