Tag Archives: hebrew

Two Hebrew words

  1. As part of my 2018 plan to read mostly books older than me, I’m reading Bleak House.  Found this, said of an urchin:

“He’s as obstinate a young gonoph as I know.”

This is of course via the Hebrew ganav (thief) via the Yiddish gonif.  Had no idea it had 19th century London demimonde currency.  Dickens is generally said to have been the first writer to put it in print in English, though Judith Flanders found a somewhat obscure reference a decade older.

“Gonoph” is overtaken by “gonif” as preferred English spelling sometime in the 1940s:

2. During L’cha Dodi last week I was struck by the word “Hitna’ari” (“shake yourself off!”).  That’s a word I know “Na’ar,” as in “Na’ar hayiti, gam zakanti,” (“I have been a youth and I have been old.”)  But does it mean “young” or does it mean “shake yourself off?”  Well, kind of both.  It seems there are two words, the na’ar of youth and the na’ar of shaking off.

Or is there only one word?  People have tried to connect the two senses:

I don’t know.  Hebrew speakers should feel free to weigh in on either of these words!

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Israel Story / Sipur Yisraeli

I just met Mishy Harman, who here in Madison is a mild-mannered visiting Ph.D. student in history but who back in Israel is a radio superstar!  He’s one of the hosts of Israel Story, a.k.a. the “This American Life” of Israel, which I’m told is one of the top-rated programs in the country.  The show’s in Hebrew, but for my non-Ivritophone readers (and for me!) the good news is that Mishy will be producing some segments in English in collaboration with WPR’s To The Best Of Our Knowledge:  here’s the first one, about the Alepo Codex.  If you want there to be still more English “Israel Story” than this, support their crowdfund campaign!

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Linkdump, September 2008

  • If you’re tired of politics, relax and enjoy the glory that is the Muppet Show theme song in Hebrew (.mp3 link) courtesy of WFMU.
  • Or if you’re tired of politics but want to let out your aggression instead of relaxing, listen to the amazing John Peel Punk Rock Special from December 10, 1976, featuring in-studio performances from the Damned, at Infonistacrat. The Peel Session versions of “Neat Neat Neat” (.mp3) and “New Rose”, which I’ve had since I was 16 on an ancient cassettte mix with most of Ramonesmania, are as close to perfect as punk ever got. (To be fair, it mostly wasn’t trying.)
  • Finally: I bought a lot of tomatoes this week. Here they are.
tomatoes on table

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