Avtonomizmus, socializmus and idiotizmus: European loanwords in Hebrew, 1917—1918.

2015. №3, 90-109

Sonya B. Yampolskaya
St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia;
European University at St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, 191187, Russia


Conceptualisation of Hebrew language history at the turn of 19th—20th centuries poses a curious and problematic case for sociolinguistics. Modern theories on this subject, often contradicting one another, have one assumption in common: Hebrew underwent crucial linguistic changes in Palestine during the period. The Hebrew language modernization usually referred to as Hebrew «revival» faced inter alia a challenge to expand Hebrew vocabulary.

The article at hand presents an analysis of European loanwords (500 lexemes), found in a daily Hebrew newspaper, published in Moscow in 1917—1918. Orthographic, morphological and grammar adaptation of the loanwords, as well as functional groups of borrowings, are examined, building on the data of Hebrew newspapers of the previous period (the second half of the 19th century). The analysis shows that basic models of loanword adaptation, which are still actual in Modern Hebrew, were elaborated in the early 20th century far away from Palestine, i.e. both from activity of Ben-Yehuda and from first generations of Hebrew speakers, thus our general interpretations of Hebrew history remain open to question.