chapter  21
26 Pages

Hebrew Orthography and Literacy

ByDorit Ravid

Modern Hebrew at the turn of the new millennium is a century-old language that still carries with it the traces of its 4,000-year-old past in its morphology and orthographic system. Hebrewspeaking children have to contend with the remnants of ancient rules in language acquisition, on the one hand, and in the development of literacy, on the other. This chapter presents relevant background facts about the Hebrew language and its speakers, readers, and writers. It then focuses on the Hebrew orthography with its unique Semitic features and main problems, traces its acquisition, and shows how its learners make use of phonological and morphological information available from oral usage. Special attention is paid to the differences between the representation of various phonological and morphological categories and their consequences for literacy acquisition and consolidation.