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Thursday, September 07, 2006

OJT Hebrew--Just DO It (and swallow your embarassment)

Emma S addressed olim mistakes while speaking Hebrew in one of her recent posts at Moving On Up Yep, Brain Fart describes it beautifully! I took great comfort from this post, because my own mistakes are fairly awful.

My husband, who lived on kibbutz for 5 years, has his fair share of mistakes as well. However, because I don't understand real Hebrew (as spoken by natives) as opposed to Ulpan Hebrew (which is recited at a quarter of real-life speed), I generally miss his mistakes, unless he points them out to me.

He did share this week's flubb solely because it was funny. We have a dog. Actually, Yona has a dog but the dog stayed with us when Yona moved out. She was working two jobs and her hours were not conducive to dog ownership at the time, and we had grown very fond of Pax. Pax made aliyah with all of us, including the two cats, both of whom were highly dubious about our adoption of a dog in the first place.

So Pax takes us for walks around Jerusalem now. Since school started, she takes Mike and Josh to the Ulpan for Teens, and three mornings a week I walk with them on the way to my ulpan. On those days that I don't have ulpan, we walk Josh to school, then stop at our favorite coffee shop on Derech Bet Lechem for coffee and breakfast. As a result of these frequent refueling stops at the coffee shop, most of the staff, the owner and the security guard have come to know Pax on a first name basis. There are seats inside the coffee shop, but one of the attractions of this cafe is that there are also comfortable, funky couches and tables outside in addition to the usual cafe tables on the sidewalk. With Pax, we sit outside.

A couple of days ago, the security guard approached and asked my husband if it was all right to pet Pax? "Of course," Mike replied in Hebrew, "She loves everybody!" The word for "loves" is ohevet--but what Mike said was "Of course! She eats (ochelet) everybody!" The guard, who was reaching out to pet Pax, snatched his hand back in anticipation of it becoming an hors d'ouvre.

Fortunately, Mike explained his mistake and Omri and Pax are now pals.

I have my own OJT Hebrew--on the job training. Last week, I needed a new book for this semester's ulpan. Unfortunately, the book wasn't available at the school but was available at Tamir Books on Yafo Street near Zion Square. That's too long a walk, even for me, so I took the 8 bus which stops near the top of Ben Yehuda, and from there it's a pleasant stroll down the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall to Zion Square.

For some reason, the word 'go' as in drive or ride refuses to remain in my memory. The word to go, by foot, or just generally, is different from go in the sense of riding in a car, a taxi or on a bus. (I know, I know--I was never going to ride a bus--that's another post.) I tried to ask the bus driver if he goes to Yafo Street but instead I asked the bus driver if he's married to Yafo Street. The guy did a double take, but he must be used to new immigrants mangling his language: without missing a beat, he said he went left to the souk on Yafo but not right.

I was simply grateful he didn't fall out of his seat laughing at me.


Blogger Mia said...

LOL - I never realized how close some words are in hebrew :D (nossea - nassui etc.)

Thursday, September 7, 2006 at 11:31:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you promised to post--that
"BUS" leapt off the page at me! grin.

Friday, September 8, 2006 at 1:49:00 AM GMT+3  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too darn funny!!! Ah yes, learning a new language, it gives the 'native tongue' residents a good chuckle and they have to figure out what you really mean to say.

Friday, September 8, 2006 at 6:31:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Mia--HOW did you find me? I backtracked to your blog--I love it! What an adventure! The stuff with the math---well, let's just say I'll stop whining about Hebrew. Hang in there--you're there for a reason, and it will all work out.

JD--yeah, that's another post, but don't worry--my ulpan, Josh's ulpan, the stores, the restaurants, the synagogues, the Talpiot shopping district, are ALL within walking distance (well, Talpiot is only on nice days--it's a stretch of the legs).I got your email, will get back to you after Shabbat, okay? Talk to you soon!

Jilly--I have a lot more empathy for the immigrant experience in any language at this point ((-:

Friday, September 8, 2006 at 4:53:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger Mia said...

I think I found you via Emah S´ blog, I really enjoy reading your daily adventures :D

Well, it looks like there will be a positive change in the whole situation, so come back and read what we will do next (hehehe).

I am glad that I found your blog, good luck and klita kala!

Friday, September 8, 2006 at 6:25:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger westbankmama said...

Your post reminded me of a very funny anecdote told to me by a friend who is an olah from Russia. She said that once she was commenting to an Israeli about someone who she admired for being so religious. She said to him that "he even wears his tzi-tzis outside of his clothes". She meant to say tzizit (ritual fringes) but instead she used the Hebrew slang for boobs! Needless to say the Israeli burst out laughing and then corrected her!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 4:39:00 PM GMT+3  

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