Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Janice Zinser
Ronald Casson
Miles Krassen


Modern, Hebrew, Linguistics, Israeli, Jews


This conflict in views is the main issue of this paper. It involves an enduring tension between synchrony and diachrony which has characterized almost all analysis of the Modern Hebrew revival. This tension has made Modern Hebrew, especially the spoken variety of native Israeli Jews, one of the most fascinating objects of study for both linguists and non-linguists, who have explored Modern Hebrew to express both highly conventional and highly unorthodox opinions regarding its character. Some consider it the direct descendent of an ongoing linguistic legacy, transcending certain principles of linguistic behavior (e.g. Tur-Sinai 1960). Others vehemently assert its autonomy from Hebrews past, stressing its uniqueness exclusively in structural linguistic terms (e.g. Rosen 1956). And most intriguingly, some refine the finer points of both views to posit rather unorthodox facts regarding the nature of Modern Hebrew (e.g. Wexler 1990b). How is it that a single language, covering so small a geographical area and used only so recently by native speakers, whose internal past and external history are so well-documented, has been so divergently analyzed?


Bachelor of Arts, Individual Major.