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1.7.4. Anatolian Languages

The Anatolian languages are a group of extinct Indo-European languages, which were spoken in Anatolia for millennia, the best attested of them being the Hittite language.

The approximate extent of the Hittite Old Kingdom under Hantili I (ca. 1590 BC) in darkest. Maximal extent of the Hittite Empire ca. 1300 BC is shown in dark color, the Egyptian sphere of influence in light color.

The Anatolian branch is generally considered the earliest to split off the Proto-Indo-European language, from a stage referred to either as Middle PIE or “Proto-Indo-Hittite” (PIH), typically a date ca. 4500-3500 BC is assumed. Within a Kurgan framework, there are two possibilities of how early Anatolian speakers could have reached Anatolia: from the north via the Caucasus, and from the west, via the Balkans.

NOTE. The term Indo-Hittite is somewhat imprecise, as the prefix Indo- does not refer to the Indo-Aryan branch in particular, but  is iconic for Indo-European (as in Indo-Uralic), and the -Hittite part refers to the Anatolian language family as a whole.

Attested dialects of the Anatolian branch are:

·  Hittite (nesili), attested from ca. 1800 BC to 1100 BC, official language of the Hittite Empire.

·  Luwian (luwili), close relative of Hittite spoken in Arzawa, to the southwest of the core Hittite area.

·  Palaic, spoken in north-central Anatolia, extinct around the 13th century BC, known only fragmentarily from quoted prayers in Hittite texts.

·  Lycian, spoken in Lycia in the Iron Age, most likely a descendant of Luwian, extinct in ca. the 1st century BC. A fragmentary language, it is also a likely candidate for the language spoken by Trojans.

·  Lydian, spoken in Lydia, extinct in ca. the 1st century BC, fragmentary.

·  Carian, spoken in Caria, fragmentarily attested from graffiti by Carian mercenaries in Egypt from ca. the 7th century BC, extinct ca. in the 3rd century BC.

·  Pisidian and Sidetic (Pamphylian), fragmentary.

·  Milyan, known from a single inscription.

There were likely other languages of the Anatolian branch that have left no written records, such as the languages of Mysia, Cappadocia and Paphlagonia.

Anatolia was heavily Hellenized following the conquests of Alexander the Great, and it is generally thought that by the 1st century BC the native languages of the area were extinct.

Hittite pictographic writing

Hittite proper is known from cuneiform tablets and inscriptions erected by the Hittite kings and written in an adapted form of Old Assyrian cuneiform orthography. Owing to the predominantly syllabic nature of the script, it is difficult to ascertain the precise phonetic qualities of some Hittite sounds.

NOTE. The script known as “Hieroglyphic Hittite” has now been shown to have been used for writing the closely related Luwian language, rather than Hittite proper. The later languages Lycian and Lydian are also attested in Hittite territory.

The Hittite language has traditionally been stratified – partly on linguistic and partly on paleographic grounds – into Old Hittite, Middle Hittite and New or Neo-Hittite, corresponding to the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of the Hittite Empire, ca. 1750-1500 BC, 1500-1430 BC and 1430-1180 BC, respectively.

Luwian was spoken by population groups in Arzawa, to the west or southwest of the core Hittite area. In the oldest texts, e.g. the Hittite Code, the Luwian-speaking areas including Arzawa and Kizzuwatna were called Luwia. From this homeland, Luwian speakers gradually spread through Anatolia and became a contributing factor to the downfall, after circa 1180 BC, of the Hittite Empire, where it was already widely spoken. Luwian was also the language spoken in the Neo-Hittite states of Syria, such as Milid and Carchemish, as well as in the central Anatolian kingdom of Tabal that flourished around 900 BC. Luwian has been preserved in two forms, named after the writing systems used: Cuneiform Luwian and Hieroglyphic Luwian.

For the most part, the immediate ancestor of the known Anatolian languages, Common Anatolian (the Late Proto-Anatolian dialect spoken ca. 2500) has been reconstructed on the basis of Hittite. However, the usage of Hittite cuneiform writing system limits the enterprise of understanding and reconstructing Anatolian phonology, partly due to the deficiency of the adopted Akkadian cuneiform syllabary to represent Hittite sounds, and partly due to the Hittite scribal practices.

