The Hebrew-Israeli Language

February 27, 2009

There is a fascinating documentary series airing now in Israel that explores the evolution of modern day Hebrew. Below is an outtake from Haaretz:

Hebrew: ‘London, Corner of Ben Yehuda’
For the proponents of good Hebrew, and also for those who are interested in an intelligent, horizon-expanding television program, Channel 10 is now broadcasting a weekly series (on Wednesdays) entitled “London, Corner of Ben Yehuda.” In the series, veteran journalist Yaron London examines the ways in which our use of the Hebrew language has changed, from its revival by Eliezer Ben Yehuda to the present day. Along the way, London addresses subjects such as the generation gap, slang and “sub-languages” – including those of the Internet and of the settlers in the territories. A fascinating conversation between London and the writer Meir Shalev is a balm for every language-loving dinosaur, as London calls himself. In the second episode, which deals with the language of love – or, as poet Michal Zamir puts it more accurately, the language of erotica – London turns out to be an excellent writer of love poems (he wrote two especially for the program). And he proves, with his body and voice, that curiosity, intelligence and articulateness are enough to turn him, too, despite his age and pot belly, into an erotic object. (Neri Livneh)