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Karaite Hebrew Translations of Arabic (Byzantium)

(1,935 words)

Author(s): Hopkins, Simon
The Hebrew written by the Karaites of Byzantium is the earliest representative of the large and varied category of Arabicized Mediaeval Hebrew (Arabic Influence: Medieval Period). This Karaite variety of the genre, consisting mostly of translations from Arabic, may fairly be said to be among the most extreme varieties of Arabicized Hebrew produced during the Middle Ages. In most surveys of Hebrew linguistic history the language of the early Karaite translations has not been accorded separate att…

Names of the Hebrew Language

(2,168 words)

Author(s): Hopkins, Simon
The names used to denote the Hebrew language, past and present, can be divided into two main groups: those derived from the Hebrew root עב״ר ʿ-b-r, i.e., ‘Hebrew’ = עברי ʿiḇri, and those which express the sacred, scriptural status of Hebrew as the ancestral ‘Holy Tongue’ = לשון קודש ləšon haq-qodeš. 1. ‘Hebrew’ The term עברית ʿiḇriṯ ~ עברי ʿiḇri ‘Hebrew’ as a linguistic designation does not occur in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew language is there referred to either as שְׂפַת כְּנַעַן śəp̄aṯ kənaʿan ‘the language of Canaan’ (as opposed to Egypt—Isa. 19.18) or adverbially as יְהוּדִית yəhūḏīṯ ‘in …

Arabic, Hebrew Loanwords in: Pre-Modern Period

(1,808 words)

Author(s): Hopkins, Simon
As opposed to the large number of Aramaic loans in Classical Arabic (Fraenkel 1886), specifically Hebrew loans are rather few and for the most part restricted to the Qurʾān (particularly its eschatological portions) and the religious milieu of pre-Islamic Arabia in which that book arose. Most of these Hebrew words probably reached Arabic through the mediation of Aramaic, some from Jewish (and/or Christian) contacts in Northern Arabia and the Fertile Crescent, others less directly via Christian A…

Arabic Influence: Medieval Period

(4,084 words)

Author(s): Hopkins, Simon
The majority of Jews who lived during the period corresponding to the European Middle Ages dwelt within the Islamic Empire and spoke Arabic as their mother-tongue. The influence of Arabic upon the Hebrew written by Arabic-speaking Jews during this period is very noticeable indeed. Information on phonology is, in the nature of things, rather limited, but, for example, the realization of גּ [ g] as ج [ j], mentioned for Iraq already by al-Qirqisāni in the 10th century and current today in Yemenite tradition, suggests that Arabic influence on medieval Hebrew pronun…