Coping with word-order differences between Hebrew and Aramaic in a Hebrew-Aramaic translation

Yochanan Breuer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The book of Halakhot pesuqot, composed in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic during the Geonic period, was translated under the title Hilkhot Re’u into a kind of Hebrew which is very similar to Mishnaic Hebrew. This is the first case of an Aramaic-Hebrew translation known to us, and its method of translation deserves analysis and description. In this article the case of word-order is examined: when the languages differ in rules or tendencies, to what extent did the translator adapt his language to the rules of the target language? Was his language affected by the source language? According to this research, the source language affects the translation to some degree, but this does not cause a violation of strict rules of Mishnaic Hebrew (which is the target language): when an Aramaic pattern does not exist in Hebrew at all, word-order is always changed according to the Hebrew order; when an Aramaic pattern is rare in Mishnaic Hebrew, it is usually changed to meet the Hebrew tendency; only when the Aramaic word-order can be accepted in Hebrew, in most cases the original order is maintained.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2019

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