Lonely Man of Cake

June 11, 2007

Pedantic Petulance

Filed under: Academia,Hebrew,Israel — lonelymanofcake @ 8:54 pm

My recent positive posts shouldn’t serve to overshadow my general state of annoyance at the way things are in Israel. Here’s another pet peeve:

Israeli pop-star Harel Moyal has had a song of his yanked by Israel’s state sponsored, commercial free music station, Galgalatz. Why? Galgalatz refuses to continue playing the song because Moyal “mispronounces” a single vowel. His pronunciation reflects the colloquial articulation, which vocalizes the initial vowel in מכיר as mekir, instead of the correct makir. Moyal will need to re-record the entire song as a result.

This instance is but a small illustration of an upsurge of the almost French-like pedantic punctiliousness among Israelis when it comes to the spelling, pronunciation, and accentation of the modern-Hebrew language.  Did the FCC file an injunction to cease broadcast of System of a Down’s song “Lonely Day” because it contains the grammatically incorrect refrain “the most loneliest day of my life”?  Should country music songs containing the contraction “ain’t” also be re-recorded?

Hebrew subtitling on Israel’s channels 1 and 2 will consistently correct the grammar of people being interviewed.  It is a favored pastime of “talkbackistim,” i.e., people who leave comments on Israeli news websites, to point out either the bad grammar and/or spelling of other commenters (commentators?).

Linguistic pride is a wonderful virtue.  A country that takes a recording artist to task for mispronouncing a single vowel should treat its leaders with the same level of accountability.

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1 Comment »

  1. Galgalatz and Galei Zahal have always been suspect for something of an Anti-Mizrahi bias. I wonder if Harel’s pronunciation could be considered correct if it was rooted in Mizrahi Hebrew. Then again, he grew up in Ma’ale Adumim not Meknes…

    I don’t understand why Israeli businesses are indifferent to their English.
    Obviously, this is not an Israeli problem alone but I don’t understand how someone spending a thousand Sheqalim on a storefront sign can’t bothered to take half a minute to look up the spelling of an English word in a dictionary, yank some Anglo off the street for advice, or ask their niece who is taking the bagrut.

    Btw, thanks for supporting the iniative for a Rehov Yeshayahu Leibowitz. If Josephus, Amram Blau (former head of the NK) have streets named for them, to say nothing of every Hasidic rebbe to have ever existed, there is room for the great man. There is a Nehama Leibowitz street-in Har Homa.

    Comment by David — July 1, 2007 @ 7:13 pm | Reply


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