To examine why some people ask: Should I learn Arabic or Hebrew? one needs to explore a person’s motivation and background. Both languages have a fascinating history. These languages are part of two very distinct cultures and have distinctive alphabets. These two languages are quite different, but they do have a few similarities.
Should I learn Arabic or Hebrew? are they similar or different?
When asking the question should I learn Arabic or Hebrew? you need to look at two things. It is important to look at their differences and similarities. Both the Arabic language and the Hebrew language have semitic origins. Both are written from right to left. Both languages have shared words. For example the word for peace shalom (in Hebrew) and salaam in Arabic. Also some Arabic numbers are like Hebrew numbers.
They have similar origins and share similar sounds. But they are two very distinct languages. The Arabic alphabet has 28 letters. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. Furthermore, the Arabic letters are only written in cursive, and are joined together. Whereas the Hebrew letters cannot be joined together.
Why is it important to you to learn Arabic or Hebrew?
It is all very well being able to examine the similarities and differences of these languages. But, to compare these languages is irrelevant if you only want to learn Hebrew or Arabic. And this is where we can start examining should I learn Arabic or Hebrew? As with everything, a person’s motivation is key. Their why will direct which language they will choose to learn.
The choices people make depends on the paths they are following. Some people are following a religious pathway. Some are following a cultural path. Some people are following an historical and academic pathway. The Hebrew and Arabic languages both are important. They both have part to play in all these different avenues people choose. Should I learn Arabic or Hebrew? It is really up to you.
Choosing to learn Hebrew
People choose to learn Hebrew for several different reasons. One reason could be is they want to reconnect with their Judaism. Or they need to study for their Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah. A child who is learning Hebrew in preparation for this coming of age ceremony needs to learn Hebrew. They need to learn the prayers in the prayer book. They need to learn to to read (or chant) from the Torah.
Some people learn Hebrew because they want to convert to Judaism. Others are are learning Hebrew is part of their academic studies. Other people want to learn Hebrew to be able to read the Torah in the original text. Indeed, reading the Torah in the original text is important to some Christians. The Torah was the original bible that the Christian bible is based upon. Some people use www.easylearnhebrew.com to help them.
These examples given above are people who have a definite why to learn Hebrew. In these examples it is clear that they are only focused on learning Hebrew. They do not need to learn Arabic. Another reason why some people learn Hebrew is to live in Israel. Many people learn modern Hebrew. They learn this because they are making Aliyah. Making Aliyah is the Hebrew term for going to live in Israel.
Using Hebrew in Israel
Making the move to Israel is a life-changing experience. It is so different, both culturally and linguistically. Whilst a lot of people speak English in Israel, everyone speaks Hebrew. Hebrew is the official language spoken in Israel. All formal interactions are conducted in Hebrew. It is critical for a person who is moving to Israel to be able to speak read and write in Hebrew.
However, Arabic is also the second official language spoken in Israel. After the 1948 war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were now living in Israel. There was also a mass migration of almost a million Mizrahi Jews. These Jews came from Arabic speaking countries. The migration also contributed to the growing Arabic-speaking population.
So, some people may recognise the benefits in learning both languages if they are living in Israel. They may seek out Hebrew lessons initially to master the Hebrew language. Once done, they can start with Arabic classes to help them understand the Arabic culture and speak Arabic to native Arabic speakers.
Choosing to learn Arabic first
Arabic is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. There are over 400 million people who speak Arabic. Most of the Arabic speakers living in the Middle East and North Africa. Arabic speakers come from countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. Furthermore, it is the official language in over 25 countries.
Learning Arabic is essential for communication and business in these regions/countries. A positive aspect of learning Arabic is to be able to become proficient in the Arabic numerical system. This numeric system was adopted by the Western World in the twelfth century CE. It has been used extensively in both the mathematics and scientific disciplines.
Should I learn Arabic or Hebrew – Cultural and historical interests
Some people may choose to learn both Arabic and Hebrew. Both languages boast deep historical and cultural importance. Arabic is well known for having a literary tradition dating back to the pre-Islamic era. Literature includes poetry, prose, and scientific works.
Similarly, Hebrew also has a long scholarly history. The books includes religious texts, literature, and philosophy. Learning, and ultimately understanding these languages offers insight to the student. The student gains deep insight into the cultures and people that helped shape history. To think that the Jewish people throughout the world have been reading and speaking Hebrew over three millennium.
To conclude, both Arabic and Hebrew, offer a fulfilling and intellectually exciting opportunity. Arabic provides insight into different cultures and business opportunities. Whilst Hebrew provides an opportunity to explore the ancient past. Furthermore, Hebrew can connect a person to Jewish communities all over the world.