Is Classical/Biblical Hebrew an Indo-European language?

And/or - To what extent is Classical/Biblical Hebrew an Indo-European language?

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    No. No variety of Hebrew is Indo-European. Hebrew (as well as Arabic) is a Semitic language. Semitic languages are a subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic language family.
    – jlawler
    Aug 6, 2014 at 19:52
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    Only voting this down because it is too trivially easy to check with any online tool such as Google or Wikipedia. Not because it's a bad question per se but since Stack Exchange is supposed to be for experts this question is too trivially basic. Aug 7, 2014 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


Classical Hebrew is not an Indo-European language. Modern (Israeli) Hebrew has however been described as a language with Semitic morphology and Indo-European (specifically: Yiddish) phonology and syntax.

  • 2
    This is the view of Prof. Ghil'ad Zuckermann. But if he came on here I am sure someone would down-vote him as well.
    – fdb
    Aug 6, 2014 at 22:20
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    If Chomsky came on here I am sure someone would down-vote him. Of course. No if Panini came on here ... Aug 7, 2014 at 0:06
  • 3
    I neither up- nor down-voted your comment. I suspect that the person who down-voted you did so because you made a bare, unsubstantiated claim, without explanations or citations.
    – prash
    Aug 7, 2014 at 2:09
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    Pāṇini’s answer would have been even more concise, and in verse as well.
    – fdb
    Aug 7, 2014 at 20:25

The Indo-Semitic hypothesis maintains that a genetic relationship exists between Indo-European and Semitic and that the Indo-European and the Semitic language families descend from a prehistoric language ancestral to them both. The theory has never been widely accepted by contemporary linguists in modern times, but historically it has had a number of supporting advocates and arguments, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.


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    And immediately after that, "The theory has never been widely accepted by contemporary linguists in modern times…" Even if there were a distant relationship though (which I've never seen any compelling evidence for), it still wouldn't make Hebrew an Indo-European language.
    – Draconis
    Apr 2, 2019 at 3:08
  • @draconis Yes it is not accepted, but did you know that not being accepted does not mean that it is false? For example, until 1960 the Finns were not accepted as Caucasoid/"European" but as Mongoloid/"Asian" because they were poor, now that they are rich they are considered not only white but also Nordic although they have not changed anything in those 60 years. The "Indo-European" is also a hypothesis with controversies as well as everything in historical linguistics that is not supported by philology.
    – Sorb
    Apr 2, 2019 at 4:25
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    In that case, what's some evidence for it? The first step to getting a theory accepted is providing some compelling evidence that fits your model better than any other model.
    – Draconis
    Apr 2, 2019 at 4:28
  • @draconis The article I posted has already provided a considerable bibliography on the subject (even though Wikipedia is dominated by Indo-European nationalists who are known to delete information that contradicts their ideology). You would have seen if you had read it.
    – Sorb
    Apr 2, 2019 at 4:35

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