Read e-book online Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in PDF

By Liora R. Halperin

ISBN-10: 0300197489

ISBN-13: 9780300197488

The merchandising and vernacularization of Hebrew, characteristically a language of Jewish liturgy and examine, used to be a significant accomplishment of the Zionist circulate in Palestine. Viewing twentieth-century historical past during the lens of language, writer Liora Halperin questions the approved scholarly narrative of a Zionist stream clear of multilingualism in the course of the years following global struggle I, demonstrating how Jews in Palestine remained hooked up linguistically via either choice and necessity to an international open air the limits of the pro-Hebrew group while it promoted Hebrew and accomplished that language’s dominance.
the tale of language encounters in Jewish Palestine is an engaging story of transferring energy relationships, either in the community and globally. Halperin’s soaking up research explores how a tender nationwide neighborhood was once forced to switch the dictates of Hebrew exclusivity because it negotiated its relationships with its Jewish inhabitants, Palestinian Arabs, the British, and others open air the margins of the nationwide undertaking and finally got here to phrases with the restrictions of its hegemony in an interconnected world.

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Additional info for Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948

Sample text

The home was the perceived bastion of the mother tongue and the enervating domestic influences that would, in official rhetoric, be supplanted through education and national culture. The coffeehouse marked the importation of European street culture and the appearance of private conversation in a semipublic space. Finally, the cinema housed the imported cultural products of western Europe and the United States. In all cases, the use or consumption of languages other than Hebrew was attractive because it was natural, but by re-creating or evoking leisure-time patterns that had existed outside 27 LANGUAGES OF LEISURE the Yishuv, these practices cast into question the capability of Hebrew to be hegemonic.

31 According to the 1916–18 census conducted by the Palestine Office of the Zionist Organization, 77 percent of children in Tel Aviv and the agricultural settlements spoke any amount of Hebrew, while only 36 percent of parents did. The proportion of Hebrew speakers in the older Jewish settlements of Hebron, Tiberias, and Safed was only 3 to 5 percent. 32 From the perspective of Hebrew advocacy, these numbers indicate remarkable strides in Hebrew promotion; nonetheless, they also show that nearly half of the Yishuv was using other languages always or sometimes.

8 We would be incorrect to assume that anyone, Bialik included, made a rigid distinction between Sabbath and weekday language use; the absurd strictness of the distinction is part of what makes these anecdotes function as jokes. 9 Indeed, the Zionist Sabbath, the day of rest and leisure in the new national context, became a setting for negotiating the limits of Hebrew dominance, in this case among immigrants who knew a variety of other languages and enjoyed using or hearing them during their free time.

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Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948 by Liora R. Halperin

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