The name Palestine as discussed at the Academy of the Hebrew Language
The Academy of the Hebrew Language is considered the supreme institute for the Hebrew language in Israel, a status which is also expressed legally in Israeli law since 1953. Its members are known and distinguished linguists, poets, writers and translators. In the years 1994–1995 the Academy plenum devoted three meetings to discuss the question of how to pronounce, spell and use the name “Palestine” in Hebrew. The protocols of those discussions are the corpus studied in this article. A close examination of the discussions reveals significant, subtle, and sometimes paradoxical relationships between the political and the linguistic. In addition, the article traces the way in which the inevitable question regarding the possibility of distinguishing between these two facets permeated the debates. The article points out correlations between answers to this question, local political positions, and linguistic theories. It suggests that in addition to critical discourse analysis methodologies, in order to address this question an integration of some notions from the Derridian linguistic critique is indispensable, and by using them renegotiates the nature of the zone between the linguistic and the political. It is within the same blurred, ungraspable zone between the political and the linguistic, the zone from which the very wish to give a name arises and motivates the discussions, that this wish is also, at its peak, exhausted, interrupted, bringing the discussions to their indecisive conclusion.
Keywords: grammar, Palestine, The Academy of the Hebrew Language, pronunciation, naming, politics, Derridian critique, split names
Published online: 01 November 2010
Cited by 1 other publications
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Barker, Chris and Galasinski, Dariusz.
Pratt, Mary Louise
Proceedings of the Academy of the Hebrew Language
41–43. Jerusalem: The Academy of the Hebrew Language.