Eliezer Ben‑Yehuda אליעזר בן-יהודה‎ | The Reviver of The Hebrew Language

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Huur = Horus


Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was born Eliezer Yitzhak Perlman (Yiddish: אליעזר יצחק פערלמאן‎), in Luzhki
(Belarusian: Лужкі (Lužki), Polish: Łużki), Vilna Governorate of the Russian Empire
(now Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus).

He attended cheder where he studied Hebrew and the Bible from the age of three, as was customary
among the Jews of Eastern Europe. By the age of twelve, he had read large portions of the Torah,
Mishna, and Talmud. His mother and uncle hoped he would become a rabbi, and sent him to a yeshiva.
There he was exposed to the Hebrew of the enlightenment which included some secular writings.
Later, he learned French, German, and Russian, and was sent to Dünaburg for further education.
Reading the Hebrew language newspaper HaShahar, he became acquainted with the early movement
of Zionism and concluded that the revival of the Hebrew language in the Land of Israel could unite all Jews worldwide.

In 1881 Ben-Yehuda immigrated to Palestine, then ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and settled in Jerusalem.
He found a job teaching at the Alliance Israelite Universelle school. Motivated by the surrounding
ideals of renovation and rejection of the diaspora lifestyle, Ben‑Yehuda set out to develop a new language
that could replace Yiddish and other regional dialects as a means of everyday communication between Jews
who made aliyah from various regions of the world.

To accomplish the task, Ben-Yehuda insisted with the Committee of the Hebrew Language that,
to quote the Committee records, "In order to supplement the deficiencies of the Hebrew language,
the Committee coins words according to the rules of grammar and linguistic analogy from Semitic roots:
Aramaic and especially from Arabic roots" (Joshua Blau, page 33).

Ben-Yehuda was the editor of several Hebrew-language newspapers: "HaZvi," "Hashkafa" and "HaOr."
"HaZvi" was closed down for a year in the wake of opposition from Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community,
which fiercely objected to the use of Hebrew, their holy tongue, for everyday conversation.

Ben-Yehuda was a major figure in the establishment of the Committee of the Hebrew Language (Va'ad HaLashon),
later the Academy of the Hebrew Language, an organization that still exists today. He was the author of the
first modern Hebrew dictionary and became known as the "reviver" of the Hebrew language,
despite opposition to some of the words he coined.
Many of these words have become part of the language but others — some 2,000
words — never caught on. His word for "tomato," for instance, was bandura, but Hebrew speakers today use the word agvania.​


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