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Shtrudel for @

Week 16, Episode 32

The deep meaning of Hebrew words still breathes through letters and roots, but the language young generations use today is also applied to say things like "Awesome" or "What's up?" Do they also have ancient essence? Well, surely enough these words are not that profound as "son", for example, but some of them are very curious.

Slang has been a part of the modern state of Israel since 1948 and consists mainly of a mixture of Yiddish, Arabic and English. There are also some Russian words that for me was such an odd discovery.

The word "Walla", for example, is Arabic but also used by Hebrew speakers all the time! The range of interpretations it may have is vast: surprise, disbelief, exclamation, discomfort. "Sure" in Arabic, it can be translated as "Hmm...", "I see", "Really?", "Okay."

Another word full of meanings is "Stam" which is used to show disappointment, avoidance, or even as "Just kidding" or "Whatever". The general translation of it to English would be "With/For no particular reason, purpose or cause". Like, if I put a fluffy tiger toy on my head while I were typing this and you asked me what for, I could answer "Stam" meaning there is no any reasoning behind this action.

Other situations are:

— "I speak Hebrew fluently... Stam." (It is not true)

— "How was the movie?" — "Stam." (disappointment)

— "You look ike Justin Bieber... ... ... Stam." (No, you don't)

Hebrew abounds with words for "awesome/cool":

  • Sababa (Arabic, "ardent love") which can be also used as a positive response, 
  • Magniv (mahg-neev), literally "sneaking, a show stealer",
  • Eser (eh-sehr), literally "ten",
  • Achla (ah-hh-lah), Arabic for "great"
  • Gadol (gah-doll), literally "big",
  • Pizootz (pee-tzoo-tz), literally "explosion",
  • Esh (ash), literally "fire",

  • Chaval Al HaZman (khah-vahl ahl khaz-mahn), literally "a shame on time" ("waste of time"),

  • Sof haderech (sof hah-deh-rehh), literally "end of the road".

The phrase "What's up?" also has many versions: "Ma nishma?", "Ma koreh?", "Ma Hamatzav?", "Ma Ha-inyanim", "Ma khadash?"

Looks like even slang words in Hebrew have something in them :) In this sense, I liked a lot the expression for "to have a good time"La'asot Chaim, pronounced lah-ah-sot khah-eem—that in Hebrew means "to make life"... :)

And what about the symbol for @? How is it called in Hebrew? I discovered that in many languages it turns into a "snail", "monkey", "little mouse", "duckling", "elephant's trunk", "puppy" or "dog", even "crazy A" or "pickled fish roll"... I know, right? But in Hebrew it is simply... "shtrudel" :) That is how it is pronounced and what it represents. Insofar, the sweetest @ in the world!

On this sugary note, I say Shalom—by the way, the word doesn't only mean "Hello/Goodbye", but initially it came as "peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity"—to the language that revived from the dead baring ancient stories in each letter. Personally, I got amazed with the path this language made through history and how profoundly distinct the way to look at texts and words that it offers is.

See you in our next Langventure to Hebrew's "brother"—Arabic language.

Beseder! (Beh-seh-dehr) OK!

" I am a sababa article! Like me now! "

Read more about Hebrew and other languages at

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