Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Swirling Thoughts #195 – Some things I learned today

If you need khaki colored thread (or anything in khaki color), you ask for it in beige. Because khaki sounds like that word for #2 when pronounced with a proper Israeli accent.

Speaking of proper accents
I’ve long known my 9-year old, Asher, is timid when it comes to speaking Hebrew to strangers or store owners. I first learned this when he adamantly refused to take money from me to pay the guy behind the pizza counter for the pie we just ate.
But Ash, just show him the money. He knows what we ordered.
I will NOT do that. It’s so embarrassing, Ma!
It’s become sort of a joke with us. Like the worst thing I could in life is to make Asher go ask someone something in Hebrew.

So today, as we drove by a tent curiously set up in the Geffen Field of Efrat, I slowed down the car and called out to the police officers (who were in rare abundance at the site).
Ma yeshlechem hayom? (what have you got here today?)
Yeshlachem Tekkes? Mashu kazeh?
(you’re having a ceremony? Something like that?)
Ken! Ken!
Yofi! Toda! Yom Tov.

As I turned to Asher to point out that I am not embarrassed to speak Hebrew he was convulsing in a fit of giggles.
See Asher, I’m not embarrassed!
Mom! You speak with an American accent!
Yeah! And my Hebrew is terrible.
Yeah! Your Hebrew really stinks!
And you see, I’m not embarrassed!
That’s because you speak with an American accent!

All of a sudden it clicked in my brain.
Asher, is the reason you are embarrassed to speak Hebrew sometimes because you speak with a perfect Israeli accent and if you don’t know the words it will be more embarrassing than if you were speaking with an American accent?


When I took ulpan last year I learned something about ‘otiot garon’ – letters of the throat. Except that you pronounce it ‘otiot galghon’. I suspect, for a real Israeli, the ‘otiot garon’ are what give you accented English. Thank Gd my children speak English and Hebrew, each with the correct native accent.

Most of my children, anyway…
Tonight Rosie was trying to read one of Barbara’s Ramona Quimby books. Except that Rosie cannot read. She’s most interested in reading and brings home from gan pages and pages of what look like hieroglyphics – characters that are not quite the English alphabet and not quite the Aleph-Bet. And she refers to them, not as letters, but as otiot. So tonight she asked me
What does B – E – V – E – R – L – Y – C – L – E – A – R –Y spell?
Except that when she pronounced the letter ‘r’, she pronounced it ‘algh’.
B – E – V – E – algh – L – Y – C – L – E – A – algh –Y.

Thank Gd my children speak English and Hebrew, at least one of which is spoken in the correct native accent!

1 comment:

  1. Wait until they come home saying something that is spelled with a "heh" and sounds like an Aleph because of Israeli accent.