Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finnish vs. Hebrew

Sometimes when you read something and you have no idea what the book or article is talking about because it is either needlessly obscure or overly technical language, in English you use the expression that the text is like Greek to you (at least it is used in British – English). in Israel I learned that the Hebrew version of a similar language is Chinese.

The most amusing thing is that when we Finns don’t understand anything, we use the expression “That was totally Hebrew to me”. I even found the two meanings of the Finnish word Heprea in Wiktionary. There the other meaning is given by the word gibberish.

Our relationship with Hebrew caused some amusement in Israel also. I think that mainly these expressions refer to languages which use exceptional letters. If Finnish is used in this sense in some language, I would really like to know :)

The other funny thing happened when we were landing in Tel Aviv. There were many young people in the plane and when we were on the ground they started singing Shalom Aleichem, which literally means "Peace be upon you".

The song and the verse were familiar to us from the radio and it is a good example of misheard lyrics. Here is the song sung by a little girl and it includes only the necessary part. I found lots of songs in YouTube, but this was the best to demonstrate my point.




What we Finns hear is a Finnish sentence: “Ne vei mun sanomalehden.” The translation to the sentence is “They took my newspaper away” or “They stole my newspaper”. The Finnish version is not exactly written Finnish but it is totally exact when we use spoken Finnish.

I just wonder if this describes the difference between Israeli’s and Finns. They bring the peace to us and we are complaining that they took our newspaper!

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