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Languages of Israel

State of Israel, Medinat Israel. 6,692,000. 4,700,000 Jewish (1997), 805,000 Muslim, 160,000 Christian, 95,000 Druze, 300 Samaritan (1995 Central Statistics Dept., Israel). National or official languages: Hebrew, Standard Arabic, English. About half the Jewish people are Sephardi and half Ashkenazi. Literacy rate: 88%–92% (Jewish), 70% (Arab). Immigrant languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Egyptian Spoken Arabic (25,000), French (40,000), Italian (7,250), Levantine Bedawi Spoken Arabic (50,000), Malayalam (8,000), Marathi (8,000), North Levantine Spoken Arabic (100,000), Northern Uzbek, Samaritan, Samaritan Aramaic, Spanish (60,000), Standard German (200,000), Turkish (30,000), Western Farsi, Western Yiddish. Also includes languages of many other countries. Information mainly from J. Chetrit 1985; D. Cohen 1985; B. Comrie 1987; W. Fischer and O. Jastrow 1980; J. Fishman 1985, 1991; D. Gold 1974; T. Harris 1994; H. Kloss and G. McConnell 1974; P. Miller 1993; H. Mutzafi 1992-2004; H. Paper 1978; A. Saenz-Badillos 1993. Blind population: 5,285. Deaf population: 4,500 to 306,242 (1998). Deaf institutions: 31. The number of individual languages listed for Israel is 34. Of those, 33 are living languages and 1 has no known speakers.
Adyghe

[ady] 3,000 in Israel (1987). Kafr Kama and Rehaniya, small border villages. Alternate names: Adygey, West Circassian.  Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Circassian 
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Amharic

[amh] 40,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: “Falasha”.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Amharic-Argobba 
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Arabic, Judeo-Iraqi

[yhd] 100,000 in Israel (1994). Population total all countries: 100,130. Also in India, Iraq, United Kingdom. Alternate names: Arabi, Iraqi Judeo-Arabic, Jewish Iraqi-Baghdadi Arabic, Yahudic.  Dialects: Not intelligible with Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic [yud], Judeo-Tunisian Arabic [ajt], or Judeo-Moroccan Arabic [aju]. Similar to Baghdadi Arabic and North Mesopotamian Arabic [acm].  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Judeo-Moroccan

[aju] 250,000 in Israel (1992 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 258,930. Also in Canada, France, Morocco. Dialects: Many dialects. Much intelligibility with Tunisian Judeo-Arabic [aeb], some with Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic [yud], none with Judeo-Iraqi Arabic [yhd]. May be inherently intelligible with Moroccan Arabic [ary].  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Judeo-Tripolitanian

[yud] 30,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 35,000. Also in Italy. Alternate names: Jewish Tripolitanian-Libyan Arabic, Tripolita’it, Tripolitanian Judeo-Arabic, Yudi.  Dialects: Not intelligible with Judeo-Iraqi Arabic [yhd]; medium intelligibility with Judeo-Tunisian Arabic [aeb] and Judeo-Morocco Arabic [aju].  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Judeo-Tunisian

[ajt] 45,000 in Israel (1995 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 352,500. Also in France, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, United States. Dialects: Medium intelligibility with Judeo-Moroccan Arabic [aju] and Judeo-Tripolitanian Arabic [yud], but none with Judeo-Iraqi Arabic [yhd]. A lexicon of 5,000 words in 1950 had 79% words of Arabic origin, 15% Romance loanwords, 4.4% Hebrew loanwords, 1.6% others (D. Cohen 1985:254).  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Judeo-Yemeni

[jye] 50,000 in Israel (1995 Y. Kara). Population total all countries: 51,000. Also in Yemen. Alternate names: Judeo-Yemeni, Yemenite Judeo-Arabic.  Dialects: San’a, ’Aden, Be:da, Habban. Language varieties all markedly different from their coterritorial Muslim ones.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, South Levantine Spoken

[ajp] 910,000 in Israel.  Alternate names: Levantine, Palestanian-Jordanian Arabic.  Dialects: Madani, Fellahi.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Arabic, Standard

[arb]  Middle East, North Africa. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Armenian

[hye] 3,000 in Israel (1971). Jerusalem. Alternate names: Armjanski, Ermenice, Haieren, Somkhuri.  Dialects: Western Armenian.  Classification: Indo-European, Armenian 
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Barzani Jewish Neo-Aramaic