NOTE 1. This especially pertains to what appears to be confusion of voiceless and voiced dental stops, where signs -dV- and -tV- are employed interchangeably different attestations of the same word. Furthermore, in the syllables of the structure VC only the signs with voiceless stops are generally used. Distribution of spellings with single and geminated consonants in the oldest extant monuments indicates that the reflexes of PIE voiceless stops were spelled as double consonants and the reflexes of Proto-Indo-European voiced stops as single consonants. This regularity is the most consistent in in the case of dental stops in older texts; later monuments often show irregular variation of this rule.

NOTE 2. For a defence of Etruscan as an IE language, classified within the Anatolian branch, see Adrados (2005) at <>.

Known changes from Middle PIE into Common Anatolian include:

·   Voiced aspirates merged with voiced stops: *dh→d, *bh→b, *gh→g.

·   Voiceless stops become voiced after accented long-vowel or diphthong: PIH *wēk- → CA wēg-(cf. Hitt. wēk-, “ask for”); PIH *dheh1ti, putting → CA dǣdi (cf. Luw. taac-votive offering”).

·   Conditioned allophone PIH *tj- → CA tsj-, as Hittite still shows.

·   PIH *h1 is lost in CA, but for *eh1ǣ, appearing as Hitt., Pal. ē, Luw., Lyc., Lyd. ā; word-initial *h2→x, non-initial *h2→h; *h3→h.

NOTE 1. Melchert proposes that CA x (voiceless fricative) is “lenited” to h (voiced fricative) under the same conditions as voiceless stops. Also, word-initial *h3 is assumed by some scholars to have been lost already in CA. 

NOTE 2. There is an important assimilation of laryngeals within CA: a sequence -VRHV- becomes -VRRV-; cf. PIH *sperh1V- Hitt. isparr-, “kick flat”; PIH *sun-h3-V- → Hitt. sunna-, “fill”, Pal. sunnuttil-, “outpouring”; etc.

·   PIH sonorants are generally stable in CA. Only word-initial *r̥ has been eliminated. Word-initial *je- shows a trend to become CA e-, but the trend is not complete in CA, as Hittite shows.

·   Diphthong evolved as PIH *ei → CA long ę; PIH *eu CA ū. PIE *oi, *ai, *ou, *au, appear also in CA.

NOTE. Common Anatolian preserves PIE vowel system basically intact. Some cite the merger of PIH *o and (controversial) *a as a Common Anatolian innovation, but according to Melchert that merger was secondary shared innovation in Hittite, Palaic and Luwian, but not in Lycian. Also, the lengthening of accented short vowels in open syllables cannot be of Common Anatolian, and neither can lengthening in accented closed syllables.

·   The CA nominal system shows an archaic productive declension in *-i, *-u. There are only two grammatical genders, animate and inanimate.

·   Hittite verbs are inflected according to two general verbal classes, the mi- and the hi-conjugation.

NOTE. Rose (2006) lists 132 hi-verbs and interprets the hi/mi oppositions as vestiges of a system of grammatical voice, i.e. “centripetal voice” vs. “centrifugal voice”. Additionally, the Hittite verbal system displays two voices (active and mediopassive), two moods (indicative and imperative), and two tenses (present and preterite), two infinitive forms, one verbal substantive, a supine, and a participle.

1.8. Modern Indo-European

1.8.1. Modern Indo-European (MIE) is therefore a set of grammatical rules – including its writing system, noun declension, verbal conjugation and syntax –, designed to systematize the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European dialect North-West Indo-European – described (v.s.) as the last IE dialect continuum (spoken in Europe for some centuries within the time frame 3000-2000 BC) – to adapt it to modern communication needs.

Because such PIE dialects were spoken by prehistoric societies, no genuine sample texts are available, and thus comparative linguistics – in spite of its 200 years’ history – is not (and will not be) in the position to reconstruct exactly their formal languages (the one used by learned people at the time), but only approximately how the spoken, vulgar languages were like, i.e. the proto-languages that later evolved into the different attested Indo-European dialects and languages.

