Theses in English 'erosion of Hebrew'
Shahar Chai
Published: 16.01.13, 17:34
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16 Talkbacks for this article
1. Placing English on the same level as Hebrew is unlawful
Jake   (01.16.13)
Despite its status as an international language, for the time being, English is not, in fact, an official language in Israel. It was removed from the list of official languages in 1950.
2. With all due respect...
M. Davison ,   Ra'anana, Israel   (01.16.13)
To Prof. Bar Asher, the lingua franca of the academic world today is English. Even Russian and Chinese academics publish papers with at least abstracts in English, if not the entire article. Doctorate theses are meant to be published-- a thesis in Hebrew alone, without at least an abstract in English will not interest the academic world, other than the limited audience of Hebrew speakers who can read it. Any academic, whether Israeli, Chinese, Russian, French or Indian MUST publish at least an abstract of his writings in English if they want to reach the largest audience possible. Researchers who might utilize a thesis as a basis for their own continuing work won't bother translating a paper from Hebrew to English, but will look elsewhere. IMO, Prof. Bar Asher has a very narrow viewpoint. Maybe he should get out into the world a bit more.
3. #2 So, the thesis can be translated in English by author
Jake   (01.16.13)
But to submit a thesis to an Israeli university ONLY in English should be unnacceptable.
4. The Profressor is Correct
Tova ,   Canada   (01.16.13)
Hebrew is ourl language. We need to use the language & eventually loose our culture. English has erorded over the years. Growing up English was important. Now people in Canada rarely speak good English.
5. Hebrew University theses in English
Professor M Rudner ,   Ottawa, Canada   (01.16.13)
My doctoral thesis, submitted and accepted by the Hebrew University in 1974, was written in English; The topic was "Education and the Political Process in Malaysia and Singapore", and it was completed under the aegis of the Faculty of Humanities. Subsequently, copies of this thesis were requested and deposited in libraries in Malaysia and Singapore and elsewhere around the world..
6. purity
Ethan ,   Eilat   (01.16.13)
I agree with Mr.Davison so far as higher education goes. We need to return language coaches to Israeli radio and television, as well as insisting that proper Hebrew be spoken and taught by our Kindergarten teacher and school teachers. I'm embarrassed by the level of Hebrew I hear in those places.
stude ham   (01.16.13)
he is describing a problem that is bedevilling a number other societies in trying to maintain their national languages. for example, in canada, the government of the province of quebec has adopted stern measures to reverse the erosion into english of its french language. the founders of israel did a heroically monumental job not only in reviving our hebrew language but also modernizing it so as to expand its vocabulary reach into areas far unknown to the ancient hebrews. the university is dead wrong in a policy allowing for english doctoral theses.
8. The Hebrew language does fine.
Michael ,   California, USA   (01.16.13)
The most important contribution Israel made to the world was the renewal of the Hebrew language. Not just as an academic tool, but as a common language of the Israeli Nation. The Hebrew language makes Israel a carrier of its distinct culture, it feeds all the other aspects of its uniqueness, such as its art and main aspects everyday life. Fortunately, the Hebrew language today has a solid base in the Israeli Nation, in its population. The population is large enough to maintain the language and pass it on to future generations. There is a "critical mass" in Israel for Hebrew sustenance; the survival of the Hebrew language is not in doubt.
9. all you talkbackers got it wrong
Bluegrass Picker ,   Afula   (01.16.13)
Trying to "preserve" the Hebrew language as you have gotten used to it, is as useless and foolish as trying to "preserve" your child in her 3-years-old condition. Furthermore, Prof Bar-Asher has got his historiography ==dead== wrong; in a few thousand years when English is as dead as Aramaic, the English-sourced words of Hebrew will be considered as ages-old Hebrew words!!
10. I agree with the professor
David ,   Tel Aviv, Israel   (01.16.13)
Israel today is for many reasons a self conscious country. We certainly have an inferiority complex, especially to America, because we rely so much on them, and on American Jews who only speak English and believe that it is part of their 'birthright' to be able to come and speak only English in Israel. Perhaps it is natural, but it wasn't always so.
