Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav


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Nice try—but (alas) no nargillah

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Liron Lavi Turkenich is a young and engaging Israeli graphic designer with a commendable idea: bridge the cultural gap between Israel’s Hebrew speakers and its Arab population by creating a ‘hybrid’ font set comprising characters that are half Hebrew, half Arabic:

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Fig. 1: A blend of the Hebrew and Arabic words for “language”, in the “Aravrit” font. Unfortunately, it looks nothing like the Arabic word, and most resembles the Hebrew word שנאה (sin’ah) = ‘hate’

I read briefly about this font (cleverly dubbed Aravrit—a play on the Hebrew words aravit and ivrit, i.e., ‘Arabic’ and ‘Hebrew’) a few months ago, and even adopted the first combined word that you see in the video (which allegedly depicts the word ‘language’ in both Hebrew and in Arabic) in my latest talk, about ‘Arabic Hebrew‘ (see Fig. 1).

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The Good Wife—the poor Arabic

I thought that embarrassing goofs in the West involving Semitic languages were limited to Hebrew. Apparently not. In the  episode On Tap of the otherwise excellent series The Good Wife, the producers apparently couldn’t find someone with even a modicum of knowledge of Arabic to get an accurate rendition of the words Masjid Al-Murad (“Al-Murad Mosque”), to place on the façade of a building by that name.

"DARM LA DJSM"—seriously?

“DARM LA DJSM”—seriously?

At first, the letters appear to be random, as if just plucked from the Arabic keyboard haphazardly—an impression reinforced by the fact that some of them are in their end-of-word form, rather than the form they should have at the beginning or middle of a word. But a quick search online revealed that IMdB, which caught the goof some time ago, pointed out that the spelling is correct—only in reverse order: so instead of MSJD ALMRAD, they ended up with DARM LA DJSM. (A common problem with unsuspecting users of Hebrew, as well.)

Shucks. I could have produced the right artwork for them, for a fraction of what they pay the continuity consultant.