Hebrew of the III–XIX cc. as a «dormant language».

2014. №5, 56-67

Alexandra L. Poljan
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russia;
Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 125009, Russia;


The paper at hand focuses on existing defi nitions of the notion ‘dead language’ and analyzes possibility to apply them to Hebrew when not being a principal vehicle of oral communication. I suggest to introduce a Russian analogue of the term ‘dormant language’ / ‘sleeping language’. Such a language exists in a situation of diglossia (an H-language) and can be defi ned according to a set of functional characteristics. Besides, the paper proposes to interpret the opposition of ‘dead’ and ‘alive language’ not as a binary equipollent one, but rather as a continuum of language states.