What are some guidelines to transliterate Italian to Hebrew?


Broadly speaking, it’s fairly easy, as Italian uses the same vowels as in Hebrew (in fact, it’s a common way of explaining Hebrew vowels to English speakers). By default, the /a/ sound is assumed, and the /i/ sound is indicated by using a yod as though it were the letter i in Italian. If the vowel is an /e/, /o/ or /u/ sound, use niqqud to state a ségol, ḥolam, or shuruq, respectively. However:

  • If the word starts with a vowel, use an aleph to “carry” it—e.g. אוניברסיטה
  • If the /a/ sound is at the end of a word—e.g. università—indicate it with a héh sophit (e.g. אוניברסיטה)

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Why have you learned Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic or Faroese as second language? What aspects of those languages are you fascina…


(My answer to this question at Quora.com)

I learned a little bit of Norwegian during a summer holiday that I took there in 1981, which ended up being extended by several weeks, with a repeat visit a few months later, and another in 1990.

I was struck by the similarities between it and the Anglo-Saxon part of English (e.g., Skal viroing og fiske? = Shall we go rowing and fishing?); enchanted by its distinctive rhythms of speech; fascinated that Norwegian mothers call to their small children with exactly the same expression and intonation as Jamaican mothers (Kom nå!/Com,nuh!); and marvelled how the vagaries of the Indo-European etymology can lead to virtually the same word—cald in Norwegian (“cold”), and caldo in Italian (“hot”)—having opposite meanings.

I would jump at the opportunity to complete my knowledge of the language, but that will probably have to wait for another lifetime…