Q&A: Why are the Hebrew words melakh, melekh, & malakh so similar?

Misapprehensions like this are precisely why conventional transliteration of Hebrew is so flawed.

In SimHebrew (simulated Hebrew in Latin characters), the spelling distinctions between those three words are clear, and preserved:

  • melakh’: in Hebrew מלח, in SimHebrew mlk
  • melekh’: in Hebrew מלך, in SimHebrew mlç
  • malakh’: in Hebrew מלאך, in SimHebrew mlaç

See Modern-day Ecclesiastes for more examples.

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Q&A: Why does Hebrew have multiple spellings for the same word?

Typically, it doesn’t: by and large, there is just one way to spell any given word. There are three types of exception, though:

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Q&A: In Hebrew, how do you differentiate between vav (ו) and bet (ב); tav (ת) and tet (ט); alef (א) and ayin (ע) and hei (ה)? Why don’t we change the spelling of some words if the pronunciations are now the same to simplify spelling?

Here’s a thought: how about we get rid of colours, so our sight is ‘simplified’ to just black-and-white?

I don’t understand the obsession that so people have about simplifying spelling (in all languages). Spelling is a vital link to our past—if you iron out differences just so similar-sounding consonants are spelled the same, you lose key information about the roots of the words and how they relate to each other.

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Q: What are the major differences between British and American writing styles—in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary, etc.?

OK, are you sitting down? Then let us begin:

In London in the summer of 1982, as I waited for my university studies to begin, I worked at various jobs—including, out of curiosity, a spell selling encyclopaedia sets door-to-door (at that time, of course, encyclopaedias were still only in print form).

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