There’s a country called Israel, why do some people call Hebrew a dead language?

Question by Swimmer: There’s a country called Israel, why do some people call Hebrew a dead language?
I’m not Jewish. I’m a Christian fluent in Hebrew.

I’ve traveled to Israel. It’s an entire country where people speak Hebrew.

There are entire TV networks in Hebrew. Radio stations in Hebrew. There are street signs, ads, menus, libraries with books, all of them in HEBREW.

There are millions of web sites and YouTube videos in Hebrew.

Here in America, whenever I say I speak Hebrew, people say: “Why are you wasting time with a dead language?”

It’s an entire country of people who speak the language.

How can anyone call Hebrew a dead language?

Best answer:

Answer by Lord Ugh of the Dwarven Peeps
Some people are ignorant (intentionally or unintentionally), others intend to be insulting.
Perhaps to those people, since they don’t think it has any effect on their lives, it has never been “alive”.

Add your own answer in the comments!

5 Responses to “There’s a country called Israel, why do some people call Hebrew a dead language?”

  1. Belie says:

    Because Hebrew once was a dead language and so most people aren’t aware that it’s one of the few languages on earth to overcome extinction or near-extinction.

    However, you can’t claim that works in Hebrew used in the modern age = a language is living because Latin would then still be “alive”. A language is only termed living if there are native speakers to it. And because of the efforts made in Israel after the war, Hebrew was able to become the first language of thousands of children, allowing it to grow into what it is today.

  2. Jillian B says:

    Israel is such and amazing country. Even only at 13 (just last year) when I went there it was amazing. People think Disney World would be better than Israel, but truthfully it will never be as great. Calling Hebrew a “dead language” is like an insult to Israel. Maybe its because people may see Israel as a 3rd world country. I know my dad sees it as a dangerous place to go. I don’t think Hebrew is a “dead language”, many people speak it and I don’t think it will ever be “dead”.

  3. ????? says:

    Because they are ignorant?

  4. Louie the linguist says:

    Biblical Hebrew IS dead… no longer growing and changing.

    Modern Hebrew is alive, as is Norwegian, Mandarin, Arabic etc etc.

    Many Americans are apparently quite ignorant (if they say Hebrew is a dead language).

    My database (below) lists hundreds of colleges / universities that teach Modern Hebrew.

  5. zirp says:

    “here in america”… that’s where you can find people who say that
    – netherlands is the capital of denmark,
    – dutch people speak german at home
    – esperanto is dead
    – spanish is popular in northern asia
    – EU is socialist
    – zipcodes are evil


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