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Thread: Where Did The WAW Come From?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hanel View Post
    Well I don't have an Israeli or Yiddish background, but I'm fairly well versed in German and I know that a lot of terminology in Hebrew grammars is pulled from German grammars (e.g. the Piel being referred to as the D-stem (Doppelstamm). And I also know that most kids in classes,when they came to "waw," didn't understand that it came from German as well and just called it "wow" rather than "vav".
    It's funny how many little things that occured in the past can bring to light something that occurs years down the road. Had you not had that experience you may never have made the connection.

    Now then, since I've admitted one pet peeve, let me just throw out another one, only this one is really important. In fact, I may have to get an internet petition started on this one. To wit:

    We should quit calling it the "bald" eagle. Rather, it should be called the "crowned" eagle. It's too majestic a bird to be called a "bald" eagle, and I happen to know for a fact that not one of them birds would like being called that if they could speak English.

    It is "crowned" eagle. That's the only word befitting such a majestic bird's piercing demeanor.

    And for those of you that are bald, and who like to say, "Bald is beautiful!" Well, have at it. Say it all day long if you want to...

    Just leave it off of my Crowned Eagles.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    Actually, you may have made me figure it out Irving...

    The Germans pronounce the "w" as a "v" and so when they spelled it they may have written it with a "w" because they knew it was pronounced as a "v". But then the British and the Americans came along, and when they saw it spelled with a "w", and not knowing that the Germans pronounced it as a "v", they instead pronounced it the Anglo way, i.e., as a "w", and hence the "waw".

    Now that, as they say, is a darn good yarn!
    Scott, I think you are very likely correct. Vis-a-vis Yiddish, there are indeed neighborhoods in NY where Yiddish is actually the lingua franca. Hasidic Jews give priority to Yiddish in regular common everyday speech. Hebrew, for them, is the language of prayer and the sacred texts.

    Thanks for the good thread, Scott.

    Irving

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hanel View Post
    Well I don't have an Israeli or Yiddish background, but I'm fairly well versed in German and I know that a lot of terminology in Hebrew grammars is pulled from German grammars (e.g. the Piel being referred to as the D-stem (Doppelstamm). And I also know that most kids in classes,when they came to "waw," didn't understand that it came from German as well and just called it "wow" rather than "vav".
    Interesting, Michael. Your story brought back certain memories for me. I will never forget the day I arrived at a particular Christian Bible College here in the northeast. I was a relatively new believer in Jesus as the Messiah, having come from a rabbinical Yeshiva (school) background. I will never forget my bewilderment at hearing profs and students alike all refer to the "waw.' "They are butchering my beloved vav," I thought, horrified to be sure. Then, one day, I came to an OT exegesis class early. In the spare moments that I had, I wrote out a favorite Hebrew verse on the blackboard. When my prof entered the class, he took a long, staring look at the blackboard, and his face soon showed his puzzlement. It dawned on me later that he had never been taught Hebrew cursive. My prof was a PhD and well-established Hebrew Scholar. But I might as well have written hieroglyphics up on the board. He couldn't for the life of him decipher my cursive Hebrew.

    What's funny is that as a Jewish kid going to Hebrew School, you learn the alphabet in block letters in kindergarten. But shortly thereafter, you learn to write cursively and never again write Hebrew out in the block letters. I would have a very hard time today writing out Hebrew block letters, since the cursive system is so ingrained in me. (It's much faster to write too!)

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    I wrote out a favorite Hebrew verse on the blackboard. When my prof entered the class, he took a long, staring look at the blackboard, and his face soon showed his puzzlement. It dawned on me later that he had never been taught Hebrew cursive. My prof was a PhD and well-established Hebrew Scholar. But I might as well have written hieroglyphics up on the board. He couldn't for the life of him decipher my cursive Hebrew.

    What's funny is that as a Jewish kid going to Hebrew School, you learn the alphabet in block letters in kindergarten. But shortly thereafter, you learn to write cursively and never again write Hebrew out in the block letters. I would have a very hard time today writing out Hebrew block letters, since the cursive system is so ingrained in me. (It's much faster to write too!)
    That's funny. Until my post-seminary life when my wife and studied some non-Biblical Hebrew readings with a former professor at Hebrew Union I had never known cursive Hebrew myself. This is true of both Greek and Hebrew, but when we no longer focus on composition, the skill-set shifts and so all they are worried about is making sure students know the block letters. I don't do enough Hebrew writing though in order to keep with the cursive though and since all I read is in block, it's much the same. But then again, I'm also of the generation where I was taught in grade school the cursive letters in English, but other than a year or two after that, I never write in cursive except signing my name -- but even then some would wonder if you could really call my signature cursive "writing."
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

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    Interesting points, Michael. I wonder how much cursive or block writing is really even done these days. I suspect keyboarding has replaced a lot of that.

    Did your time at HUC ever produce any meaningful opportunities to share your faith with peers and teachers there? Or was that a complete taboo?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ISalzman View Post
    Interesting points, Michael. I wonder how much cursive or block writing is really even done these days. I suspect keyboarding has replaced a lot of that.

    Did your time at HUC ever produce any meaningful opportunities to share your faith with peers and teachers there? Or was that a complete taboo?
    This was actually not even connected with the school itself. The person I was working with was retired and, (now that I think about it, I don't think he was ever a professor there, but he was elsewhere) already a Christian, but he got his PhD from HUC and won an alumnus award, so he had a lot of ties still there.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

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    Good stuff. Thanks, Michael.

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    So does that mean neither one of you guys is going to sign my Crowned Eagle petition? Well, now, I'm just gonna get miffed for the rest of the night! (Course, I'm going to go to bed in moment, so it should pass very quickly).

    Obviously I didn't grow up Jewish or with Hebrew, but my Hebrew teacher is lady who still to this day teaches in the synagogues around here and elsewhere, and she gave me private lessons way back when several times a week. She had me reading Hebrew the first day -- the entire alphabet -- and she had me reciting the Hebrew alphabet the first day as well. She also taught me cursive right after block, though I have to actually use cursive for a little bit before it all comes back to me, because I just hardly ever write Hebrew by hand.

    But the point is, she is a GREAT teacher and she made me overlearn, as it were, the Hebrew alphabet. She so ingrained it into me, in fact, that to this day -- and I'm not exaggerating -- that if you ask me to simply recite the alphabet, even if you ask me in English, I'm more likely, unless I actually think about it for a second, to recite the alphatet in Hebrew than English.

    This lady was effectively for me a one-woman Ulpan!
    Last edited by Adelphos; 11-16-2011 at 09:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    So does that mean neither one of you guys is going to sign my Crowned Eagle petition? Well, now, I'm just gonna get miffed for the rest of the night! (Course, I'm going to go to bed in moment, so it should pass very quickly).
    Don't look at me. I'm much more of a turkey person.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

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    Hey Scott, I'll sign your petition. Mind you, we have red-tailed Hawks in our area. Last winter, we had a hawk eat a squirrel on a mound of snow in front of our house. Neighbors all stood by amazed and gawking at the sight of it all. One guys took photos that made their way into our local newspaper that week.

    That's pretty neat about your Hebrew teacher. She sounds like she was the consummate teacher.

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