Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I love when Hebrew teaches me more about English.

For instance:

That Cancer (the crab) and cancer (the disease) are not just homonyms. Apparently the disease received its name from the crab-claw like shapes that blood vessels make due to their inability to protrude through cancerous tissue. In Hebrew, both are סרטן.

That "float" and "flood" are related (obvious when you see it). In Hebrew, צף / מוצף.

And for the grand finale, relevant to current events:

That "influence" and "influenza" are related (did I say some of these were obvious)? In Hebrew, השפעה / שפעת.

That's all for now.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Is the correct term ...

Is the correct term for "to PDF" לה(י)פדף / הפדפתי or לה(י)זדפף / הזדפפתי?

Clearly an important question for humanity.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Is it just me ...

Is it just me, or does former Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin bear a striking resemblance to the Bamba baby?


Sunday, March 02, 2008

I couldn't let it go by ...

I just couldn't let it go by without recording it somewhere ... anywhere ... why not here?

"Le-barked" / "Birkud".

Did you guess?

It means: "To put a barcode on something".


Friday, March 16, 2007

Eifo eifo eifo ... ha-shufan?

Inspiration for the below courtesy of the good folks at Zabaj.

Have you noticed how Israelis take English words, turn them into Hebrew, and then back into English again, but differently?

I was at the cinema just now, and there was a preview for a pretty good-looking movie called "Beaufort". It became בופור in Hebrew, which is perfectly legitimate, but then for the website, it got turned back into English as "Bufor". But it doesn't end there.

Super-Sal, the supermarket chain, clearly got its name from "super" and סל ("basket"). But for its website, it is "shufersal". Like it came from "shofar" or something. But it doesn't even end there.

I got into a taxi in Jerusalem and asked the driver to take me to Chopin St. (רחוב שופן). He had no idea what I was talking about. After a few minutes, and a few attempts to explain where I wanted to go: "Oh ...... you mean Rechov Shufan". Yes, silly me. My favourite Polish composer's name really came from the word for "bunny".


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Like Kissing Your Cousin

Following on from an old post at Vunex, a thought on the overworked subject of kissing:

I have heard in the past young male Israelis use the slang term "bussa" to describe a masculine, aggressive, slap-you-on-the-back type of kiss (given to a friendly male on the cheek, or a startled female on the lips).

I had assumed that this term came (possibly through one of the Romance languages) from the Latin "basium".

However, yesterday I read in a language column in the newspaper that it in fact comes from the Arabic. Apparently in Arabic, "bussa" is also one of a few variants for "kiss" (another of which is "qubla").

Does anyone know if there is some connection between the Arabic and the Latin, or if the similarity is pure coincidence?


Sunday, January 21, 2007

The less nice side of Israel

I'm still angry, and a little bit frustrated and a little bit sad.

I just passed a homeless guy on the street on my way home from work. He's a guy that I've seen quite often recently - in the morning when I go to work and in the evening when I come home, he's sitting somewhere on the same street - him with his one crutch and his way of getting people's attention and getting people to talk to him. I try to ignore him, mostly. He sometimes calls out to me to come over and talk to him, but I pretend like I can't hear his voice or that I'm so focused on whatever else I'm doing, my job, my life, providing for my own, that I don't have the capacity to pay attention to him. But I hear him, and he probably knows it.

Once I saw him singing a song of the type which here would be called "Eastern" - the nasal music of Arab singers - at a group of young women, in a kind of taunting, aggressive way, and they just laughed on him ("at" is not the right preposition here, and the Hebraicised English is the closest I can get to the meaning) and continued walking away. And I disliked him for singing at those women, and for being out on the street, and for whatever else he is or was. It's the kind of dislike which can only grow out of hatred for how it makes you feel that he's there, out on a freezing cold night, genuinely sleeping on that bench, it's not just some kind of trick, he's not just pretending to get money out of people and then at night he goes home to sleep somewhere warm, even on the coldest nights like tonight he's out there, and I'm in here surrounded by technology and safety and warmth and wealth, and he's out there surrounded by the night and the occasional passing car and the cold freezing fucking cold.

This is the less nice side. Of anywhere. But in Israel you prefer to think that there isn't this, that you don't have to think about this, that there aren't kids who catch a taxi "return" on their parents' fifty shekels to Lod to buy a gram of heroin from the "ATM"s, as they call them, the places where you can walk up to a hole in the wall and you never have to see the dealer who is profiting from turning your life into shit. You want to think that everything's perfect here and it's just not, this is not even getting started on Palestinians Shmalestinians, just look at what's in your own back yard, on your own street, no matter how many security walls you put up it will always be there in your face, just where you don't want it or need it.

A country just like any other. What an achievement.