What if it were possible to subpoena the internet to the task of reforming language not in the Orwellian vein of a higher authority dictating prescriptions from above but in a collective, interactive spirit encompassing all levels of society? The goal of milayomit.co.il is to do just that: to harness the vast capacity of the internet with a mind to make Hebrew a richer language, to allow Hebrew speakers to contribute and share innovations relating to their language, and in so doing to make communication between Hebrew speakers both more intelligible and more intelligent. It is a more ambitious goal than that of word-of-the-day websites in other languages in that milayomit endeavors to serve as a communal, collaborative nexus, an organic, user-driven interface between language and the people using it.
When I was growing up, I studied Hebrew and ended up knowing it well enough to actually be able to speak it when I visited Israel when I was a teenager. Before I went there, I had no idea that I could speak it until one day I was talking to a guy in Hebrew about trees and other stuff, and then I thought, "Hey, I'm speaking Hebrew!" But now, I can't speak it at all! I can only read it with the vowels, but I don't understand what I'm reading. I guess my speaking ability was a tiny blip on the radar within my language history.
I too studied Hebrew when younger and was able to read and speak a little (by no means fluently!!). I visited Hebrew, where I ended up speaking English and French. It seems that when many Israelis detect that you are a non-native speaker, they will switch to another language (often English) under the presumption that they want to practise their language skills. While this would make it much easier for casual travellers with a limited grasp of Hebrew (me!), I understand that this is quite frustrating for English-speaking olim (migrants to Israel) who want to really immerse themselves in Hebrew. Modern Hebrew itself is fascinating, resurrected from liturgical status as a vibrant spoken everyday language (which is viewed as blasphemous by some). And it has a life of its own, growing like most other natural languages...
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