Michael Benami Doyle's Reviews > In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language

In the Beginning by Joel M. Hoffman
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's review
Feb 13, 2012

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bookshelves: judaica
Read from January 13 to February 13, 2012

An incredibly well-researched book that lays out the history of the Hebrew language from antiquity to today, told through the lens of the invention, use of, and resuscitation of the use of vowels in the written language. By the end you'll understand why the vowel marks exist the way they do, where they really came from, why they're more than likely not the same as the vowels used in Biblical times, and why modern spoken Israeli Hebrew differs from the way the language is taught both in America and Israel. Probably too dense for some tastes, and the writing takes far too many circumlocutions to get to the point throughout the book. Linguists will love the whole book. Like me, you may just like it in some parts and skim over others. But a worthy read nonetheless for anyone interested in Hebrew.
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