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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Curiosity killed the…

imageEnglish has the words “prostate” and “prostrate.”  You know, words that, even when you grow up speaking them, you stop before you say them, just to be sure that you are saying the exact right one. 

(Maybe urologists don’t have to stop and think about it.  One would expect, after a certain number of years of specialization, they get the right one pretty much intuitively.  (“Do you mean you want to check me in a lying down position???  Oh – you meant the other one.”))

In Hebrew, there are a few words like this, words I know well but mix up anyway, in situations that, here in Canada, are thankfully benign and mostly friendly, but which could lead to a great deal of confusion in an actual Hebrew-speaking place.

In what could be the first of an ongoing series, today’s sound-only-a-little-alike Hebrew words are…

  • סַקְרָן / sakran = mischievous, curious, as in חוני הסקרן, Choni HaSakran, one Hebrew incarnation of Curious George.
  • סַרְטָן / sartan = cancer, both the zodiac sign and the disease.

Hmm…

image

image

So tough to tell the difference!

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