Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hebrew-English Words 1 to 2 splits

In terms of the sheer number of existing roots in the language, Hebrew and English are the David and Goliaths of their kind.  While Hebrew was asleep for a few thousand years in a sort of linguistic coma, English was stealing and developing roots at a frantic pace.  Millions of foreign students worldwide are challenged, to put in nicely, by the sheer number of ways in English to express annoyingly similar ideas.

While Hebrew’s root-poverty may make it easier for learners, it makes the language much more ambiguous.     Here are some examples of a sing

When a people is being oppressed by a repressive regime, a human rights observer can get very depressed.  In Hebrew, both use the same Hebrew word, מדוכה (me-du-ke).

Likewise, whether a person deserted the army or defected from a country, in Hebrew, he ערק (arak) in Israel.

Older people (and NFL football players) may suffer from aches and pains, but all they have in Israel is כאבים (kaevim).

A solution in Washington D.C. may be effective and efficient (though it probably isn’t in reality), but in Jerusalem it is merely יעיל (ya’il].

So, pity translators into Hebrew facing a sentence talking about poor depressed people suffering aches and pains caused by a repressive army who find an effective and efficient solution to their problem by deserting their army unit and defecting to the enemy.  It does not produce a very pretty sentence in Hebrew.

1 comment:

  1. oppressed is - מדוכה but depressed is מדוכא
    We may have issues in this field, but they are not as bad as not having words to discuss them.