NOTE. Reconstructed languages like Modern Hebrew, Modern Cornish, Modern Coptic, Modern Prussian or Modern Indo-European may be revived in their communities without being as easy, as logical, as neutral or as philosophical as the million artificial languages that exist today, and whose main aim is to be supposedly ‘better’, or ‘easier’, or ‘more neutral’ than other artificial or natural languages they want to substitute. Whatever the sociological, psychological, political or practical reasons behind the success of such ‘difficult’ and ‘non-neutral’ natural languages instead of ‘universal’ ones, what is certain is that if somebody learns Hebrew, Cornish, Coptic, Prussian or Indo-European (or Latin, Gothic, Greek, Sanskrit, etc.), whatever the changes in the morphology, syntax or vocabulary that could follow (because of, say, ‘better’ or ‘purer’ or ‘easier’ language systems recommended by their language regulators), the language learnt will still be the same, and the effort made won’t be lost in any possible case. That cannot be said of personal inventions.

1.8.2. We deemed it worth it to use the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction for the revival of a complete modern language system, because of the obvious need for a common language within the EU, to substitute the current deficient linguistic policy. This language system, called European or European language (eurōpājóm), is mainly based on the features of the European or Northwestern IE dialects, whose speakers – as we have already seen – remained in close contact for some centuries after the first Late PIE migrations, and have influenced each other in the last millennia within Europe.

NOTE. As Indo-Europeanist F. López-Menchero (2008) puts it, “there are ‘three (Late) Proto-Indo-European languages’ which might be distinguished today:

1) The actual Proto-Indo-European language and its early dialects, spoken by prehistoric peoples of Eurasia in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, some millennia ago;

2) the reconstructed Late Proto-Indo-European language system, which has been studied by IE scholars using the linguistic, archaeological and historical data available, and which is (and will remain) imperfect by nature, based on more or less certain hypotheses and schools of thought; and

3) the modern Indo-European language systems (European, Hellenic, Aryan) which, being based on the later, and trying to come near to the former, are neither one nor the other, but modern languages systematized to be used in the modern world”.

NOTE 2. In that sense, some critics have considered the so-called “Indo-European language revival” to be different from (and thus not comparable to) other language revivals, like – as they put it – Hebrew or Cornish, because of the ‘obvious differences that will exist between that ancient North-West Indo-European language and the Modern Indo-European or European language’. It is important to note that, even though there is a general belief that Modern Hebrew and Ancient Hebrew are the same languages, among Israeli scholars there have been continued calls for the “Modern Hebrew” language to be called “Israeli Hebrew” or just (preferably) “Israeli”, due to the strong divergences that exist – and further develop with its use – between the modern language spoken in Israel and its theoretical basis, the Ancient Hebrew of the Tanakh, its contents (and language variations) having being compiled probably between 450-200 BC, i.e when the language was being substituted by Aramaic. On that interesting question, Prof. Ghil’ad Zuckermann considers that “Israelis are brainwashed to believe they speak the same language as the prophet Isaiah, a purely Semitic language, but this is false. It's time we acknowledge that Israeli is very different from the Hebrew of the past”. He points out to the abiding influence of modern Indo-European dialects – especially Yiddish, Russian and Polish –, in vocabulary, syntax and phonetics, as imported by Israel's founders. The same could certainly be said of Cornish and other language revivals, and even of some death languages with a continued use, like the Modern Latin language used by the Catholic Church, which is not comparable to the Classical Latin used by Cicero, not to talk about the real, Vulgar Latin used by the different peoples who lived in the Roman Empire.

1.8.3. Late Proto-Indo-European features that are common to early PIE dialects (mainly North-West IE, Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian), like nominal and verbal inflection, morphology and syntax, make it possible for PIE to be proposed as Dachsprache for an Indo-European International Auxiliary Language project. Obviously, French, German, Spanish, Hindustani, Chinese, and other natural and artificial languages proposed to substitute English dominance, are only supported by their cultural or social communities, whereas IE native speakers make up the majority of the world’s population, being thus the most ‘democratic’ choice for a language spoken within international organizations and between the different existing nations.

NOTE 1. Because Modern Indo-European (a revived North-West IE proto-language) has other sister dialects that were spoken by coeval prehistoric communities, languages like Modern Hellenic (a revived Proto-Greek) and Modern Aryan (a revived Proto-Indo-Iranian) can also be used in the regions where they are currently spoken in the form of their surviving dialects, as those proto-languages were not much more different from North-West IE than Swedish from Danish, or Spanish from Portuguese. They might also serve as linguae francae for closely related languages or neighbouring regions, i.e. Aryan for Asia, Hellenic for and Armenian-speaking territories.

