Modern Hebrew

Modern Hebrew
Israeli Hebrew
עברית חדשה, ʿivrít ḥadašá[h]
Shalom black.svg
The word shalom as rendered in Modern Hebrew, including vowel points
Native toIsrael
Native speakers
L1: 5 million (2014)[1][2]
(L1+L2: 9 m; L2: 4 m)[3]
Early forms
Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew Braille
Signed Hebrew (oral Hebrew accompanied by sign)[4]
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byAcademy of the Hebrew Language
האקדמיה ללשון העברית (HaAkademia LaLashon HaʿIvrit)
Language codes
ISO 639-3heb
Hebrew Language in the State of Israel and Area A, B and C.png
The Hebrew-speaking world:[6][7]
  Regions where Hebrew is the language of the majority (>50%)
  Regions where Hebrew is the language of between 25% and 50% of the population
  Regions where Hebrew is a minority language (<25%)

Modern Hebrew or Israeli Hebrew (עברית חדשה, ʿivrít ḥadašá[h], [ivˈʁit χadaˈʃa] – "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew (עברית Ivrit), is the standard form of the Hebrew language spoken today. Spoken in ancient times, Hebrew, a member of the Canaanite branch of the Semitic language family, was supplanted as the Jewish vernacular by the western dialect of Aramaic beginning in the third century BCE, though it continued to be used as a liturgical and literary language. It was revived as a spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries and is the official language of Israel.

Modern Hebrew is spoken by about nine million people, counting native, fluent, and non-fluent speakers.[8][9] Most speakers are citizens of Israel: about five million are Israelis who speak Modern Hebrew as their native language, 1.5 million are immigrants to Israel, 1.5 million are Arab citizens of Israel, whose first language is usually Arabic, and half a million are expatriate Israelis or diaspora Jews living outside Israel.

The organization that officially directs the development of the Modern Hebrew language, under the law of the State of Israel, is the Academy of the Hebrew Language.


The most common scholarly term for the language is "Modern Hebrew" (עברית חדשהʿivrít ħadašá[h]). Most people refer to it simply as Hebrew (עבריתIvrit).[10]

The term "Modern Hebrew" has been described as "somewhat problematic"[11] as it implies unambiguous periodization from Biblical Hebrew.[11] Haiim B. Rosén [he] (חיים רוזן) supported the now widely used[11] term "Israeli Hebrew" on the basis that it "represented the non-chronological nature of Hebrew".[10][12] In 1999, Israeli linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann proposed the term "Israeli" to represent the multiple origins of the language.[13]:325[10]