Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Random thoughts at inappropriate times

At Rosh Hashanah services this evening, something -- I'm not sure what -- caused me to think about whether a native Hebrew speaker reads the prayers in Hebrew or English. Lucky for me, I was sitting next to such a person, and I got to ask. This progressed to me asking whether she translated from one to the other in her head, which language she thinks in, which language she dreams in, and whether she feels herself shifting between languages.

It was an interesting conversation, although maybe we should have been concentrating on the praying, all things considered.


6 comments:

Joe Grossberg said...

And what were her answers?

dara said...

Ask her yourself. She'll tell you.

Try2Tri said...

I guess you're at services, but Happy New Year =)

Beakerz said...

I guess it's like when I tried to learn spanish for all those years. The translation just seemed natural, once I got it. Just seemed to flow and the translation didn't take effort but at first, ya look at the words/symbols and have to do all kinds of 'mental' work to understand it fully.

honeykbee said...

Happy new year!

I wish I knew what any of the Hebrew meant. And I went to hebrew school for years!!

dara said...

try2tri: L'Shanah Tovah.

beakerz: I studied Hebrew and Spanish for years and years, and French and German too, and, to some extent, depending on which, I can understand them. But understanding and being fluent is not the same thing as being bilingual. There's no translation involved with the latter.

hkb: In Hebrew school, we learned mostly prayers - which is like learning English by reading Shakespeare. It doesn't work.