Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #165 – English is probably a very confusing language also

Waitress at a wedding last week: Keh-ves or sohl-mun?
I had salmon for lunch but as far as I know, keh-ves is drywall.
I’ll take the sohl-mun.
Bob sat down.
The waitress reappeared: Keh-ves or sohl-mun?
She put something in front of him. I didn’t recognize it as drywall. It smelled delicious.
What is that?
Keh-ves. Lamb.
I thought keh-ves was drywall.
Bob, stumped, quiet: I think you’re right.
Bob, to the rest of the table: How do you say drywall in Hebrew?
The response, in unison: Geh-ves!

Sometimes it’s just the context
After a year, I finally figured out how to order 4 slices of pizza – you ask for 4 meshoolashim (literally, 4 triangles). So last Shabbat one of our guests, an army medic, was retelling an exciting story of how he was in a Tel Aviv mall and there was a medical emergency and a request for anyone with medical training to report to the scene. He and another medic showed up and realized the elderly woman who’d fallen and dislocated her shoulder needed to be carefully transported.
We needed meshoolashim so we could move her.
At this point I interrupted the story.
You needed slices of pizza?
No! We needed, you know, meshoolashim.
Apparently there is some type of medical equipment/sling/bandage/transporty thing in Israel that, when needed, is never confused with slices of pizza.

A heads up
If you offer an Israeli 7 year old noodles and she asks for ketchup, chances are she will prefer the sweet Israeli Osem brand to your expensive imported Heinz.

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