publication . Article . 2017

Cyril Aslanov, “Mainstream Hebrew and Transit Camp Hebrew: Two Sides of the Same Coin?”, Carmillim. For the Study of Hebrew and Related Languages (HA‘IVRIT VE’AḤYOTEHA), 12 (2016): pp. 5-18 [in Hebrew].

Aslanov, Cyril;
  • Published: 01 Jan 2017
  • Publisher: HAL CCSD
  • Country: France
International audience; This article deals with two varieties of substandard Hebrew that are both influenced by ethnic substrates. One variety is the Yiddishized substandard of mainstream Hebrew that is in use among Israelis of Ashkenazi origin. In spite of the divergences of this variety of Modern Hebrew from the norm, it enjoys a paradoxical prestige owing to its being a status symbol of the Ashkenazi establishment. One of the manifestations of its divergence from the norm is its tendency to insert foreign words (Yiddish in the past; English nowadays) to the basic lexical stock of mainstream Hebrew.The other variety of infranormative Hebrew that is described in this article is the substandard that developed among the Sephardic and Oriental populations of the transit camps in the fifties and continued in the poor neighborhoods where the displaced persons were eventually relocated. An analysis of some linguistic features of this variety of Hebrew—namely, the use of the form יפעל rather than אפעל in the future first-person singular; the use of the interrogative למה, “why,” with the value of a conjunction of subordination meaning “because”; the development of the interrogative למה מה?, “What is the matter?”; and the subject isolation at the beginning of the sentence—reveals that it has been influenced by certain varieties of spoken Arabic or Judeo-Arabic (such as Iraqi or Moroccan).Eventually, those two substandards merged into a single variety of colloquial Hebrew that can be considered the result of a koineization of the two infranormative varieties just described. This leveling of the linguistic difference between the Ashkenazi mainstream and the Israelis of Sephardic or Oriental origin is probably a consequence of the implementation of the Integration Law. As a result of this koineization, the main difference within Modern Hebrew is no longer based on socioeconomic or ethnic factors but rather on generational parameters.
free text keywords: Modern Hebrew, substratic influences, Arabic dialects, [SHS.LANGUE]Humanities and Social Sciences/Linguistics, [SHS.CLASS]Humanities and Social Sciences/Classical studies
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