Monday, June 30, 2008

Ashkenaz

Herzl was way, way off when he said that the Jewish state should use German and not Hebrew, Hebrew being, according to Herzl, too challenging. After day 1 of German class (the day after turning in my grades for the French class I co-taught--this is an action-packed summer, linguistically at least) I can say for sure that Herzl did not know what he was talking about. Hebrew does not have fifty different ways of combining an article and a noun. Words in Hebrew might well be written in silly letters, but they are, in most cases, quite short. Granted, for native German speakers (or German-influenced 19th C Central European Jews), German would have been easier than Hebrew, which was kind of Herzl's situation, but objectively, ordering a train ticket in German has to be tougher than doing the same in Hebrew.

After my class, I met up with Jo for dinner at the Second Avenue Deli. Somewhere between the matzo ball and the kreplach, I'm hoping something of German or German-like language started to sink in.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Were there trains in Palestine? Are there trains in Israel?

Withywindle said...

http://www.israrail.org.il/english/

Ah, the power of Google.

Surely, objectively, any Indo-European language is easier for an Indo-European-speaker to learn than a non-Indo-European language?

Russian cases suck more than German cases.

Brown Shoes said...

Agree with withywindle - Russian is the biggest headache of a language I tried to understand since I tried my hand at Attic Greek.