domingo, 14 de novembro de 2010


Modern Hebrew can roughly be divided into two dialects, which can be referred to as the Europeanized (or Ashkenazi) and Oriental (or Sephardic/Mizrahi) dialects. Here I will focus on the Oriental dialect for 3 main reasons:

- Its pronunciation is closer to Classical/Biblical Hebrew

- It is considered to be the right way to speak the Hebrew language  according to The Academy of the Hebrew Language

- Europeanized Hebrew sounds quite harsh and unnatural -- Germanized, if you wish --, while Oriental is much more melodious and "semitic sounding".

Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Culturally, it is considered a Jewish language.
Hebrew in its modern form is spoken by more than 5 million people in Israel while Classical Hebrew has been used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world for over two thousand years. It is one of the official languages of Israel, along with Arabic.

An example of the Oriental dialect:

This is a song from the Book of Psalms - שָׂמַחְתִּי בְּאֹמְרִים לִי / Psalm 122

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְדָוִד שָׂמַחְתִּי בְּאֹמְרִים לִי בֵּית ה' נֵלֵךְ
עֹמְדוֹת הָיוּ רַגְלֵינוּ בִּשְׁעָרַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם
יְרוּשָׁלִַם הַבְּנוּיָה כְּעִיר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה לָּהּ יַחְדָּו
שֶׁשָּׁם עָלוּ שְׁבָטִים שִׁבְטֵי יָהּ עֵדוּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְהֹדוֹת לְשֵׁם ה'
כִּי שָׁמָּה יָשְׁבוּ כִסְאוֹת לְמִשְׁפָּט כִּסְאוֹת לְבֵית דָּוִד
שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהֲבָיִךְ
יְהִי שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ
לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי אֲדַבְּרָה נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ
לְמַעַן בֵּית ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁה טוֹב לָךְ

shir hama3alot ledavid sama7ti be'omerim li beyt H' nelekh
3omdot hayu raglenu bish3araikh yerushalayim
yerushalayim habenuya ke3ir she7ubra lah ya7dav
shesham 3alu shevatim shivtey yah 3edut leyisrael lehodot leshem H'
ki shamah yashvu khisot lemishpat kisot leveyt david
sha'alu shelom yerushalayim yishlayu ohavaikh
yehi shalom be7elekh shalva be'armenotaikh
lema3an a7ay vere3ay adab'ra na shalom bakh
lema3an beyt H' avaqsha tov lakh

A Song of Ascents; of David. I rejoiced when they said unto me: 'Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'
122:2 Our feet are standing within thy gates, O Jerusalem;
122:3 Jerusalem, that art builded as a city that is compact together;
122:4 Whither the tribes went up, even the tribes of the Lord, as a testimony unto Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
122:5 For there were set thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper that love thee.
122:7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
122:8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say: 'Peace be within thee.'
122:9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

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