[bjf] 20 (2004 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: Bijil Neo-Aramaic, Lishan Didan, Lishan Dideni.  Dialects: Barzan, Shahe, Bijil. Sandu is a Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialect closely related to Barzani, but several isoglosses link it with Lishana Deni [lsd].  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern  Nearly extinct.
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Bukharic

[bhh] 50,000 in Israel (1995 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 110,000. Also in United States, Uzbekistan. Alternate names: Bokharan, Bokharic, Bukharan, Bukharian, Judeo-Tajik.  Dialects: Related to Tajiki [tgk]. May be easily intelligible with Tajiki or Farsi [pes]. Similar to Dzhidi [jpr].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Domari

[rmt] 2,000 in Israel (1997 Y. Matras). Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. Mainly Jerusalem (old city), Bir Zeit near Ramallah, and Gaza. Alternate names: Nawari, Near-Eastern Gypsy.  Dialects: Nawari.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Dom 
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Dzhidi

[jpr] 60,000 in Israel (1995). Also in Iran. Alternate names: Judeo-Persian.  Dialects: Similar to Bukharic [bhh], Western Farsi [pes].  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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English

[eng] 100,000 in Israel (1993).  Alternate names: Anglit.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English 
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Hebrew

[heb] 4,850,000 in Israel (1998). Population total all countries: 5,316,700. Also in Australia, Canada, Germany, Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, Panama, United Kingdom, United States. Alternate names: Ivrit.  Dialects: Standard Hebrew (General Israeli, Europeanized Hebrew), Oriental Hebrew (Arabized Hebrew, Yemenite Hebrew). Not a direct offspring from Biblical or other varieties of Ancient Hebrew, but an amalgamation of different Hebrew strata plus intrinsic evolution within the living speech.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Canaanite 
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Hebrew, Ancient

[hbo] Extinct.  Alternate names: Old Hebrew.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Canaanite 
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Hulaulá

[huy] 10,000 in Israel (1999 H. Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 10,350. Also in Iran, United States. Alternate names: ’Aramit, Galiglu, Hula Hula, Jabali, Judeo-Aramaic, Kurdit, Lishana Axni, Lishana Noshan.  Dialects: Saqiz, Kerend, Sanandaj, Suleimaniya. Very different and not intelligible with Senaya [syn] or Lishana Deni [lsd]. 60%–70% intelligibility with Lishanan and Lishanid Noshan [aij].  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Hungarian

[hun] 70,000 in Israel (1998 H. Mutzafi).  Classification: Uralic 
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Israeli Sign Language

[isr] 5,000 users including some hearing persons (Van Cleve 1986).  Alternate names: ISL.  Dialects: Not derived from and relatively little influenced by other sign languages. No special signs introduced from outside by educators. Minor dialect variation.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Judeo-Arabic

[jrb] A macrolanguage.  Population total all countries: 490,525. 
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Judeo-Berber

[jbe] 2,000 (1992 B. Podolsky). Formerly High Atlas range, Tifnut, other communities. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Berber, Northern, Atlas 
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Judeo-Georgian

[jge] 59,800 in Israel (2000). Population total all countries: 79,800. Some have gone to the Russian Federation and to other countries. Also in Georgia. Dialects: Oriental and Ashkenazic Jews in Georgia live separately; Judeo-Georgian speakers live separately from non-Jewish Georgian [kat] speakers. May not be a separate language from Georgian, but a dialect using various Hebrew loanwords.  Classification: Kartvelian, Georgian 
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Judeo-Tat

[jdt] 70,000 in Israel (1998). Sderot, Haderah, and Or Akiva. Alternate names: Bik, Dzhuhuric, Jewish Tat, Judeo-Tatic, Juhuri, “Tati”.  Dialects: Derbend.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Tat 
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Ladino

[lad] 100,000 in Israel (1985). Population total all countries: 110,310. Ethnic group members also in Salonica, Greece; Sofia, Bulgaria. Formerly also in Morocco. Also in Greece, Puerto Rico, Turkey (Europe), United States. Alternate names: Dzhudezmo, Haquetiya, Judeo Spanish, Judezmo, Sefardi, Spanyol.  Dialects: Judezmo (Judyo, Jidyo), Ladino, Haquetiya (Haketia, Haketiya, Hakitia). The Balkan dialect is more influenced by Turkish [tur] and Greek [ell]. The North African dialect is more influenced by Arabic and French.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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Lishán Didán