Anatolianism (Turkish Anadoluculuk) asserts that Turks descend from the indigenous population of ancient Anatolia, based on historical and genetic views. Supported by Turkish intellectuals in the 20th century, it became essential to the process of nation-building in Turkey, but was substituted by the Pan-Turkic nationalism Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had discouraged before his death. If accepted again, Turks could embrace their historical culture by adopting Modern Anatolian (a revived Common Anatolian, “cousin dialect” of EIE, PGk. and PII) as a modern second language for Turkey, which shares close historical and cultural ties with Europe and Asia.

NOTE 2. The terms Ausbausprache-Abstandsprache-Dachsprache were coined by Heinz Kloss (1967), and they are designed to capture the idea that there are two separate and largely independent sets of criteria and arguments for calling a variety an independent “language” rather than a “dialect”: the one based on its social functions, and the other based on its objective structural properties. A variety is called an ausbau language if it is used autonomously with respect to other related languages. This typically means that it has its own standardized form independent of neighbouring standard languages, like (in this hypothetical future) Modern Indo-European in Europe and the Americas, Modern Aryan in Asia. This often involves being taught in schools, and being used as a written language in a wide variety of functions, possibly including that of an official national language. In contrast, varieties that are abstand languages are those that are only spoken and typically only used in private contexts.

Dachsprache means a language form that serves as standard language for different dialects, even though these dialects may be so different that mutual intelligibility is not possible on the basilectal level between all dialects, particularly those separated by significant geographical distance. So e.g. the Rumantsch Grischun developed by Heinrich Schmid (1982) as such a Dachsprache for a number of quite different Romansh language forms spoken in parts of Switzerland; or the Euskara Batua, “Standard Basque”, and the Southern Quechua literary standard, both developed as standard languages for dialect continua that had historically been thought of as discrete languages with many dialects and no “official" dialect. Standard German and standard Italian to some extent function in the same way. Perhaps the most widely used Dachsprache is Modern Standard Arabic, which links together the speakers of many different, often mutually unintelligible Arabic dialects. Hence a Standard Indo-European, which might take rules from Late Proto-Indo-European reconstruction and the Modern Indo-European rules presented here, would be the wide Dachsprache necessary to encompass (i.e. to serve as linguistic umbrella for) the modern revival of early PIE dialects.

NOTE 3. Our proposal is different from the Hebrew language revival, but we think that:

a) The reconstruction of a common Late PIE (laryngeal?) phonology, nominal or verbal inflection system results at best mainly in abstract formulae or vague approximations –  following the dissertation of Mallory & Adams (v.s. § 1.1.8) –; they are very useful for a Standard Indo-European Dachsprache, but the reconstruction unfortunately does not have enough certainty to be used for a common, modern revived language. Reconstructions of early PIE dialects, on the other hand, result in approximations with strong statistical confidence, offering a practical system for common West European, Greek and Indo-Iranian phonetics and inflection system, but they lack enough data on their oldest morphology, syntax and vocabulary, which were obscured by later innovations. Therefore, reconstructions of Late PIE and early PIE dialects complement each other.

b) Where Zionism had only some formal writings, with limited vocabulary, of an ancient language already dead centuries before their latest sacred texts were compiled (ca. 200 BC), and their people expelled from Israel (in 70 AD), Pro-Europeanism and Indo-Europeanism have PIE and its early dialects (EIE, PGk and PII) with a continued history of use in Eurasia and hundreds of living dialects, and other very old dead dialects attested, so that their modern revival can be considered ‘less artificial’. Thus, even if Europeans had tablets dating from 2000 BC in some dialectal predominant formal EIE language (say, from Pre-Germanic or Pre-Celtic IE), the current North-West Indo-European reconstruction should probably still be used as the main source for Indo-European language revival in the European Union. Just taking a look at Mycenaean inscriptions and its difficult phonetic decipherment is enough to realize how little EIE reconstruction would change if writings were found.

c) The common culture and religion was probably the basis for the Hebrew language revival in Israel. Proto-Indo-European, whilst the mother tongue of some prehistoric tribe with an own culture and religion, spread into different peoples, with different cultures and religions. There was never a concept of “Indo-European community” after the migrations. However, Indo-European languages are spoken today by the majority of the population – in the world and especially within Europe –, and its early dialects spread into two main communities, EIE and PGk in Europe, PII in South Asia.  It is therefore possible to speak them as natural, cultural and national common languages, what may be a significant advantage of IE as IAL over any other natural language.

