Modern Hebrew is spoken by about nine million people, most of whom are are citizens of Israel. Ancient Hebrew, or Biblical Hebrew is a Semitic language that was replaced as the Jewish vernacular by the western dialect of Aramaic beginning in the third century BCE, though it continued to be used as a liturgical and literary language. It was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries and is now the official language of Israel. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language still spoken, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.
Knowing Hebrew opens the door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, and science Knowing Hebrew provides a competitive edge in career choices Communication skills developed while learning Hebrew can improve your interpersonal skills in your native langauge as well. Hebrew study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Hebrew?
Hebrew is rated as a category 3 language by the Foreign Service Institute. It is considered moderately difficult for English speakers to learn and takes an average of 44 weeks (or 1100 class hours) to gain professional working proficiency.
Hebrew Alphabet & Pronunciation
Hebrew is written from right to left and has no upper/lower case. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. Five letters have different forms when used at the end of a word. Originally, the alphabet was an abjad consisting only of consonants. Niqqud is the system of dots that help determine vowels and consonants, but this 'full-spelling' is generally limited to learning materials. Both traditional consonants and the Niqqud vowels are shown in the list below. When they are used, the vowel sounds are attatched to the consonants by adding them below the letter.