Similarities Between Arabic and Yemenite Hebrew

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Bahador Alast
Published at : 14 Dec 2020
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Hebrew and Arabic are both Semitic languages with a lot of similarities. However, when it comes to Hebrew, certain forms of pronunciation are actually closer to Arabic. Modern Hebrew and Yemenite Hebrew are the same language, but the way of pronunciation is significantly different. In this video, we'll be focusing on Yemenite Hebrew in comparison to Arabic. Yemenite Jews are those Jews who once lived in Yemen, as well as their descendants. Yemen once had over half a million Jews, but by the 1950s, the overwhelming majority of them had left the country, and today there are possibly no Jews left in Yemen. Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that distinguishes them from other Jewish groups and are considered as the ones who have preserved the Hebrew language the best. Modern Hebrew lacks a lot of consonants that exist in Yemenite Hebrew which also has grammatical features from classical Hebrew. At times it can sound much closer to Arabic. In this video Shahar (Hebrew speaker) and Nasr (Arabic speaker) challenge each other with a bunch of sentences that contain similar Semitic roots.

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Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language and the only living Canaanite language left in the world. Ancient Hebrew went extinct as a spoken language many centuries ago. However, it survived as a liturgical language for Judaism thanks to Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-Jewish commerce, and other texts. For this reason, Hebrew is now considered the only truly successful example of a revived dead language. In the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language.

Meanwhile, Arabic is a Central Semitic language and the official language of Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Malta (Maltese Arabic), Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, SADR, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Arabic is also the liturgical language of Islam. Arabic has influenced some European languages, such as Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Valencian, Catalan, Sicilian, Greek and Bulgarian. Arabic has also great influenced Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Maltese, Urdu, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Bosnian, Kazakh, Bengali, Hindi, Malay, Maldivian, Indonesian, Pashto, Punjabi, Tagalog, Sindhi and Hausa and some languages in parts of Africa. In addition, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages including Greek and Persian.
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