[trg] 4,230 in Israel (2001). Population total all countries: 4,450. Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv area. Originally Iranian Azerbaijan and southeast Turkey. Also in Azerbaijan, Georgia. Alternate names: Galihalu, Lakhlokhi, Lishanán, Lishanid Nash Didán, Persian Azerbaijan Jewish Aramaic.  Dialects: Northern Cluster Lishán Didán (Urmi, Salmas, Anatolia), Southern Cluster Lishán Didán (Naghada, Ushno, Mahabad). Northern Cluster Lishán Didán, Southern Cluster Lishán Didán. 60%-70% intelligibility of Hulaulá [huy] and Lishanid Noshan [aij], but not with other Aramaic languages. Northern cluster subvarieties are Urmi, Salmas, Anatolia; southern cluster varieties are Naghada, Ushno, Mahabad. The Urmi variety of Lishán Didán is different from the Urmi variety of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Lishana Deni

[lsd] 7,500 (1999 H. Mutzafi). Ethnic population: 9,061. Jerusalem and vicinity, including Maoz Tsiyon. Alternate names: Judeo-Aramaic, Kurdit, Lishan Hozaye, Lishan Hudaye.  Dialects: Zakho, Amadiya, Barashe, Shukho, Nerwa, Dohuk, Atrush, Bétanure. Resembles Chaldean Neo-Aramaic [cld], but with differences in morphology and other features. Inherent intelligibility is high between them. Low intelligibility with Ashirat dialects of Assyrian New-Aramaic [aii]; not intelligible with other Neo-Aramaic varieties.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Lishanid Noshan

[aij] 2,250 (1994 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: Galigalu, Hula’ula, Hulani, Jbeli, Kurdit, Lishana Didán.  Dialects: Arbel (Arbil), Dobe, Koy Sanjaq, Rwanduz, Rustaqa, Shaqlawa, Ranye, Qaladze. 60%–70% inherent intelligibility with Lishanan [lsd] and Hulaulá [huy]. Very different and not inherently intelligible with the Christian Aramaic languages and Lishana Deni. Western cluster subdialects are Arbil, Dobe. Eastern cluster subdialects are Southeastern varieties: Koy Sanjaq, Qaladze. Northeastern varieties: Rwanduz, Rustaqa.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
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Polish

[pol] 100,000 in Israel (1992 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: Polski.  Classification: Indo-European, Slavic, West, Lechitic 
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Romanian

[ron] 250,000 in Israel (1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel).  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Eastern 
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Russian

[rus] 750,000 in Israel (1999 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: Russit, Russki.  Classification: Indo-European, Slavic, East 
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Tigrigna

[tir] 10,000 in Israel (1994 H. Mutzafi).  Alternate names: “Falashas” , Tigrinya.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, North 
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Yevanic

[yej] 35 in Israel. Population total all countries: 50. Possibly a handful of older adults in Turkey. Also in United States. Alternate names: Judeo-Greek, Yevanitika.  Classification: Indo-European, Greek, Attic  Nearly extinct.
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Yiddish

[yid] A macrolanguage.  Population total all countries: 2,255,074. 
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Yiddish Sign Language

[yds]   Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Yiddish, Eastern

[ydd] 215,000 in Israel (1986). Population total all countries: 1,762,320. Southeastern dialect in Ukraine and Romania, Mideastern dialect in Poland and Hungary, Northeastern dialect in Lithuania and Belarus. Also in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Panama, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation (Europe), South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay. Alternate names: Judeo-German, Yiddish.  Dialects: Southeastern Yiddish, Mideastern Yiddish, Northeastern Yiddish. Many loans from Hebrew [heb] and local languages. Originated east of the Oder River in Poland, extending into Belarus, the Russian Federation (to Smolensk), Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Rumania, Ukraine, and pre-state British-Mandate Palestine (Jerusalem and Safed). Western Yiddish [yih] originated in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Alsace (France), Czechoslovakia, western Hungary, and is nearing extinction. It branched off medieval High German (mainly Rhenish dialects) and received modern German influences during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Eastern and Western [yih] Yiddish have difficult inherent intelligibility because of differing histories and influences from other languages. There are some Western Yiddish [yih] in Israel (1977 M. Herzog).  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Yiddish 
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