eskandar wrote:Much more than 1% of Israelis pray in Hebrew according to a liturgical pronunciation that differs from how they actually speak Hebrew. Plenty of people learn to read the Torah with these sounds. Iranian Jews (who pronounce ק like ق when reciting from the Torah) alone are 2-3% of the population, to say nothing of the much larger number of Jews from Arab countries.
Okay, my experience again (and I can't generalise beyond that for this case)...
...in Israeli synagogues, Israeli Hebrew seems to predominate. Again it's an age-related issue, so older religious people sometimes do stick to traditional pronunciations in Israeli synagogues (though I feel this is more common with Ashkenazic than Sfaradi?). Other than very old people, I've only ever heard Ashkenazic and Sfaradic promunciations of Hebrew in Australian synagogues (I've never been to a synagogue outside of Australia and Israel).
You still hear "gut shabbes" in the Jewish diaspora but also among Israelis of all backgrounds (though it's usually said as a joke by younger people, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi and others alike).
Well, here's the problem. You and are I talking about different things. You're talking about how things are pronounced today. I'm interested specifically in how things were pronounced and taught in the early 20th century, and why/how we got the pronunciations that are common today.
Ahhhh. I thought we were discussing whether some people today still use pharyngeal ח and ע. My apologies.
Again, not just old people if we include liturgical pronunciation...
For sure, I haven't heard every religious person reading. But in my experience Ashkenazi pronunciation is a lot more common; most Mizrahim stick to the Israeli Hebrew in synagogue.
I think France would be a good community to get experience with this. The Israeli community is all under the influence of Israeli modern Hebrew - Mizrahi and everyone else alike - so traditional pronunciations sadly will probably die out there first. France is more of a North African Jewish hotspot without so much modern Israeli influence.
And predictably so. Poll your friends and ask if any of them speak Circassian. Chances are many of them haven't even heard of it, so using your methodology, we can conclude that no one in Israel speaks it. Yet there are ~4000 speakers in Israel - they just happen to be limited to a couple of villages and unlikely to be represented among your circle of friends.
Of course, I'm not saying that nobody does it, but pronouncing ח and ע as pharyngeals is extremely rare among native Jewish Israeli Hebrew speakers under a certain age (I'd say 50-60) to the point that I and none of my friends have heard it. The Circassian analogy is a bit different given that they really do live in villages that isolate from the rest of Israeli society, but Israeli Jews don't have such a system.
The absolute hardest word in the Hebrew language for me to pronounce is אהלן . It's not even a pharyngeal 'h' that's the problem. It's just so hard for me to not say اهلا and to get it to come out like [a:lan] with no 'h' at all.
Agreed, it's weird. The same goes for "ahbal", though "ahabal" is a common pronunciation of that.
It's sad that traditional pronunciations are dying out, and annoying that Israelis laugh when I tell them how the "h" in Ahlan is pronounced in Arabic - some people genuinely think the following: it's SUPPOSED to be a 7 ح, but since Israelis can't pronounce that letter, it's omitted altogether.
On the same note, when I lived in Tel Aviv, I had this conversation with my friend and mentioned the name "Mehdi" (Iranian friend). He laughed and told me it was supposed to be pronounced with a 7; he couldn't accept that Arabic has all three sounds of h, 7 and kh.
Tbh, all this is cringeworthy as hell. Israelis are supposed to learn at least basic Standard Arabic and there's no reason they should not be able to pronounce these letters. It was one of the official languages of the state until a few years ago. I guess aversion towards all things related to Arabic is still not decreasing.
I know Israel is not unique in this case, but it really pisses me off when countries don't try hard enough to preserve anything at least in recorded form. I know that everybody eventually blends into the same way of speaking in a small area, and I understand that this is natural, but it would be great if we could have some more recorded evidence of how people used to speak.
I prefer not to get into personal details on here, but I've gone a few times now.
Fair enough. Congrats though - hope you had a nice time and I hope you're still keeping up with the Hebrew studies.