Notes by Autumn Light

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


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The importance of rhythm (or why Trump won the elections)

This is a very topical question, which I happened to touch upon in a recent post of my Hebrew blog, as it concerns the importance of rhythm in language .

Trump clearly twigged many years ago that the characteristic meter of English speech is the trochee (an element comprising a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one)—as in the words mother, father, daughter, other, Anglo-Saxon, etc.—and that native English speakers subconsciously prefer it, and short Anglo-Saxon English words, to the meters and long words of other origin. He’s been exploiting this to pitch sales and close deals ever since.

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What is known about the Phoenician language?

It’s important to note that the Phoenicians didn’t self-identify as such, but were simply called that by the Greeks—possibly because they were best known for selling purple-red dye (in Greek, phoinos) which was highly sought after because it was the colour of royalty in ancient Greece.

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What would be a good word for Popcorn in Hebrew?

One of the biggest advantages of Anglo-Saxon English—and one of the reasons for its popularity throughout the world—is its propensity for single-syllable words (I, you, he; come, go, fly; good, bad; go, see, look; pop, corn, etc.)—which means that compound words made of two simple terms are often no more than two or three syllables (e.g. airport, background, bedroom, cupboard, football, flyover, highway, takeover, etc.).

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