Talk:Hebrew language

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Former good articleHebrew language was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
January 19, 2004Refreshing brilliant proseNot kept
July 23, 2006Good article nomineeListed
October 14, 2007Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article

the "The Hebrew-speaking world" map is wrong.[edit]

I'll start off by saying that I've already edited the map to say 'Hebrew-speaking areas in Israel', because it's a map of Israel, not the world, but that appeared to just be the start of it -

I believe the map should be just removed as it is either wholly inaccurate or just plain wrong, and will bring my reasoning here - if anyone disagrees, please revert the changes and respond to this subject:

I couldn't find anyplace where the data came from, which is a problem, as the map just seems amateurish to me - it is sometimes extremely specific, painting with small white dots some particular Palestinian villages in judea and samaria as places where 'Hebrew is not used at all', all while painting other Palestinian villages as somehow places where 'Hebrew is the majority'. In Judea and Samaria it looks like the creator of the map just painted the areas that appear in the similar Palestinian National Authority map as places where Hebrew isn't used at all, completely disregarding every other reasoning, as if languages care for what exact jurisdiction Palestinian villages falls under.

...Not to mention that mixed cities in the rest of Israel just don't appear here, like Haifa, Acre, and Jaffa, or other towns where clearly hebrew can't be the majority language, like Jisr az-Zarqa, Rahat, all of the Bedouin settlements in the Negev, etc., which is even more ridiculous considering villages with only 1000~ people from judea and samaria do appear.

I have removed the map for now. Godislonely (talk) 08:20, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

I don't think the phrase "Hebrew-speaking world" is incorrect, as it is refers to the areas where a significant amount of people speak the language as a native tongue and/or where it is an official language. But I suppose that is more or less a matter of opinion really. The map is pretty precise in assessing the amount of native speakers of Hebrew in the different areas, it reflect statistics on ethnic demographics in the different administrative divisions of Israel, the Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights (Found here: While there are many Palestinian Arabs with Hebrew as a second language, the amount of native Hebrew speakers living in the Palestinian Authority areas (Areas A&B) is (at least officially) close to zero. AntonSamuel (talk) 15:22, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
the data you refereed to is for very large parts of land (like 'judea and samaria'), while the map itself attempts to paint small specific villages as either Hebrew speaking or not. I understand if you believe that's the only info we have to go on, but producing a wholly inaccurate map because of that is misleading and confusing. again, the map just doesn't answer to why some Palestinian villages in judea and samaria are marked as to be wholly filled with native hebrew speakers while some aren't (the answer is, of course, that it is marked as such because the map is just a painted version of the Palestinian authority territories map, not of actual arab villages in the west bank), and why other parts of Israel that are clearly arab (like mentioned above) aren't mentioned. It can't be because we have better information for the west bank, because we don't. The map should at the very least attempt to also paint the villages that appear in the the arab localities in israel wiki page, but until it does even that it just paints an inaccurate, confusing and misleading situation. Godislonely (talk) 13:42, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Please don't remove significant content without consensus. If you argue that treating all of Area C in the same manner is problematic I could understand because of there being areas that are sparsely populated, but I don't think it's that misleading. Even if the map was even more general and only showed statistics for the North, Central, Judea and Samaria areas and so on it would give an illustration as to where Hebrew-speakers are the majority and the minority in Israel. Of course the map can be improved and be made more neutral and factual and you are free to do so, but I would argue that the content is significant enough and correct enough to warrant it staying on the page as it is. AntonSamuel (talk) 13:55, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your replies, and sorry - I will stop removing the map without consensus. Again, it is my view that the map is undoubtedly misleading, as it tries to be extremely accurate in the west bank (and completely fails) while being extremely vague in Israel proper, and does so without any data for backing it up - simply looking at a map of arab villages in the west bank is good enough to show that the map wasn't made with accuracy in mind.
the issue is even more apparent when pages like the arab localities in israel wiki page have a map for arab speakers that is far more accurate, created with references to data, and actually makes sense (for the parts it does show), and this page that is much more mainstream has this sorry excuse (no offense meant) for an accurate representation.
I suppose my point is more of a general one - should Wikipedia really present information that is undoubtedly inaccurate and misleading because, well, 'that's what we have right now and unless you have the time/want to make a more accurate map, you should deal with it'? How can one bring this issue to a vote? Godislonely (talk) 05:01, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Strictly from a procedural point of view, what is theoretically permissible is the following:

  • You have a strong sense that the information in the article (the map, in this case) is inaccurate. So you remove it. (Probably OK so far, especially as the map does not have an explicit supporting reference. If it did have such a reference, that would have been more problematic. [And you do need to check on Commons, where the map is actually stored, to see if such a reference exists.] Anyway, stay with me here.)
  • Next, someone restores it, and asks you not to remove it without consensus. At this point, you definitely cannot remove it again until you have gained consensus on the talk page—or unless some other compelling justification appears. (See below.)

Now, that's theoretically what you can do. In practice, because Israel-Palestine questions are always so fraught, it's almost always a good idea to ask first anyway. And if the map had been supported by a reference, then surely you would need to ask first, as removing sourced material from an article—especially if the sourced material has been present for a while—is not really kosher.

At the same time, you ask a good question: [S]hould Wikipedia really present information that is undoubtedly inaccurate and misleading because, well, 'that's what we have right now and unless you have the time/want to make a more accurate map, you should deal with it'? And the answer to that is that every single fact in Wikipedia must be verifiable in reliable sources. Since I'm not anal about such things, I'm perfectly happy to concede that we don't necessarily need to demand the sources in absolutely every single case, even when the fact is less obvious than "the sky is blue". But in this case, where you are expressing some serious reservations about the accuracy of the map, you absolutely have a right to ask User:AntonSamuel for his reliable sources. Now, you need to give him a reasonable amount of time to respond—I am not a big fan of people immediately removing controversial information just because the source has not yet been presented. But if a week or so has passed and he cannot back up his map with sources, then you can, in fact, remove the map, even if there is not consensus.

  • Facts that cannot be supported by reliable sources are always subject to removal. (See WP:UNSOURCED.) While some people become aggressive about removing unsourced facts, I don't think one needs to be, as long as we're not talking biography of living persons issues or copyright violations. But under normal circumstances, if someone cannot respond in a week, then you are surely within your rights to act.

StevenJ81 (talk) 20:18, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Thank you for clarifying StevenJ81! My assessment is that the map is not wrong or inaccurate in its present form, but can be made more precise and neutral. I've clarified the description on the page somewhat now. As I stated earlier, if you check this source:, you'll find data corresponding to the map. The demographic map the map is based on can also be found here: AntonSamuel (talk) 20:38, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Thank you, AntonSamuel. So here's where I still have some problems.

  1. I don't see any actual information about language fluency in either of these sources. If these are your sources, you effectively infer that the Jewish percentage of the population (in the data source) is the same thing as the Hebrew-language share (on the map). Is the assumption that Hebrew is the language of "all" Jews and "no" Arabs? And while I doubt that most of the map is extremely inaccurate on that basis, that's still an inference, and qualifies as original research. You'd really need to find information on language fluency to support the map.
  2. I guess for the areas on the map inside Judea and Samaria, you are overlaying knowledge of the location of the "Israeli localities" cited in the population tables. But otherwise, same objections apply.
  3. What constitutes "Hebrew is the language of [x%] of the population", anyway? Consider:
    • My son emigrated to Israel 5+ years ago. There is no question that he is fluent in Hebrew. There is also no question that from a linguistics perspective, his L1 is English, while Hebrew is only his L2, albeit that he is fluent. So in Haifa (where he lives), is he part of the >50% or not?
    • My daughter-in-law emigrated from France. Her L1 is French, while her strongest L2 is English. Hebrew is only her third language, albeit again that she is fluent. What about her?
    • If you are going to figure my son and daughter-in-law into the Hebrew-speaking portion of the population, then don't you have to start figuring in the degree of fluency of Arab residents? Where do you draw the line?

