New Hebrew Word for Piano
Posted: 05 June 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Great article from Balashon on the new Hebrew word for Piano.  When Hebrew became the everyday language for Israel shortly after its independence, it had to form new words for things that are not in the inherited religious literature.  Though musical instruments are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (especially as he notes Daniel 3:5) pianos as such weren’t yet invented. So, the new word ”psanter” was borrowed from the Greek psalterion which looked like a Hebrew plural so it was singularized to psanter.  Fun article etymologically as well as musically.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Interesting, but this is frustrating:

psanter superseded makoshit as the Hebrew word for piano (I haven’t found any source that explains exactly when and how, and if psanter was in use during his [Ben-Yehuda’s] life)

I guess there’s still no Hebrew dictionary on a historical basis.  Get cracking, Hebrew lexicographers!

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Posted: 05 June 2007 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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If you like Hebrew/Israeli etymology you would surely enjoy Zuckermann.

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Posted: 05 June 2007 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

The Hebrew Language Academy is working on a historical dictionary, but the scope is so big I’m not sure when they’ll ever finish it. For example, the one entry I know is completed, on the root ערב - ayin-resh-bet - is 75 pages.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Balashon, it’s good to see you posting here. We’ve linked to your fascinating blog before, engrossing even for those of us, like myself, who have little or no Hebrew.

Welcome!

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Posted: 06 June 2007 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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A hearty welcome from me as well!  Ah, the curse of the overambitious dictionary.  I seem to recall one for a European language that’s been crawling along for a century or so and not gotten to the middle of the alphabet, but I can’t dredge up the details from my increasingly overloaded memory…

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Posted: 06 June 2007 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Don’t you mean the Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal, LH? We did discuss it here and I noticed you dealt with too in your blog. That did take over a century to finish but it was finished. It claims to be the largest dictionary in world. It is in dire need of revision though, because the oldest lemmas are already outdated. It does give a very good impression of how our language evolved in only a century.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Barukh Ha-Ba (welcome) Ba-Lashon—I have visited your blog often - very impressive.

Reb Wlm—another Hebrew language enthusiast—

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Posted: 07 June 2007 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Don’t you mean the Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal, LH?

Nope.

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