Cultural Exchange: Israel

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Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:20 am

I'm... not sure why I didn't think of making this earlier. But today-- being Israel's Independence Day (65th anniversary)-- seems as good a day as any to make it.

Yes, I'm Canadian, but I've lived in Israel for a while and have a lot of friends who still do, and I know at LEAST as much about Israel as H does about Belgium :P.

So anyway... yeah. Here to answer anything about Israeli culture and society. Rule 6 observed.
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Victin on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:59 pm

I've seen you using it sometimes, so, what can you tell me about Hebrew? It seems an interesting language! :D

EDIT: Wait, what do they even talk in Israel? :S
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:17 pm

Victin wrote:Wait, what do they even talk in Israel? :S


The majority of Israel speaks Hebrew as a first language. Israel's two official languages are Hebrew and Arabic. Basically all official signs and things in Israel are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

Victin wrote:I've seen you using it sometimes, so, what can you tell me about Hebrew? It seems an interesting language! :D


Oh, dear... I could talk SO MUCH about Hebrew. First of all, the easy stuff: it reads right-to-left, as opposed to Latin-alphabet languages such as English, which read left-to-right.

There are twenty-two letters, which are all officially consonants; vowel sounds are added with little lines and dots which fit, variably, inside, under, or over the letters. There are also five letters which are written differently when they come at the end of a word, and a handful (the number varies, depending on regional pronunciations) of letters which are pronounced as a completely different consonant if they have a dot in the middle.
The Hebrew alphabet:
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ/ך ל מ/ם נ/ן ס ע פ/ף צ/ץ ק ר ש ת

Hebrew as it's spoken today in Israel-- "Modern Hebrew"-- is a very different Hebrew from the Hebrew of the Old Testament ("Biblical Hebrew", the one I speak more fluently), though anyone who speaks Biblical Hebrew can understand Modern Hebrew and vice versa-- you'll just get laughed at by Israelis (same as if someone who learned English from reading Shakespeare showed up in the US). It has a lot of loan words from English-- generally, when I can't understand a word in Hebrew, I replay it in a less-Israeli accent, and find that it's just the English word mispronounced to sound like Hebrew.

Modern Hebrew was "revitalized" and turned back into a spoken language by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in the nineteenth century; he wrote the first Hebrew dictionary.

Um. There is a LOT more I could say about the Hebrew language, but I think this is already a lot. :)
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Victin on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:09 pm

Oh yeah! I remember reading an article about languages on which one of the topics was the revitalization of the Hebrew language. Just out of curiosity, when you write in Hebrew (such as the alphabet), should I be reading it left-right or right-left?

Also have a lime because Hebrew is a cool language to know :P

*glares at the smalltext until it resizes itself* -JA
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:15 pm

Victin wrote:When you write in Hebrew (such as the alphabet), should I be reading it left-right or right-left?


Always read it right-to-left. Always.
When I switch my language settings to type in Hebrew, it also automatically switches the direction the typing goes, so I don't have to painstakingly write everything backwards in order to make sense. XD
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby IslaKariese on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:43 pm

Also, when I was searching for pronunciation help with a Hebrew word, it was placed to the right side of the text bar rather than the left. It was wierd. :D
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby H22 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:46 am

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:
Victin wrote:Wait, what do they even talk in Israel? :S


The majority of Israel speaks Hebrew as a first language. Israel's two official languages are Hebrew and Arabic. Basically all official signs and things in Israel are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

Victin wrote:I've seen you using it sometimes, so, what can you tell me about Hebrew? It seems an interesting language! :D


Do you know anything about Aramaic? Is it still spoken by people who aren't Jesus?
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:01 am

Aramaic, or a language almost indistinguishable from it called Syriac, is still spoken as a living language by some groups of people, though those groups are not native to Israel as far as I know.

From Wikipedia: "Syriac has been recognised as an official minority language in Iraq. It is also taught in some public schools in Iraq, Israel, Sweden and Kerala."

I can read Aramaic with ease, and understand its grammatical structures well enough that I can at least translate between Hebrew and Aramaic with no problem (I won't say 'fluent' since I can't use it conversationally, just read and understand existing text). I study a lot of texts written in Aramaic (and particularly did so on the program I was in when I was living in Israel-- see? totally on-topic!); there are some groups who study these texts frequently enough that they could be considered to speak Aramaic, though not in the same sense. If you read any language often enough, you'll find there are words in that language for which there's no adequate translation (so there is the occasional term that I'll think in Aramaic, but not enough for me to claim that I think in that language).

It's a lot of fun to run into Syriac-speakers (of which there are sadly few, I believe) and understand it as a spoken language.
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue May 06, 2014 12:32 pm

So today is Yom Haatzmaut! The State of Israel is 66 years old today!

Yesterday was Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. There's a lot of intense emotion, especially as people transition from the really sombre Yom Hazikaron to the immediately following Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, which is a happy day of celebration and stuff.

Both are commemorated nationally with ceremonies large and small, often with one ceremony on the evening that joins the two, beginning with serious reflection and memorial and slowly transitioning into Yom Haatzmaut with food, music, and dancing.

In Israel, there is no work today. Instead, people do traditional things like having barbecues, partying, and watching the national programming for Yom Haatzmaut, chief among which is the International Bible Contest-- practically everyone watches it, whether intensely trying to answer the questions before the participants do or just leaving it on in the background during the meal. I am particularly pleased to note that this year, the winner of the contest was a Canadian, filling me today with two different sources of national pride.

So yeah.
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Scarab on Mon May 19, 2014 5:13 am

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:So today is Yom Haatzmaut! The State of Israel is 66 years old today!

Yesterday was Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. There's a lot of intense emotion, especially as people transition from the really sombre Yom Hazikaron to the immediately following Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, which is a happy day of celebration and stuff.

Both are commemorated nationally with ceremonies large and small, often with one ceremony on the evening that joins the two, beginning with serious reflection and memorial and slowly transitioning into Yom Haatzmaut with food, music, and dancing.

In Israel, there is no work today. Instead, people do traditional things like having barbecues, partying, and watching the national programming for Yom Haatzmaut, chief among which is the International Bible Contest-- practically everyone watches it, whether intensely trying to answer the questions before the participants do or just leaving it on in the background during the meal. I am particularly pleased to note that this year, the winner of the contest was a Canadian, filling me today with two different sources of national pride.

So yeah.


:D Do you have BBQ sausages and Corn and Pineapple, or are there other foods considered more traditional?
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Re: Cultural Exchange: Israel

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon May 19, 2014 10:57 am

Barbecued corn is hugely traditional; I've never heard of barbecued pineapple but it SOUNDS good. Beyond that the typical mangal (or barbecue) is a whole lot of barbecued meat, ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to actual barbecued steak or chicken wings or stuff.
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