Q&A: In Hebrew, how is it possible to discern when to pronounce shva as /e/ or not at all?

For the sake of illustration, in this answer I shall represent the shva as a colon in the middle of the word (:). There are four rules for determining whether a shva is na (‘moving’) or naḥ (‘resting’):

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Q&A: What is the difference between the Hebrew words dabar and amar?

The verb d-b-r (דבר) is to speak—i.e. it is more formal and intentional. Hence words put in writing are also dbrim* (‘dvarim’); the Ten Commandments in Hebrew are Aseret Hadibrot (The Ten Proclamations); and religious prophets always warned civic leaders to honour at hdbrim awr H’ xivh* etc. (the things that the Lord commanded).

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Q&A: What is the meaning of the Hebrew proverb ”שמחת זקנתי בראש חוצות”?

It’s not a proverb so much as an expression of disdain or indifference. In common usage, only the first two words are used—with a suitable expression of boredom or nonchalance, while pointedly not looking away from whatever you’re doing at that moment: שמחת זקנתי… (Simhat zqenti…)

Literally, it means, ‘My old woman’s happiness for all to see’, and is a translation of the Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish) expression, La gracia di tu mana (‘Your mother’s happiness’)—i.e., ‘[That might make my mother happy, but] I couldn’t care less’.

Q&A: Why might a translator use a calque?

[A2A] One would use a calque (a.k.a. loan translation) when there is no equivalent word or expression in the target language, but it captures the meaning so well and concisely that one is moved to recreate it by emulating the same word combination using native words in the target language.

In Hebrew, noted examples are:

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Q&A: If the head of government of the Republic of Ireland is widely known as the Taoiseach, why isn’t the head of government of Israel widely known by a Hebrew term rather than as “Prime Minister”?

Three reasons:

  1. Because only the Irish Prime Minister is accorded this honour (the PM of France isn’t referred to in English as the Premier Ministre, the Spanish PM isn’t called the Primer Ministro, etc.)
  2. Because Rosh Hamemshalah is a bit of a mouthful for most foreigners
    and—last but not least:
  3. Because foreign Jews would confuse the Israeli PM with Rosh Hashanah, and think that he must be celebrated only once a year.

Q&A: Is it possible to design Scrabble in languages that are not fully alphabetic, such as Hebrew?

There is a Hebrew version of Scrabble, because Hebrew has an alphabet (shucks—who do you think invented it?).

However, the Hebrew version is not always readily available—especially when one is abroad (i.e., outside Israel). For those situations (as in many others), SimHebrew (simulated Hebrew) comes in handy, as evident from this example of a Hebrew Scrabble game that we played in the family:

Scrabble in SimHebrew