Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hebrew words in English

ETYMOLOGY? That English You’re Speaking? It’s Hebrew. (Well, Some of It.) The derivations of the words cinnamon, ruthless, scapegoat, and amen (MaNishtana, Tablet Magazine).
Given that backdrop, it’s entirely ironic that so many words Hebrew words spoken in Israel are backwards-engineered English ones, an irony currently being rectified by the Academy of Hebrew Language (which, with equal irony, is named the Academiya). But what makes this use of English loan words in modern Hebrew so thoroughly and hilariously meta is that English is literally littered with loan words and concepts borrowed from Hebrew. Here are a few:
Well, sort of. The point the article makes is correct, but the examples are oddly and poorly chosen. As the author notes, "amenable" is from a Latin root. Also, "ruthless" comes from a Germanic root and "scapegoat" is a very free translation of Azazel, not a transliterated Hebrew word. But there are some other actual Hebrew words absorbed or adapted into English, including hallelujah, edenic, sabbath, philistine, babel, behemoth, cabal, manna, and satanic, as well as countless Hebrew personal names and place names in English.