Everyday Hebrew, Standards, and Language Variation


  • Shlomo Izre'el


colloquial language, standard language, linguistic variation, language education


This paper tries to reevaluate the notion of linguistic error in the light of modern research on standard language, linguistic variation and the history of contemporary Hebrew since its emergence as a vernacular at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. I ask why Israelis perceive their Hebrew speech as faulty or bad and whether this perception is appropriate. I then discuss linguistic variation—synchronic and diachronic—and how acknowledging it as an inherent characteristic of language should affect our view of language and language education. Finally, I try to see how we can overcome preconceptions and do research not only on written Hebrew but also on its spoken varieties, so that they receive their proper place in our life and culture.


2023-08-01 — Updated on 2024-01-11