Gustave Doré's Confusion of Tongues

Also, blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), a Roman Catholic Augustinian nun, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and ecstatic, had revelations about the Confusion of Tongues (Genesis 11:1-9): “Upon Heber who, as we have said, took no part in the work, God cast His eyes; and amid the general disorder and corruption, He set him and his posterity apart as a holy nation. God gave him also a new and holy language possessed by no other nation, that thereby his race should be cut off from communication with all others. This language was the pure Hebrew, or Chaldaic [=NW Semitic]. The first tongue, the mother tongue, spoken by Adam, Sem, and Noe, was different, and it is now extant only in isolated dialects. Its first pure offshoots are the Zend, the sacred tongue of India, and the language of the Bactrians [=early Indo-Iranian dialects]. In those languages, words may be found exactly similar to the Low German of my native place [=any modern EIE regional dialect]. The book that I see in modern Ctesiphon [=Greek colony, site of church councils of the Church of the East], on the Tigris, is written in that language [=a PGk dialect]”. Her visions receive particular veneration from Traditional Catholics, and this one refers clearly to the three “isolated dialects” (PII, EIE and PGk) derived directly from the confounded divine tongue – which some have since identified as the common Proto-Indo-European language spoken until ca. 3000-2500 BC according to Biblical chronology and archaeological findings of the great temple towers (ziggurats) of ancient Sumer. For the Catholic Catechism, the Genesis “uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event”, see <>.

1.8.4. Modern Indo-European words to complete the lexicon of North-West Indo-European, in case that no common PIE form is found, are to be loan-translated from present-day North-West IE languages. Common loan words from sister dialects can also be loan-translated or taken as (proto-language) loan words.

NOTE 1. Even though the vocabulary reconstructible for early PIE languages is indeed wider than the common Proto-Indo-European lexicon, a remark of Mallory & Adams (2006) regarding reconstructible Common PIE words is interesting: “Yet we know that our reconstructed lexicon falls far short of the full language, e.g. we can reconstruct ‘eye’ and ‘eyebrow’ but not ‘eyelash’. We can most easily gain an impression of what may be missing when we consider modern ethno-botanical studies. In Proto-Indo-European we can offer about thirty-two plant names and an additional twenty-six tree names. In contrast, Brent Berlin examined the languages of ten traditional farming societies and found that the average number of botanical taxa reported in each language was 520. If we were to treat such comparisons at face value this would suggest that we are recovering only about 11 per cent of the probable botanical lexicon known to the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Or compare, for example, the fact that we can reconstruct only a few terms relating to the horse in Proto-Indo-European; in English this semantic field includes horse, pony, nag, steed, prancer, dobbin, charger, courser, colt, foal, fielly, gelding, hack, jade, crock, plug, and many more terms, including the many specific terms describing the colour of the horse, e.g. bay, chestnut, sorrel, pinto. There is no reason to suspect that PIE did not behave similarly”.

NOTE 2. For examples of loan translations from modern EIE languages, cf. from Latin aquaeduct (Lat. aquaeductus MIE aqāsduktos) or universe (Lat. uniuersus<*oin(i)-uors-o-<*oino-wt-to- MIE oinówstosturned into one’); from English, like software (from Gmc. samþu-, warō MIE somtúworā); from French, like ambassador (from Cel. amb(i)actos MIE ambhíagtospublic servant’); or chamber (from O.Lat. camera, from PGk. kamárā, ‘vault’ MIE kamarā); from Russian, like bolshevik (MIE belijówikos); etc.

