https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

Question for Israelis: is a mizrachi accent considered foreign In Israel?

I grew up in an ultra orthodox mizrachi community in Brooklyn NY. Growing up, we'd recite the prayers in an accent that's different than modern Hebrew.

First of all, we'd say "ע" and "א" differently, two different sounds. Second, "ח" and "כ" differently, two different sounds. And the elder mizrachim, pronounce "ק" like the Arabic Qaff.

If I decided to pronounce modern Hebrew in a mizrachi accent, how weird would it be? Considered foreign?

I have a chasidish (Hasidic) friend whom pronounces modern Hebrew in a traditional Hasidic accent, the same accent he prays in and learns Torah in. He says that usually Israelis know that it's a traditional Jewish accent. Nonetheless I'm curious how weird a mizrachi accent is in Israel.

Also, the modern Hebrew accent is what exactly? Definitely not Ashkenaz or Yemenite. It's pretty close to mizrachi, even more close to Sephardic.

1 month ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Asafwr
Asafwr
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7

That's a very good question. The absolute majority of native Hebrew speakers in Israel pronounce א and ע the same way (as א), and the same goes for ח and unmarked כ (both sound like כ) and for ק and כ (sound like כ), although we are supposed to distinguish between them. This accent is so unused that many Israelis (Hebrew speakers) can't even pronounce it right.

The only ones maintaining these unique consonants are some of the people of an oriental origin, especially from Yemen, Israeli-Arabs and some linguistics experts.

The regular Hebrew accent is close to the Ashkenaz accent than to any other, in my opinion. We dropped most of the eastern consonants we had (ח, ע, ק, צ, ט), so it doesn't really resemble Yemenite or Mizrachi accent, but it's not exactly Ashkenz accent neither. I think defining it simply as an Israeli accent will be most accurate.

I'd recommend you not to speak with a Mizrachi accent when in Israel, but I do think knowing how these consonants are supposed to be sound is important.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikNilsson0
ErikNilsson0
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2

I would describe it as an askenazi pronunciation of a sephardi accent

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Niros91

precisely

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maya943954
Maya943954
  • 16
  • 11
  • 130

I don't think it would be considered foreign-- it would more be looked at the way, say, an African-American accent is viewed in the US. It would place you as part of a certain group, but it wouldn't be seen as "foreign." For example, lots of traditional singers such as Boaz Sharabi say beautiful gutteral ayins. In my daughter's school here in Israel, by the way, she IS taught that kuf and kaf have different sounds, and I believe that they were also told the difference between alef and ayin. Israelis DO know that alefs and ayins make different sounds, though we Ashkenazim are considered helpless at saying the difference. :) Being able to say an ayin properly is useful when you're trying to use the Arabic slang popular in Israel!

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maya943954
Maya943954
  • 16
  • 11
  • 130

By the way, I don't particularly like the accent of the Duolingo voices in Hebrew. They sound especially "parveh" and overly correct, sort of like the automated voice you might get in a telephone answering system, not like the way people actually speak. To hear how young people actually speak in Israel, you might want to do something like watch some Israeli reality TV or Static and Ben-El music videos. If you want to hear more natural but mostly "correct" Hebrew, you might want to listen to Galei Tzahal radio online.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Asafwr
Asafwr
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7

I agree, but I think that every radio station in Israel has a very correct (even archaic) Hebrew, especially Kan (כאן, the Israeli national broadcasting corporation) radio channels

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maya943954
Maya943954
  • 16
  • 11
  • 130

Right-- Galatz (Galei Tzahal) is mostly talk radio, so you hear more normal conversation when people are arguing with each other on air. And, in general, DJs talk in pretty normal Hebrew-- it's really just the hourly news that is in overly correct Hebrew

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
  • 25
  • 13
  • 4
  • 497

Actually כאן is most modern in speech and outlets usage (their use of the internet). You should look into their Youtube channel- as they have complete Hebrew episodes (documentaries mostly). One show is about grouping a bunch of people, for example handicap people or trans, and giving them the most blunt questions to answer (they knew what the signed up for). I understand it's a European format and it's brilliant!

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CatSamwise

It wouldn't be weird. No one would even comment on it.
I had a friend that spoke like that & although for the first 5 minutes I did a double take, but it was the same reaction as someone with a surprisingly high/low voice. Incidentally, I had completely forgotten about this until you mentioned it....

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shlomoz12345

I'm not sure. People will probably understand what you're sying.

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
  • 25
  • 13
  • 4
  • 497

It might sound of place- especially if you under a certain age: I would expect to hear a mizrachi accent from a dark skin Jew over the age of 45. I think it's both modern western world 'Englishize' things, and families mixed together ('mizrachi' people I know have an Ashkenazi side to them- it's more common in younger generation).

There is also the case of 'lower' cultural status- I know it's sound horrible- but it has history going back to beginning of the country... The older generation that started the country was mostly European white from the western world- so the next immigration of Jews from Arab countries were very different in mentality and culture so they were considered 'the others' (also, were closer to Arabs in many things- and back then, and I suppose even now, considered a threat).

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

Well, I'm a (super) light skin 20 year old, so I guess that means it would sound out of place.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
  • 25
  • 13
  • 4
  • 497

No, Israelis will think you are Arab :-) (even though I met a few Arabs in their 20's and when speaking Hebrew they were speaking in a 'normal' Israeli-Hebrew accent- but those I met grew up in large, mixed places).

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maya943954
Maya943954
  • 16
  • 11
  • 130

Ok, Einat is right about all of this. The people who speak with a thick Mizrachi accent (like Boaz Sharabi) are usually immigrants from Arab countries. I still don't think it's considered a "foreign accent" exactly-- it's different from, say, an American accent. You'll probably sound more Israeli than most of us. :)

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Asafwr
Asafwr
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7

Yeah that would seem very strange if you talked with a Mizrachi accent I'd probably be shocked myself :)

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

Thanks for all the insightful replies!

The conclusion I made from all the replies is as follows: The mizrachi accent isn't necessarily foreign , nonetheless, as a young, rather Ashkenazi looking fellow it would be weird if I spoke with one. ( I can pronounce the letters like a native Arabic speaker.)

I am however going to try it out nonetheless. I plan on going to Israel soon, I'll let y'all know how it goes.

4 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Einat162
Einat162Plus
  • 25
  • 13
  • 4
  • 497

Next 3-2 months is best time as the temperature is nice (15-18 C) it can get pretty hot in the summer (around 40 C).

4 weeks ago
Learn Hebrew in just 5 minutes a day. For free.