Anglicism/loanwords in Hebrew

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by airelibre, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    << split from בגלל ש thread >>

    I don't understand this problem of 'anglicism'. You could say that qualitative shouldn't be used in English because it's forcing Latin on us English speakers. Nobody likes using these complicated romance words in everyday speech, but they are necessary in science because of the need for a lack of ambiguity. Considering my dislike for such English scientfic words, your dislike of such scientific Hebrew words is probably natural, but I wouldn't say that it is due to the influence of English, and no one is forcing you to use them in colloquial speech.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2012
  2. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    Indeed, it's strange that people think other languages need purism while English doesn't.

    (I'm really sorry to our Hebrew speakers to have caused controversial issues like these to be raised on this forum.)
  3. arielipi Senior Member

    The problem isnt to absorb things from other languages, the problem rises when you already have the expression in hebrew, but you use converting function:english->hebrew; do not see any wrong bringing new things from other languages, but it just doesnt sound native to the ear, heres an example a native english speaker told me:

    Person: Regardless, even though you could technically say "cleverer", it's hard to say and it just doesn't sound right to the native ear.

    me: so if a word ends with r, you wont add another suffix r to it? like therere, cleverer etc.

    When it ends in -er and has two or more syllables. Unfortunately, I can't think of any examples off the top of my head.

    So the same thing goes to us.
  4. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Same thing goes for the Germanic word already existing, and then a Romance word coming along. Eg. writing - literature, watch - observe, ask - inquire. Consequently the words from Latin roots are seen as high-register and not really used in everyday speech.

    Your English example is not really equivalent. The English example is to do with the literal sound of the word, rather than just preferences. We avoid replication of sounds in English so cleverer, betterer don't sound good.

    I understand your point of view, but I think it's a little unfounded to pin it down on English as being the one language at fault for such a phenomenon. If anything, it is Latin that is the language of suffix-adding and indirectness.
  5. C_J Junior Member

    I'm sorry that my remark brought us to this OT discussion. I only brought this up to illustrate how the Academy makes its rullings over complicated cases such as this one, in a completely arbitrary fashion(as it probably should).

    As for loanwords in Hebrew, there are many issues with that, especially when a loanword comes from a completely different language family.
    Loanwords must first be Hebraised so they fit the phonology and morphology, and many loanwords are, for instance, way too long for a native word, and just never fit well in the language and feel very cumbersome (especially if you try apply Hebrew pre/suffixes). Some loanwords also have various pronunciation/spelling difficulties, they induce the creation of new exceptions which add even more confusion (when many people are still struggling with native words LOL).

    English is completely different in this aspect, as most of its loanwords come from the same language family (some even as cognates), and historrically it loaned so many words (up to 70% of the current vocabulary) that it also "inherited" tools to adopt these words mophologically and syntatically. In parallel, it underwent huge changes, to the point that modern English is no longer mutually intelligible with its older variants. And during this process, a huge collection o irregularities and exceptions were created.

    English is also not regulated, so it has many official and semi officials standards that constantly change.
    But in the case of Hebrew, a regulatory body was created to oversee changes and create one unified standard while making sure to keep the continuity of the language.
    And while the fact that Hebrew speakers can read the Tanakh while English speakers can't read Beowulf, obviously doesn't mean that any language is "better" than the other, it does indeed demonstrate how different these two languages are in many aspects.
  6. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    C_J: My intention isn't to refute your position, but what differences do these differences make? Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese have an unrelated language, Chinese, form and derive a majority of their vocabularies, and we just live with them. Many native speakers aren't aware of the Sinitic origin of some functional words, and they're just a part of these languages as much as native words are.

    Are you concerned about Hebrew changing too rapidly/becoming contaminated with English/losing its Semitic character by adapting to English loanwords, or what?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  7. C_J Junior Member

    I don't mind loanwords at all, they enrich the language not "contaminate" it. I just noted that some loanwords are difficult to integrate in Hebrew because it's a rather synthetic language. For example if you have a word that you cannot extract a triliteral root from, you will have to create various constructions to accomodate it. And these just feel unnatural (like using Korean postpositions in English: My boss-kkey I gave key).
    Nor am I worried by changes, as it is an essential part of any living language. I'm just saying that these changes should be made in a controlled manner, with the aim of creating one unified standard that everyone can use as a reference, that is all.

