The Hebrew Language in the Polish Lands at the Turn of 18th Century (A Case Study of the Manuscript of the 'Memoirs' of Dov Ber of Bolechów)
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The Hebrew language of Dov Ber is an important source for the study of the development of the Hebrew language in general, especially in the Polish lands. Dov Ber of Bolechów (1723-1805) has written his memoirs in Hebrew in the time when this language was regarded as a dead language. It was only a century later, after Dov Ber's memoirs had been written, that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda revived the Hebrew language by using it in everyday life. The author of the manuscript, who had a traditional Jewish education, knew the languages of the 'Bible' and the 'Mishnah'. The Biblical Hebrew was the main lexicographical basis for him and he extended it by way of borrowings from other languages, for the most part from Polish (often via Yiddish) and from Yiddish. He also used the Post-Biblical Hebrew language, first of all the Mishnaic language, which introduces three tenses in lieu of two aspects of the Biblical language. The Hebrew language used by Dov Ber is an intermediate stage between the language of the 'Bible' and that of the 'Mishnah', on which he based himself, and the spoken Hebrew revived towards the close of the 19th century.
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