Parents around the world have discovered that joining Facebook is an excellent way to keep tabs on their kids.
However, if – like me - you’re the Anglo parent of Israeli teenagers, you’re out of luck.
I should begin by noting that the quality of your Hebrew is irrelevant.
You might be perfectly fluent. You might have been first in your ulpan class. You might spend your days lecturing and communicating in Hebrew. Your accent might be impeccable, and people might sometimes mistake you for a native-born Israeli.
In fact, you might even BE a native-born Israeli.
But none of this matters.
You’re STILL not going to be able to understand your Israeli teenager’s Facebook statuses.
First of all, these statuses are filled with made-up words. For instance, Israeli kids write “חחחח” in lieu of LOL and tav-apostrophe instead of the preposition “את”.
Then there are all the deliberately misspelled words. (At least, one HOPES that the spelling mistakes are intentional…) Specifically, teenagers like to add an extra aleph here or there in order to stress the wrong syllables – as in שאווה (SHA-veh), which really should be שווה (sha-VEH - “worth it”).
Roshei teivot (acronyms) also figure prominently, but the catch is that they’re not necessarily based on the first letter of each word. A typical example would be the ubiquitous חבל”ז, which stands for “חבל על הזמן” (literally, “it’s a waste of time” – but frequently used to describe something in a positive light).
Finally, there are all the “blended” words, including kacholavan and classics such as יומולדת (i.e. יום הולדת – birthday).
And, so, dear readers, as you can see, Anglo parents don’t stand a chance against their Israeli kids.
It’s almost as if they speak a foreign language…
Hat tip: Jameel
P.S. Be sure to check out my follow-up to this post here.