Look, I understand the purpose of the map. But what you're really trying to illustrate here is one of the following (which are similar, but not exactly the same):

  • "Hebrew is either the L1 or the lingua franca of [x%] of the population"
  • "Hebrew is a preferred language over Arabic of [x%] of the population"

So you have to change the captions, at minimum. And I don't think you can support the map at all unless you can find explicit data on language fluency and use. The sources you have now just don't really do the trick. I'm not going to suggest you need to remove the map today. But if you can't find some data on language fluency and use, then it will eventually need to go, I think. (Note: the data does not need to be available in English.) StevenJ81 (talk) 21:24, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

  • Follow up: Removing map, as underlying language fluency data were never provided. StevenJ81 (talk) 21:43, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Update 23 October 2018[edit]

I just reverted an effort to restore the map to this page. As I noted just above, there are no data to support language fluency as described in that map. What the map actually shows is areas that are x% Jewish, and the reference data support that. But they do not support anything around language fluency, which makes the map inappropriate for this page. StevenJ81 (talk) 20:11, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

The ambiguity of the word hebraisti in Hellenistic and New Testament Greek[edit]

Many native Greek-language speakers were kind of aggressively apathetic towards non-Greek languages. When reading Greek texts, they would have had a very limited degree of interest in knowing anything about what would have been a Syrian barbarian patois from their point of view -- and trying to explain to them that there were actually two different Syrian barbarous jargons used by Jews (Aramaic and Hebrew) might have been more information than they really had any interest in processing about the subject. That may be a partial explanation for the ambiguity of the word Greeek hebraisti. For discussion of such attitudes among the ancient Greeks, see the book Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler... AnonMoos (talk) 14:12, 3 September 2018 (UTC)


Category:Modern Hebrew was placed in Category:Reconstructed languages. I removed Category:Reconstructed languages on the grounds that Hebrew is not a reconstructed language; it is a revived language. A reconstructed language is one that is unattested but reconstructed based on various evidence; for instance, Proto-Indo-European or Proto-Germanic. Hebrew, however, is a revived language; it died out, at least as a vernacular, but was revived (same is happening with two Celtic languages, Manx and Cornish). Therefore, i placed Category:Modern Hebrew in Category:Language revival instead. Okay?--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 15:52, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

You're correct. Modern Hebrew was largely constructed but it isn't reconstructed in the sense attached to that term in linguistics. Largoplazo (talk) 18:16, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Agree. (It's somewhat arguable whether it even should be in the revival category, since it was always alive as a written language. But certainly a case can be made for that, and I won't object.) StevenJ81 (talk) 16:55, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Name of the language in IPA[edit]

I propose to change the IPA renderings of "Ivrit" to (1) [ɪvˈɾit̚] and (2) [ɪivˈɾit]. This matches the sounds the speakers make. The first speaker has a tap, not a voiced uvular fricative, for the r-sound, and his t-sound is not released and barely audible; the second speaker has no initial voiced pharyngeal fricative ("ayin"), and his first vowel-sound is noticeably diphthongised. These IPA transcriptions do not of course represent the correct phonemic form of the name of the language (at whatever period), but our square brackets say that the transcription is not phonemic anyway. If we show the correct phonemic form of the language-name, and the speakers don't produce that, then we have to either add an explanation or junk the recordings (or get better recordings).Farnwell (talk) 17:46, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

Why in the opening section[edit]

It says "Palestine's Jews", the name Israel was before "Palestine". Even according to historians the area was called "Israel" before it was called "Palestina". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2a00:a040:19b:214d:c099:8f6c:cd71:29e4 (talkcontribs)

That's the title of that article, IP: Palestinian Jews. El_C 04:56, 4 August 2019 (UTC)