Proposal: Hebrew Language & Usage

Should questions that ask about Lashon HaKodesh (the Holy Tongue) be considered on topic?

(This refers to the language used in the Torah and other religious writings as opposed to modern Hebrew.)

Obviously, there is much that these share in common, and yet there are also differences (mostly in usage, I think, rather than rules).

Should we limit the scope of this site to only those questions that deal with modern Hebrew?

Just a pet peeve, since לשון הקודש is smihuth, it should be pronounced l'shon haqodesh –  blockhead Mar 12 '12 at 8:16
@blockhead - Or more accurately: leshon hakodesh. (Most speakers of Modern Hebrew do not distinguish between Tav and Thav, or Kuf and Qof.) –  Adam Mosheh May 16 '12 at 22:13
That makes it less accurate –  blockhead May 17 '12 at 3:38
I would think it is important to explore many aspects and dialects of Hebrew, although I think it's important to steer away from specifically religious coinages - unless the religious usage is what is in question. (ie, avoid asking "In lashon hakodesh it's x, but in modern ivrit it's y. Why?" and avoid asking questions seeking religious commentaries on dikduk) –  Seth J Aug 30 '12 at 3:43
@SethJ I think that question is ok. As far as religious commentaries on dikduk, why not? If lashon kodesh is on-topic, then we will have to accept religious commentaries on its dikduk, since most of the authorities on it will be religious. –  HodofHod Aug 30 '12 at 19:00
@HodofHod What I mean is that, to understand Hebrew, yes, there is a lot of religious interconnectedness, but analyzing development of the language needs to be free of limits set by development in specific usages. At a certain point one has to recognize that, on the one hand, the Ba'alei HaMesorah dictated that a letter without a vowel is silent (to paraphrase an esteemed professor I once had, when I asked him why an Alef is not a glottal stop in a word like Rosh), yet on the other hand, speakers of Hebrew did not consult the rules of the Geonim when speaking/writing/praying. Languages evolve. –  Seth J Aug 30 '12 at 19:34
Of course, but questions and answers could specify which perspectives, usages, and sources their questions/answers use/apply to. –  HodofHod Aug 30 '12 at 23:04
Above, where I wrote "most of the authorities on it will be religious", I intended "most of the classic authorities." –  HodofHod Nov 6 '12 at 20:15
@blockhead the difference its only pronounced by some sefaradim and is very subtle –  tryingToGetProgrammingStraight Aug 16 '13 at 5:34
@SethJ i think you are wrong in saying that because many classic religious authorities have alot of lashon hakodesh insight that adds a dynamic angle to modern hebrew examples are countless –  tryingToGetProgrammingStraight Aug 16 '13 at 5:38
@tryingToGetProgrammingStraight but it's more accurate. –  blockhead Aug 16 '13 at 12:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I think all flavors of Hebrew (including biblical, rabbinic, and modern) should be on-topic, including comparisons among them. Modern Hebrew is not that dissimilar from the others, but restricting the focus to just modern Hebrew cuts out a lot of potential interesting questions and risks narrowing the scope too much to be viable.

As with any SE site, tagging will be important. If people are only interested in a subset of the questions, they can filter on that.


I would add to Monica's answer by pointing out that the vast majority of linguistic questions would apply equally to all of the recorded phases of the Hebrew language. All the Hebrew texts that we have--from the Bible to this morning's Haaretz--are mutually intelligible, to a very large degree.

As such, it would be essentially impossible to separate the questions into different SE sites. Imagine if there was a, and , the utility of the site and the ability to learn from the question would diminish substantially. That said, accurate and comprehensive tagging is a must for those circumstances where there are differences.

couldnt agree more i would add that comparison should probably end up as a tag in itself at the very least –  tryingToGetProgrammingStraight Aug 16 '13 at 5:40

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