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Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912628.001.0001

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Liora R. Halperin, Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920–1948. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 313 pp.

Liora R. Halperin, Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920–1948. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 313 pp.

Chapter:
Liora R. Halperin, Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920–1948. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 313 pp.
Source:
Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
Author(s):
Richard I. Cohen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190912628.003.0057

This chapter reviews the book Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920–1948 (2015), by Liora R. Halperin. In Babel in Zion, Halperin explores the multilingual scene in the Jewish settlement in Palestine (the Yishuv) during the Mandate period. Halperin’s book aims to elucidate “the dynamics of linguistic diversity in a society officially committed to the promotion of a single tongue,” taking into account the fact that Hebrew, despite the proclaimed pro-Hebrew consensus, actually functioned within a complex setting of relationships—not only with a variety of immigrant languages among the Jewish population but also with Arabic and English. Babel in Zion does not assume a dichotomy between ideology and practice, nor does it deal with the attempts to eradicate other languages in order to promote Hebrew. Instead, its focus is on the social reality of multilingualism.

Keywords:   Multilingualism, Babel in Zion, Jews, nationalism, Palestine, Liora R. Halperin, Jewish settlement, linguistic diversity

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