    I'm speaking against situations such as the one I mentioned before. Since Israeli universities did not agree with the Academy's suggestion, "qualitative" can now be expressed as "קוואליטטיבי", "איכותי" and "איכותני", without any one of them being official.

    Here's an (exaggerated) example, don't take it too specifically, it's just for illustration:
    The Latin "mainpulus" (handful) entered English through French as the noun "manipulation". English-French morphology allowed the creation of the verb "manipulate", the nouns "manipulator", "manipulability", "manipulable", "manipulativeness", the adjectives "manipulatable", "manipulatory", "manipulative" and the adverb "manipulatively".
    When we loan the noun "manipulation" into Hebrew as "מניפולציה", we're basically stuck with it. It doesn't fit any of the mishqalim, so no verbs or nouns can ever be derived from it. We can use some commonly recognised suffixes to get "מניפולטיבי", "מניפולטיביות
    For the rest we'll have to try to create unique constructions:
    "לעשות מניפולציות", "אדם המרבה לעשות מניפולציות", "המידה בה אדם או עצם נתונים לביצוע מניפולציה בהם/עליהם" "ניתן לבצע עליו/בו מניפולציות" "נוטה להיות כנוע לביצוע מניפולציות עליו/בו, "שיש לו יכולת לבצע מניפולציות במיומנות", "בצורה מניפולטיבית".

    Do you really think that these monstrosities are viable replacements for simple verbs, nouns and adjectives? It's like using the description of an entry in a monolingual dictionary instead of using the entry itself.
    And borrowing the whole group together doesn't solve this, because those words then will become an isolated irregularity, an exception, that still can't be subjected to the rules of Hebrew morphology (just like מניפולציה is). And without being able to tell apart which one is the adjective/noun/verb, synthax will fail as well...
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  8. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    Thanks for clarifying your position.

    "My boss께 key를 gave" just sounds like (yeah, unnecessary) code-switching to me. Translation should hold itself to higher standards than that though. (Which is why no one wants to translate anymore these days.)

    "Manipulation" derivation: trying this exercise with Korean for comparison (using Sino-Korean 조종 for 'manipulation', not used commonly; fortunately Koreans don't import new Western concepts as frequently as Hebrew speakers do.)

    manipulate: "조종하다" (literally "do manipulation")
    manipulator: "조종적인/사람을 조종하는 사람" ("manipulative person"/"person who manipulates people")
    manipulativeness: "조종적인/사람을 조종하는 성격/성향" ("manipulative personality/tendency"; "personality/tendency of manipulating people")
    manipulability: "조종할 수 있는/조종이 잘 되는/조종이 가능한 성격/성향/정도"/"조종 가능성" ("personality/tendency/degree [to which X] can be manipulated/is manipulated easily/able to be manipulated"; "manipulate-ability") (last one sounds awkward)
    manipul(at)able (there's afaik no semantic difference between them): "조종할 수 있는"/"조종이 잘 되는"/"조종[이] 가능한" ("[which] can be manipulated"; "is manipulated easily"; "able to be manipulated")
    manipulative: "조종적인/사람을 조종하는" ("manipulative"; "[who/which] manipulates people")
    manipulatively: "조종적으로" ("manipulatively")
    manipulatory: "조종(에 관계된)" ("related/pertaining to manipulation" the noun might just be used as a modifier)

    (Is manipulable a noun?) Wow Korean is actually in a state almost as bad as Hebrew...perhaps even worse... to get the idea of how bulky they are, count the number of syllable blocks... It will make you want to scream "I HATE PERIPHRASIZING!!!!") Actually we can't do much even with Sino-Korean. The only solution seems to be to ban translation of all Western books/media into Korean LOL...

    By the way, I've been thinking about this a lot. It's striking that contemporary Hebrew verbal inflection, in its most productive parts (pi'el), is already pretty concatenative:

    past tense: STEM-ti, STEM-ta, STEM-t, STEM, STEM-a, STEM-nu, STEM-tem/n, STEM-u
    present tense: me-STEM, me-STEM-et, me-STEM-im, me-STEM-ot
    future tense: a-STEM, te-STEM te-STEM-i, ye-STEM, ne-STEM, te-STEM-u, ye-STEM-u
    imperative: STEM, STEM-i, STEM-u

    The stem's vocalization doesn't differ much between the past tense and the non-past tenses. The verbal noun is pretty much the only thing that can't be formed with concatenation.
    Do you see anything ominous about this? Surely Hebrew won't adopt converging on a fixed set of semantically weak words (like לעשות and others)?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  9. arielipi Senior Member

    Actually, we are producing 4-5-6-7-8 root binyanim nowadays, perhaps you didnt come across it yet, but as a CS student,here are a few examples; also some loanwords may be forced on a binyan, and thus resulting in its alteration a bit.

