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Sling Slang

Posted by Barbara Shaw on

I love slang as it is a sign of life through a language. Hebrew is both an ancient language and also a relatively young language, in it's modern format - revived by Ben Yehuda in the early 19th century. Hebrew is a fast evolving language reflecting the fast pace of Israeli society. Within the society there are lots of sub-cultures, each with their own defined jargon.

When my son visits from Tel Aviv every couple of weeks he always has new slang terms I've never heard before. And when he return from the army he picks up even more new phrases. The army almost has its own language and complex acronyms, which naturally filter down into everyday life.

A feature of the modern day usage are the acronyms, which become words, that are used in everyday speech. For example "sofash" a shortened version of Sof shavua or weekend. Isralei slang also borrows from cultures around it, so many words and expressions from Arabic are used as slang, sometimes with a slight shift in meaning. 

Slang expressions have also come from cult Israeli movies as well as songs. So naturally different genres of culture feed each other. In part because the modern language is fairly new and slang fills a vocabulary need. 

I decided to commission a design on slang, partly as a celebration of the Hebrew language. I love the new design, which I commission from  Idan Vaknin, a very talented design and Bezalel graduate, who has a particular passion for Typography. The slang terms in the design are graphically presented very well I believe.

So we have Sababa - from the Arabic meaning great or Cool

Haval Al Hazman - Awesome

Bassa - A bummer

Kombina -  A way to quickly resolve a problem through slightly devious means, puling strings as necessary

Ma Koreh - What's happening

Tachlis - Nitty gritty

Sof Ha Derech - Terrific

Horeset - Heart breaker

Yallah Bye - Bye

Janana - To have a fit

Tfu Tfu - To keep the evil eye at bay. There is a custom to pretend to spit if some one says something nice

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