Prescriptive discourse ordinarily conceals ideological stances in a formal discussion of authoritativeness and correctness. In עברית לכל רגע (‘Hebrew for all seasons’, Haifa 1978), a prescriptive Hebrew guidebook which comprises 877 short conversations, the straightforward occupation with gender hierarchy presents a rare opportunity to examine gender alignment in prescriptive discourse of Hebrew and to expose patterns of authority and exclusion in Israeli society of the late 1970s. The book adopts a traditional viewpoint which associates men with learnedness and restraint, and women with disorganized thought and insecurity. This is achieved through intensive reliance on Jewish texts on the one hand and a popular trope (“the foolish wife and her husband”) on the other. Women are constructed as a symbolic threat to social structure and standard language, and by putting them in their place the sociolinguistic order is secured. The book reflects an additional, less apparent, class alignment. It pretends to address an imagined wide audience of Hebrew users who share a national identity and behavior patterns, but the content of the conversations and the construction of an ideal variety of Hebrew disclose a distinction between ‘proper’ citizens – Ashkenazi Jews and native-born Israelis – who aspire to proper language and proper behavior, and other Hebrew users. These two patterns of alignment give expression to fears of social change felt by the male Ashkenazi Israeli elite: a feminist awakening in Israel during the 1970s, and an increase in the power of Sephardic Israelis in consequence of the weakening of the Ashkenazi elite and the ascent of the Likud party in the 1977 elections. It is suggested that the book attempts to restore the authority of the old elite through forming an all-national “legitimate” discourse.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||כרמלים: לחקר הלשון העברית ולשונות סמוכות|
|State||Published - 2017|