Word for not being able to focus on one task

In Hebrew, my native language, we have a word describing the inability of one to focus on a certain task and instead thinking or doing one or many related/unrelated things. This word roughly translates to “being scattered” or “being dispersed”. Are there any other more appropriate words to describe such thing? Note: if this word … Read more

Why do American English speakers pronounce both syllables in “challah” equally?

I live in the US, and I’ve noticed that “challah” seems to be generally pronounced by Americans as something like /hala:/ (or possibly /ha:lə/), with either equal stress on both syllables or a slight stress on the first. However, for some reason, I’ve generally assumed that the stress should be on the second syllable. Wikipedia … Read more

Is “chutzpah” used by non-Jewish English speakers?

Chutzpah is a term common to both Hebrew and Yiddish, and has been imported into English, at least for Jews. It means approximately audacity, nerve, insolence. Is chutzpah also used by non-Jewish English speakers? I think I have only seen it once outside of Jewish publications / communities. Answer Yes. I was brought up knowing … Read more

Resources that discuss “Jewish” English (English influenced by Yiddish grammar)

I’m looking for some resources that discuss English spoken with the influence of Yiddish/Hebraic grammatical structures. For instance, things like: You want I should… “Do you want me to…” I should be so lucky “May I be so lucky” Anything to point me into the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Answer Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinglish – … Read more

Come on, don’t be such a nimrod!

According to the OED, the word English Nimrod is derived from the Hebrew, where in Genesis 10:8–9 he is described as ‘a mighty one in the earth’ and ‘a mighty hunter before the Lord’. It is apparently still a popular name in Israel. This would match the OED’s definitions: A tyrannical ruler; a tyrant. Obs. … Read more

Why Abraham and not Avraham?

In the Hebrew scriptures Abraham’s name is Avraham and not Abraham (אַבְרָהָם). Is has a v and not a b. The same goes for Rebecca, who is called Rivka in Hebrew. Both v and b sounds are represented by the same letter, the letter ב, but the sound b is represented by the letter with … Read more