Saturday, January 2, 2010

Heblish: Dynamic Edition

Shavua tov!

By definition, Heblish is a hyper-dynamic language.

After all, the longer one lives here in Israel, the more one’s English deteriorates and the more one’s Hebrew improves.(Actually, this is only true for children. Adults’ English deteriorates at a much faster rate than the speed at which their Hebrew improves. Thus, while the children of Anglo parents are frequently bilingual, their oleh parents are usually, well, non-lingual. :-) But I digress…)

Anyway, even I was surprised when I realized how quickly the Our Shiputzim dialect had evolved.

Here’s how it happened:

In a comment to the previous Heblish post, Jameel wrote:

“Don't forget: ‘I don't want to save on X.’ For לשמור...”

Note that this wasn’t the first time a commenter had alluded to this particular Heblishism. For instance, RCT referred to it in the original Heblish post, and Yaffa cited it in Heblish VI. In addition, many readers have told me off-line that their kids favor this expression.

Clearly, “save on X” is very popular. Yet, as I pompously declared in my response, for reasons best known to themselves, the Shiputzim children had somehow managed to avoid that particular pitfall charming Heblishism.

Well, blogging pride comes before a linguistic fall.

Because it soon transpired that I had spoken typed too soon.

You see, that very Shabbat was Parshat Lech Lecha, and as you will perhaps recall, ACGAC (a certain gan-age child of my acquaintance) was telling us about the parsha.

“Terach told Avraham to save on the pesalim (idols),” ACGAC intoned.

And thus, “save on” instantaneously earned its way into the Official Our Shiputzim Heblish-English dictionary:

To save on: Hebrew source לשמור על. English definition –To watch. Sample usage – “His parents went out, and so a babysitter saved on him.”

And while we’re at it, here’s another entry:

The Rav X: Hebrew source X הרב. English definition –Rabbi X. Sample usage – “The Rav Cohen is my teacher this year.”


Previous Heblish editions are available here: Heblish I, Heblish II, Heblish III, Heblish IV, Heblish V, Heblish VI, Heblish VII, and Heblish VIII.


  1. Oy, we've "save on" in this house since my oldest could speak in full sentences. It's too funny!

  2. Yes, save on is an old favorite in our house, although I must admit, since I've started joking about it, my kids have made an effort to cut back...
    Also I've said for some time now that I've become semi-lingual - a slightly different twist :)
    Great post as always!

  3. I love your Heblish posts. You should have been a language teacher!

  4. "Save on" is of course a classic-obviously there is no oleh household that hasn't experienced it.
    I remember my kids' English teacher telling me that the kids used to address her to her face as "the teacher" (as when in raising their hand to be called on they would yell out "the teacher! the teacher!"), a translation from "hamoreh" or "Harav"

  5. Abbi - I really don't know why it took this long for "save on" to make it to TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog).

    Toby - "semi-lingual" - I like that!

    Ilana-Davita - Great idea! The next time an Israeli university decides to open a Heblish Department, I am SOOO applying for the position of department head...

    Malke - By now, I barely notice it when the kids say "the Rav". For instance, the CTO and N's Ra"m from last year is always "the Rav F--", and it doesn't even sound strange to me!


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