    למנפלטב - lemanepaletev, clearly is an ivut of hitpael.
    לאנדקס, להשים,
  10. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    Is the conjugation

    present: hu memanepaletev
    past: hu minepiletev
    future: hu yemanepaletev
    imperative: manepaletev!
    verbal noun: minupilutuv/manepaletvut?

    leandeks? sounds like a garden-variety loanword pi'el verb. I was wondering what you would do if you wanted a verb with more than two syllables in the stem.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  11. C_J Junior Member

  12. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    There is a class (I don't know how large this class is) of Anglicisms, which consists of biblical expressions taking on the English meaning of the translated English phrase, or translated and semantically developed by English and calqued back into Hebrew.
    For an example of the first kind, לשווא is used exactly like "in vain" in English.
    Any other examples?
  13. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    Wait, we're mixing up many different things here.
    - borrowings : מניפולציה
    - calques : לקחת זמן
    - borrowing + indigenous morphology : לאנדקס, אינדוקס
    - indigenous neologisms : החפצה, איכות, איכותי, איכותני (or you can see this as morphemic calques)
    - and inability of many pure borrowings to fit the Semitic morphology of Hebrew.

    It's not because מניפולציה is a borrowing, that the fact it can't fit the Hebrew morphology should prevent us from actually borrowing it.
    It's not because החפצה sounds new and forceful, that it has to be dubbed anglicism, and discarded de facto.
    They are not all equal, but the one should not prevent the other from existing.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  14. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France

    C_J, the issue in your reasoning is, and that's crucially the point, what you said happens to be true also for Hebrew indigenous words / roots.
    Try for instance : destruction, destructible, indestructible, destructibility, destructibly, destructive, destructiveness, destructively, destructor, destructorship, destructory, destroyer.... with השמיד. You'll come across the exact same issues. You may come up with משמיד, השמדה, השמדני, שמיד... Will be pretty much it.
  15. C_J Junior Member

    I disagree, you can put ש.מ.ד rather easily in the wide variety of mishqalim (there are about 120 different mishaqlim for nouns from ,גזרת השלמים about 40 mishqalim for adjectives and seven binyanim for verbs). Currently, there are 17 attested derivations from both meanings of that root, so as you can see, there's room for more (and I'm not even taking in account secondary roots). Compare this with foreign words that fit in so perfectly, that they sound completely native: brush/Bürste> להבריש/מברשת<ב.ר.ש (this root currently has 12 derivatives, more than many older roots).

    This is obviously true and I generally agree with this. As the Academy notes, it is not always simple to decide if a foreign word should be used or not .

    Obviously, you also cannot ingnore the cultural aspects of Hebrew, and how it is related to Judaism and Jewish history. Historically, there were often negative feeling towards foreign languages and words (not so much in the case of other Semitic languages), which were considered as a sign of assimilation or foreign opression. Foreign words were often intenionally corrupted (Λιμάν / נמל), and wre often used specifically to describe negative or foreign phenomenons (consider how widespread is the usage foreign profanities in modern Hebrew).
    This "foreign=negative" notion is so evident, that even the root ל.ע.ז - which originally meant "using a foreign language, using a language that is not Hebrew", now primarily means "to slander".
    This is still evident in modern Hebrew. And even though it's revival was driven primarily by secular people, and although it was strongly influenced by other languages (often not consciously), there is/was still avoidance of anything "foreign". You can see this with such weird and illogical examples such as with the biblical "אקדח" (a red gemstone) and "חשמל" (a subtype of an angel which is described as "bright/glowing"), which were "recycled" so that they can describe the modern concepts of "handgun" and "electricity" respectively.

    Again, I am not saying what is good or bad, I am just saying that this is how it is. Hebrew is a regulated language, and as such, the Academy decides what is standard, what is proper and what is ought to be used (or not used). So if there is already an established Hebrew term to describe sth, using calques/loanwords/neologisms is deemed inproper and sub-standard. It doesn't mean it won't be/cannot be widely understood and used, but as I said before; it is different form English, and thus popular usage does not necessarilly dictates what is standard and what is not.
    Unfortunately, the Academy sometimes doesn't take a stance, so other bodies set their own standards; like in the instance that I provided (which is now in a separate thread).

