Talk (2/27/2018): Roey Gafter (Ben Gurion University)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:00pm
Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, Petteruti Lounge (Rm 201),
    75 Waterman Street, Providence RI

Roey Gafter from Ben Gurion University will give a talk on ethnicity and language in Israel among Hebrew speakers. This is a wide-audience talk, which will be followed by a more linguistic-y talk in LLL (separate notice and abstract will be sent that week). Details of his talk are as follows:

Ethnic identity in Israel and variation in Modern Hebrew: A linguist’s perspective

Among Israelis, Jewish ethnicity is often organized around a binary distinction between Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of European descent) and Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Middle Eastern descent). In this talk, I explore how Hebrew is spoken by Israelis of different ethnicities, and show that framing ethnicity as an Ashkenazi-Mizrahi binary hides many meaningful distinctions, both linguistically and socially. I discuss the aspects of Hebrew accents most strongly associated with Mizrahi identity and show that their history and the social dynamic in Israel have imbued them with a rich social meaning that goes far beyond a simple ethnic marker. I then discuss Hebrew features that are not stereotypically associated with ethnicity and show how they can be used in the construction of specific ethnic personae.

More information about the speaker can be found here.