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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting down with Heblish

The millions of hundreds of dozens of two zero Heblish fans around the world are no doubt wondering why so much time has elapsed since the release of the previous excerpt from the Official Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary.

Well, you see, the thing is that serving as the J-Blogosphere’s self-proclaimed foremost Heblish lexicographer isn’t as easy as it seems.

I mean, first of all, there are the well-documented occupational hazards – such as becoming inured to Heblish and even allowing Heblishisms to creep into one’s own speech.

But the real problem is that every so often, even a linguistic expert (soi-disant or otherwise) is unable to provide an accurate definition for a particular word or expression.

And needless to say, without definitions, it’s rather hard to compile a dictionary (especially a virtual one).

For instance, longtime readers will recall that I had the same issue with “being stuck” - a phrase which epitomizes adolescent angst and whose English equivalent continues to escape me. (Your suggestions are still welcome.)

Which brings me to the following unfinished dictionary entry:

Go down from…: Hebrew source  …ירד מ. English definition – ???? Sample usage – “Although he’s always insisted that Plan A’s the only way to go, he went down from it and is now looking into Plan B.”

I suppose a very loose translation would be “give up on,” but IMHO, that doesn’t really have the same connotation as the Heblish (or the Hebrew original, for that matter).

However, after spending much time and effort about five minutes trying to come up with an exact definition, I’ve gone down from it and now simply use the Heblish instead.

P.S. To the Shiputzim kids: Please ignore that last paragraph, okay?

smile_teeth

Hat tip: Malke, who inspired this post

8 comments:

  1. Maybe you could say "backed down"
    So in your example
    "Although he’s always insisted that Plan A’s the only way to go, he backed down and is now looking into Plan B"

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  2. I think it has to do with the popular Hebrew expression "to climb down (=go down) the tree" (לרדת מהעץ), which is used when someone who occupied a certain position in an argument (which is usually unjust or pretentious from the POV of the speaker) backs down from that position.

    -alex

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  3. I suppose you could change your mind about something?

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  4. YT - Hmm. "Back down" is definitely much closer to the Hebrew original than "give up on."

    Alex - Yes, that's how I think of it as well.

    Keren - I guess that could also work, depending on the context.

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  5. The best definition would be "let it go"

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  6. Thanks, Jessica, and welcome to the blog!

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