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Saturday, November 13, 2004

In response to a new friend's questions:

Can one appreciate the language and culture of a virulent hating nation?

It is my strong belief and understanding that nations do not

hate each other's, as nations are not imbued with feelings, only

individuals are.

As long as the manipulators hold in their hands the

key to information it will be almost always possible to marionette the


That's why the Internet is so important as it turns the

tables and gives room to the individual voice.

Is it difficult to learn Hebrew?

It is not difficult at all to learn Hebrew when you come from a Middle Eastern

tradition. Hebrew belongs to the semitic languages and is greatly influenced or similar to it.

The theories elaborated by Arabic grammarians were applied to Hebrew grammar during the Golden Age of Hebrew literature and culture.

At that time the Arab ruled Spain and some of our most important cultural figures were in close interaction with theirs.

I was born in Romania as you may read at some pieces on the blog. "Unfortunately", Romanian, although a most beautiful and poetic language, has no Semitic linguistic roots...

We arrived when I was 12 years of age. Two years later, while reading Romain Rolland's Kolas Breugnon in an excellent and most rich translation by noted Hebrew poet Abraham Shlonsky, I realised that not even once have I reached for the dictionary.

That was a moment of triumph, indeed.

Nowadays there are many free Hebrew day classes. Very easy and pleasant. It was not so back in 1948. Parents had to learn from their kids, a task I did indeed perform to the extent that to this day, beware when you speak Hebrew in my presence... I'm on a pilot, You know, like the Pavlov dog...


read it in Hungarian;


  1. Not only do they teach Hebrew in those day-classes - but they sometimes do it so fine that the students can check our purses or perform cleaning jobs perfectly, in spite of their former education.

    But somehow, when I try to speak Hebrew by-the-book and with proper grammar, it seems abnormal even on the national radio. So how can we expect people to read Shlonsky's translations, if some of the native-born Israelis can't even read a normal newspaper ("Yediot" is fine, but it's more a comic-strip than a newspaper)?

  2. Vladi, at least kids do not have to teach Hebrew to their parents... since parents continue to speak to them in their native language...

    Another positive aspect: our parents back then also had to do menial jobs, notwithstanding their diplomas. The only difference might be that they believed everything that was said to communicated to them... in the Hebrew they were ignorant of...

    As for Shlonski, indeed the whole situation is sad. I'm afraid that it's a global malady - same trivialization and resignation to a vocabulary of 400 words at the outmost...

  3. Sorry for deleting this post several times, that's is another proof of Hebrew's complexity...

    I guess the worst about New Hebrew is that one may too often be unable to enounce the written words. Thus, cannot learn them so easily. Every time I had to take a new language I would read it's best authors and learn the words and certain sentence constructions by heart. Impossible in Hebrew, well, not impossible, but discouraging when you have to check both the meaning of the word and the vocalization. Sure, every language except for Georgian has some spelling-pronouncing inconsistency, yet Hebrew seems to be the master... Look, to my great dismay I discovered that this: באר שבע is not the capital of my country (Warszawa [Varshava])...

    Slightly different, though possibly more threatening, problem we have with the Polish in Poland. The statistics claim that illiteracy level in Poland doesn't reach 1%. This is true. Ask a Pole to read something and they will, better or worse, but they will, provided the words you ask for are of Polish origin. But ask them to tell you what these words mean, they will tell you, I'm sure, but the meaning of each word respectively... We call it secondary illiteracy, no idea how they name it in English. The 70% of Polish population are secondary illiterates. That's formidable. As soon as this data were published I started to read the newspapers to prove myself that I belong to the rest 30%... Another surprise there! Two of the newspapers I couldn't read, they were in Polish, I presume, but perfectly incorrect grammar and randomly shuffeled words made them completely meaningless (the omnipresent lack of meaning is another relic of yesterdays).

    ...Polish with our praised freedom of thought... Yet, more and more often I realize that the cesorship is not an entirely negative institution.


lurching is sexy