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The ancient Hebrew language is enshrined in the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament. Modern Hebrew is a member of the Semitic language family and is spoken by approximately 13 million people worldwide, with most speakers living in Israel, where it is one of the two official languages of the country (the other being Arabic). One of the world's oldest living languages, it is the only surviving member of the Canaanite language subfamily that emerged in the second millennium BCE. It is often referred to as Leshon (also spelled Lashon) HaKodesh, or “The Holy Language,” as the Bible and other religious texts are written in its classical or biblical form.

Hebrew is believed to have developed as an independent language in the 12th ...

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