11. Him and Pauline Marois
HAB ,   Montreal, Canada   (01.17.13)
He needs to get together with Pauline Marois!
12. The Erosion of Hebrew
Roxy ,   Israel   (01.17.13)
Thesis for Doctorate and other higher degrees are always written in an international language so they can be published abroad in Journals. That is how universities make money off their professors and Graduates,by having them publish in Journals and attracting a better calibre of student! Hebrew is only spoken and read in Israel or in Synagogue so it makes more sense that doctorate candidates write their thesis in English, so that more peple will read them.
13. @ Jake, # 3
M. Davison ,   Ra'anana, Israel   (01.17.13)
The idea that a doctorate candidate can afford to have a thesis of 50 pages or more at the current rate of professional translation (which starts at around NIS 60 per 250 words for general subject material and has surcharges for mathematical formula, technical or profession-specific vocabulary, hand-written notes or poor fax or scanned copy and a dozenb other things), you're talking about several thousand NIS, best case scenario. How many students have that kind of money? It's not unusual that translating a doctoral thesis costs more than the tuition for a semester at the Hebrew U. As an ITA member and a professional translator for more than a decade, I've worked with students who needed material in English (required reading) translated into Hebrew. In most cases, I was paid by a group of students from the same lecture class, who split the cost between them and made copies for the entire group. Since a doctorate thesis is the work of a single person, not a study group of 5 or 6 students, that method doesn't work. I've seen a number of articles in journals where the article was in Hebrew (or Russian, Italian, French, or Spanish), but the abstract was in English. There's nothing wrong with that system, and it can work here, too. HOWEVER, first, Israeli universities have to stop accepting foreign students whose Hebrew isn't good enough to write a paper in Hebrew, and stop giving them classes in English. I think that if classes are given in English, then one should expect all work from the students in that class to be in English.
14. Theses in English:WHAT AN ABSURD!!!!
Keren ,   IL-BR   (01.17.13)
15. Fear of Hebrew "eroding" unfounded....
Mitchell Cohen ,   Gush Etzion, Israel   (01.17.13)
I don't think the fear of Hebrew "eroding" is founded. My wife and I speak with our two children (ages 9 and 5) in English, yet our children prefer Hebrew and speak with each other in Hebrew (while speaking with us in English). Our daughter is in 4th grade and reads at a 6th grade level (in Hebrew) despite growing up in an English speaking home and living in a community with a very high percentage of English speaking households. I help my daughter with her homework and I don't see a lack of Hebrew. She also surfs the internet in Hebrew (including Google Israel). Our son who is in Kindergarten also prefers Hebrew hands down (speaking; he still doesn't read yet) and does not seem to be suffering from being fed "poor Hebrew" by his teacher/s. Every Friday he brings home a book that his gan gives him for my wife and I to read him over the weekend. The Hebrew in these books seems fine to me. Sure, Hebrew has taken on some international words and some English words have crept their way into the Hebrew dialect, but this is not unique to Hebrew. European languages are going through the same thing. However, native Israelis (regardless of their parents' mother tongue) will always prefer Hebrew.
16. Kol b'Ivrit?
Neal ,   Minneapolis, USA   (01.18.13)
I'm not one of those Americans who comes to Israel and think it's his "birthright" to speak English. In fact, the Jewish state would be a bit less interesting if the language were English instead of Hebrew. But English is the language in which I speak, read and have earned a living (writing and editing, in fact). I don't expect Israelis to be fluent in English; why should they? I have fun -- and some frustration -- using my tiny bit of Ivrit to get around Israel, and when I have to resort to English (which is much of the time), I'm relieved to find that so many Israelis are able to help me, even if as haltingly as I can communicate in Hebrew. Others can argue about whether Israeli doctoral dissertations should be required to be in Hebrew -- that's for Israelis to decide -- but English has become the Latin or French of this era (the Lingua Franca, one might say), and of the academic, scientific and business worlds operate primarily in it.
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