Did Hebrew affect all languages in the world? If so, is it the only language that affected all languages?

By: | Post date: 2016-09-15 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

… The only wide-ranging influence of Hebrew I can think of is

  • In the variants of languages that are spoken by Jews: Yiddish, Ladino, Judaeo-Greek, Judaeo-Persian, Judaeo-Arabic… for all I know, Judaeo-Chinese.
  • In the church register of languages impacted by Christianity. And not a lot of words there. Amen, Satan and Sabbath are probably the most wide-ranging ones.

Be careful not to conflate Hebrew with other Semitic languages. In Greek, arrabōn for “pledge; (later) engagement” dates from Classical times; that means it’s not Hebrew, it’s Phoenecian. The same is likely true for camel, which was used by Herodotus.

Both Jews and Christianity spread widely, but the lexical impact of Hebrew, I’d say, is surprisingly superficial. English, Greek and Latin have gotten around a lot more.

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