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Hebrew language

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Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by more than seven million people in Israel and used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world. In Israel, it is the de facto language of the state and the people, as well as being one of the two official languages (together with Arabic), and it is spoken by the majority of the population. Hebrew is also spoken as a mother tongue by the Samaritans, though today fewer than a thousand Samaritans remain. As a foreign language it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, archeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilisations and by theologians.

The term "Hebrew", or its cognates, was also used (in ancient times) to designate the Aramaic spoken by the Hebrews. See Judeo-Aramaic.

The core of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) is written in Classical Hebrew, and much of its present form is specifically the dialect of Biblical Hebrew that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BC, around the time of the Babylonian exile. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as, "The Holy Language", since ancient times.


Part of this article consists of modified text from Metapedia, page http:en.metapedia.org/wiki/Hebrew language and/or Wikipedia, page http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew language, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.