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Entered on: 05/12/1998
The Encino School Board has declared Jewish English a second language.
Backers of the move say the school district is the first in the nation to
recognize Hebonics as the language of many of America's Jews. Here are
some descriptions of the characteristics of the language, and samples
of phrases in standard English and in Hebonics.
Samples of Pronunciation Characteristics
Hebonics hardens consonants at the end of words. Thus, "hand"
The letter "w" is always pronounced as if it were a "v." Thus,
"walking" becomes "valking.
"R" sounds are transformed to a guttural utterance that is virtually
impossible to spell in English, as in "it's ghraining alghready?"
Samples of Idiomatic Characteristics
Questions are always answered with questions:
Question: "How do you feel?" Answer: "How should I feel?"
The subject is often placed at the end of a sentence after a pronoun
has been used at the beginning: "She dances beautifully, that girl."
The sarcastic repetition of words by adding "shm" to the front is
used for emphasis: "mountains shmountains"; "turtle shmurtle"
Sample Use Comparisons:
Standard English Hebonics
"He walks slow" "Like a fly in the ointment he walks"
"Sorry, I do not know the time" "What do I look like, a clock to you?"
"I hope things turn out for "You should BE so lucky"
"Anything can happen" "It is never so bad, it can't get
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