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Hebrew is categorized as a part of the Canaanite group of the Semitic languages, to which also the ancient languages, Phoenician and Moabite, belonged.
There are several theories to the origin of the name 'Hebrew', but among the most likely is that it comes from Egyptian 'apiru'. 'Apiru' was used as a designation for the class in the Egyptian society which hired themselves out for specific services.
Today's Hebrew is a spoken language that is based upon the written Hebrew taken from old Hebrew texts. It is the only spoken language in the world derived from a written language.
Hebrew consists of 22 consonants, written from right to left. Vowels are normally not written. A method of indicating vowels is ascribed to the scholar Masoretes, and today these Masoretic points are used in scriptures, children's books and also poetry.
Biblical Hebrew is noted for a relatively small vocabulary, and there were only 2 verb tenses, perfect and imperfect. This caused problems in writing, largely dealing with time, and combinations of perfect and imperfect were used to expand the range of temporal descriptions.
The vocabulary of modern Hebrew called 'ivrit is based upon biblical Hebrew, but with numerous additions from the entire history of the language. For modern usage, several scholars have developed new words that are based upon the structure of Hebrew, but Hebrew has also borrowed words from other languages, including Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin, Yiddish and especially Aramaic. The syntax of modern Hebrew is based on that of the Mishnah. The pronunciation is taken from Sephardic Jewish interpretation (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria) interpreted it.