    I am not sure when שווא/לשווא gained it secondary meaning, but I understand what you mean. I don't think there are many such words though. One that comes to mind is יובל (jubilee), whenever it's not used to discribe
    "the 50th year/the year after seventh shnat shmita (a religious term)".
    I can think of a few examples of words that now have a different meaning than in Biblical times, but these changes were not necessarily caused by foreign languages.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  16. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    The issue with most of the instances of the mishkalim and the binyanim, is that they are generally realized in the lexicon and not in the grammar. Which means :
    - the meaning of a root + a pattern can't be predicted (more often than not), both for nouns and verbs.
    - once you have created a word, there's generally no way to further derive other words from it, except for a small number of suffixes (-ut, -i, -an, and their combinations), and almost no way at all in the case of verbs.

    Verbs are the part of speech that suffer the most from this condition. Hopefully, new secondary roots are regularly created (because it always has to go through roots, given the limitedness of word-based derivation), like lemasper (denominal of mispar < s-p-r), leashrer (third duplication '-sh-r-r < '-sh-r), leshakhtev ( first radical insertion or old binyan residual ? sh-k-t-b < k-t-b), but the process is, once again, highly lexicalized and not productive.

    Actually, we've seen word derivation (words from words), root derivation (roots from roots), but what misses the most is pattern derivation (patterns from patterns). The only very productive instance I know of, is the systematic creation of action nouns based on the binyan : pi'ul, haf'ala, hitpa'alut...
    But for instance, we miss a systematic way to express "doable" things : qal has the semi-productive pa'il, but other binyanim have nothing, etc.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  17. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    I thought that חשמל was the noun for "amber", and electron in Greek just happens to mean amber... A clever calque :)
  18. trigel Senior Member

    English - US, Korean
    Yeah, sometimes I find myself wishing verbs at least had "mishkalim" like nouns/adjectives.
    (And contemporary non-normative Hebrew has something resembling that in taking noun roots including dagesh/rafe information in verb roots, like kixev, hixfitz, hitxaver.)
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  19. C_J Junior Member

    @hadronic: I understand what you mean. Although many mishqalim automatically give a root a certain meaning, there are usually words in that mishqal that have other meanings. It looks like some standardisation was attempted since the Restoration, for example putting all "illnesses" in "qatelet" - "עגבת,חצבת,יעפת,שעלת", but then there are "קלטת, כספת"...
    In the case of adjectives that in English would have the -able/-ible suffix, the first thing that comes to mind is the Aramaic "בר + שם פעולה" like in "בר השגה, בר הגבהה, בר מיתה", the "נוח ל/קל ל + שם פעולה שם פועל" or the more modern "ניתן ל+שם פעולה/שם פועל".
    There was an effort to put such adjectives in "קָּטִיל" though, and there are many of those: "פתיר, שביר, ישים, ישיג, אכיל, פריק, פריך,נתיק, נתיר". So שמיד is at least theoretically possible, I guess so are the theoretic "brushable"/"בריש" and "synchronisable"/"סנכרין"?
    But then again there are some, that have different meaning like "חדיש", and there are also the homophonic/(partially) homographic קַּטִיל for some adj like "כביר", and of course the קַּטִיל and קָּטִיל for nouns "נגיד, אריס" and "צדיק".

    Oh yes, I remember reading about this. From what I can remember, elektron (ηλεκτρον) has the etymology of "holding sun" = shining like sun (or something of the like). And initially it was used for describing a gold-silver alloy (somewhat disputed, some suggest it was used for both gold-silver and amber). At the time when the septuagint was translated, חשמל was probably intended the "shining like gold-silver (or amber)" meaning.
    Thank you for bringing this up, as it completely slipped my mind, and this is indeed what inspired J.L. Gordon to "recycle" this word (since then, more convincing Akkadian etymologies for hashmal were suggested).
    Any theories for אקדח maybe? If this helps, אבני אקדח are translated as "λίθους κρυστάλλου (crystal stones)" in the Septuagint (btw, in that same sentence λίθους ηλεκτρονς - elektron stones used for "אבני חפץ"...)

Share This Page