Modern loan words from sister or cousin IE dialects can be either loan-translated or directly taken as loan words, depending on the nature of the individual words:

o  Loan words should be taken directly in MIE from forms which are found only in one proto-language or restricted to southern dialects; as e.g. Gk. photo, which should be taken directly as loan word pháwotos, from PGk phawots, gen. phawotós, as Gk. φῶς (<φάϝος), φωτός, in compound phawotogphjā, photography, derived from IE root bhā-, shine, which could be loan-translated as MIE *bháwotos, from *bhawotogbhjā, but without having a meaning for extended bha-wes-, still less for bha-wot-, in North-West Indo-European or even Proto-Indo-European, as it is only found in Ancient Greek dialects. Compare also MIE skhol, from Lat. schola, taken from Gk. σχολή (<PGk. skhol), spare time, leisure, tranquility, borrowed from Greek with the meaning “school”, which was in O.Gk. σχολεῖον (scholeíon), translated as PGk. skholehjom (<PIE *-esjo-m), from IE root segh-, which could also be loan-translated as MIE *sghol or even more purely (and artificially) *sgholesjom, none of them being Proto-Indo-European or common Indo-European terms. Examples from Indo-Iranian include wasākáranas, bazaar, from O.Ira. vahacarana, “sale-traffic”, bazaar, which could also be translated as proper MIE *wesāqólenos, from PIE roots wes- and qel-; or katúrangam, chess, from Skr. caturaŋgam (which entered Europe from Pers. shatranj) a bahuvrihi compound, meaning “having four limbs or parts”, which in epic poetry often means “army”, possibly shortened from katurangabalam, Skr. caturaŋgabalam, lit. “four-member force”, “an army comprising of four parts”, could be loan-translated as MIE *qatúrangom and *qaturangobelom, from roots qetw-, ang- and bel-.

o  Loan words and loan translations might also coexist in specialized terms; as, from PIE *h1rudhs, red, PGk eruthrós, in common loan eruthrókutos, erythrocyte, proper MIE rudhrós, in rudhr (ésenos) kētjā, red (blood) cell; cf. also MIE mūs, musós, mouse, muscle, PGk mūs, muhós, in loan muhokutos, myocyte, for muskosjo kētjā, muscle cell.

1.8.5. The adjective eurōpājós, m. European, comes from the Greek noun Eurōpā.

NOTE. Gk. Eurōpā is from unknown origin, even though it was linked with Homer’s epithet for Zeus euruopā, from *hurú-oqeh2far-seeing, broad”, or *h1urú-woqeh2far-sounding” (Heath, 2005). Latinate adj. europaeus, which was borrowed by most European languages, comes from Gk. adj. eurōpaíos, in turn from PGk eurōpai-jós < PIE *eurōpeh2-jós MIE eurōpā-jós. For the evolution PIH *-eh2jo- → PGk *-aijo-, cf. adjective formation in Gk. agor-agoraíos, Ruigh (1967).

The name of the European language system is eurōpājóm, inanimate, because of the oldest IE dialects, those which had an independent name for languages used the neuter.

NOTE. Compare Gk. Ἑλληνικά (hellēniká), Skr. संस्कृतम् (sasktam), O.H.G. diutisc, O.Prus. prūsiskan, etc.; cf. also in Tacitus Lat. uōcābulum latīnum.

In most IE languages, the language is also referred to as “language” defined by an adjective, whose gender follows the general rule of concordance; as in MIE f. eurōpājdghwā, European language.

NOTE. Cf. Lat. latīna lingua, Gk. ελληνική γλώσσα, O.H.G. diutiska sprāhha (Ger. Deutsche Sprache), O.Prus. prūsiskai bilā, O.C.S. словѣньскыи ѩзыкъ (slověnĭskyi językŭ), etc.

1.8.6. Because the term Indo-European is common today to refer to the reconstructed language, we decided to use that traditional name to describe the Proto-European language, as a way to familiarize the reader with the European language system as a natural, dead language, and to distinguish it clearly from other language inventions.

NOTE. However, when speaking in European, sindhueurōpājóm, “Indo-European”, pr̅mo-sindhueurōpājóm, Proto-Indo-European”, Eurōpās sindhueurōpājóm, “Europe’s Indo-European”, should refer to the theoretical linguistic concepts, to the ancient reconstructed dialects, while eurōpājóm, “European”, should be preferred for the modern language, just like Israeli is probably the most suited name to refer to Modern Hebrew.