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(Original Index)



Hebrew languages

The Hebrew languages refer to a variety of Canaanite languages and dialects historically spoken by various peoples in the region of Canaan. These different languages were not necessarily related to each other.

Of the varieties of Hebrew, only one — Modern Hebrew — is used as a spoken language today, and is one of the official languages of the State of Israel. A few others survive as liturgical languages, but are otherwise not actively used in daily life.

Abrahamic religion believes that there were (at least) four Hebrew nations in Canaan: Ammon, Moab, Edom and Israel, all believed to be direct descendants of the Hebrew patriarch Terah, whose son Abram and grandson Lot (Abram's nephew) settled in Canaan and adapted to the local language of the Canaanites. Although they are believed to have had contact and trade with the indigenous Canaanites, the more pious families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob forbade intermarriage or assimilation to Canaanite culture, ultimately giving the Israelites a culture permanently separated from the Canaanites.

List of Hebrew languages:

  • Ammonite language (extinct),

  • Moabite language (extinct),

  • Edomite language (extinct),

  • Biblical Hebrew language (Israelites, liturgical),

  • Samaritain Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Mishnaic Hebrew language (Jews, liturgical),

  • Tiberian Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Mizrahi Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Yemenite Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Sephardi Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Ashkenazi Hebrew language (liturgical),

  • Modern Hebrew language (State of Israel, reconstructed language).