Hebrew Learning and Identity Perception among Russian Speakers in Israel

Rinat Golan, M. Muchnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on Hebrew and other languages points to a stereotype-based view ofgender identities as reflected in language. Some stereotypes related to use ofthe language and gender reveal that women are more conservative than menand use a more standard version of language. One of the stereotypical claims,which is not always borne out by empirical research, relates to the use of normativeand prestigious forms versus nonstandard and vernacular ones. Thepresent article focuses on Be my knife (1998), a novel written by the highlyacclaimed Israeli author, David Grossman. The book is a classic example ofthe perpetuation of gender stereotypes, where the author makes clear a distinctionbetween the linguistic features of the novel's main characters, a man anda woman. Not only are the characters themselves portrayed stereotypically, butthe linguistic features the author attributes them are determined by gender.While the woman uses prestigious, standard and precise language, both inmorpho-phonemic terms and in terms of syntax and discourse, the man generallyuses a nonstandard vernacular. This reflects the prejudices Israeli societyholds with respect to gender; language and literature are merely the means toemphasize this.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)105-127
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Jewish Identities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


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