Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

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Drink
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Re: Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

Postby Drink » 2020-07-23, 18:44

I would just assume it's an imperfect recording and meant to be אורז. The word for crow is stressed on the second syllable anyway.
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caleteu
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Re: Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

Postby caleteu » 2021-01-06, 9:13

Can anyone recommend a resource or explanation on the usage of Aramaic in modern Hebrew? I am reading a religious text and keep running into words that look Aramaic and aren't in my Hebrew dictionary, for example תְהֵא. I suspect it's the equivalent of the 3. sg. feminine of היה, but I would like to be able to look something like that up to be sure. Or do I have to learn Aramaic?

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Re: Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

Postby Drink » 2021-01-06, 11:11

caleteu wrote:Can anyone recommend a resource or explanation on the usage of Aramaic in modern Hebrew? I am reading a religious text and keep running into words that look Aramaic and aren't in my Hebrew dictionary, for example תְהֵא. I suspect it's the equivalent of the 3. sg. feminine of היה, but I would like to be able to look something like that up to be sure. Or do I have to learn Aramaic?

Be careful in your assumptions. תהא is not Aramaic. It's just a Mishnaic Hebrew form (of both תהיה and תהי). Mishnaic Hebrew was influenced by Aramaic to some extent, but not everything that's different about Mishnaic Hebrew necessarily comes from Aramaic.

As far as this term itself, any comprehensive dictionary will have it. I just checked my Even Shoshan, and it's there under the verb היה (well יהא is listed, while תהא is implied).

Most Aramaisms that are common in Rabbinic Hebrew texts from any period will be found in comprehensive dictionaries as well. If you are finding yourself delving deep into Rabbinic texts, then you'll find Jastrow's dictionary useful (it's technically a dictionary of Aramaic, but it actually includes Mishnaic Hebrew as well).

One important general point is that every period and region where Hebrew was written (and sometimes even individual author) had or has its own variety with its own idiosyncrasies. When reading a text in a variety of Hebrew that is new to you, you'll have to adjust to it. It will take a little bit of time to get used to it and learn to understand it.

A further problem is that most post-Talmudic texts require a lot of Talmudic context (much like the Talmud requires a lot of Biblical context). Not only are the concepts being discussed often taken from the Talmud, but also the language, not just the vocabulary, but even the grammar. This is why some post-Talmudic texts feel like a blend of Hebrew and Aramaic. But very often you'll find in post-Talmudic Hebrew texts that when suddenly an Aramaic word was used unexpectedly, that's because the entire topic was plucked from the Talmud, and that word was the word used in the Talmud.

A good analogy is that it's like when a native English speaker with no scientific background starts reading a scientific paper, or one with no legal background starts reading "legalese". Not only will there be concepts he doesn't understand, but also just the use of language will be different.

So in short: No, don't learn Aramaic, it won't help you with this (unless you just want to learn Aramaic of course, then go ahead). Instead, focus on familiarizing yourself with the language of the particular text you're reading. And don't be afraid to ask for help! Religious Jews spend their lives learning these texts, so there are a lot of people who can answer questions.
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AlanF_US
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Re: Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

Postby AlanF_US » 2021-01-17, 15:00

Every source I've seen so far traces the word "oy" only to Yiddish. For instance:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/oy

However, I've been preparing to chant the Sephardic Haftarah for Yitro, Isaiah 6:1-13, and I see that verse 6:5 reads as follows:

וָאֹמַ֞ר אֹֽוי־לִ֣י כִֽי־נִדְמֵ֗יתִי כִּ֣י אִ֤ישׁ טְמֵֽא־שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וּבְתֹוךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם אָנֹכִ֖י יֹושֵׁ֑ב כִּ֗י אֶת־הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ יְהוָ֥ה צְבָאֹ֖ות רָא֥וּ עֵינָֽי׃

with the translation:

Then I said, 'Woe is me! For I am ruined; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I am living among a people of unclean lips; my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.'

Note that אֹֽוי־לִ֣י corresponds to "Woe is me!"

Further complicating the picture, I see that the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oi_(interjection) says:

In Russian, "oy" ("ой") is often used as an expression of various degrees of surprise.

Can anyone shed some light on this? Is it just coincidence (or coincidence mixed with mutual influence between the languages) that these words are so similar?

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Drink
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Re: Discussion Group for General Hebrew Questions

Postby Drink » 2021-01-17, 16:19

In German there is a word "au", which if you know the sound correspondences would become "oy" in Yiddish. So either theory is possible. I'd say a coincidence mixed with mutual influence is our best guess.

Consider also that this is just a common sound combination for exclamations. In English, there are people in England who say "oy", though it has a different meaning (calling attention rather than expressing pain or sorrow). In Russian, in addition to ой (oy) there is also ай (ay). Also compare the slightly different sound in English "ow" or "ouch". And also the words "hi" and "hey". These sorts of sounds are common across languages for various types of exclamations, so it's no surprise that it's found both in ancient Hebrew and in unrelated modern languages.
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