The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2800   Message #12589
Posted By: Jerry Friedman
19-Sep-97 - 07:13 PM
Thread Name: Hebrew/ Yiddish/ Ladino songs
Subject: RE: Hebrew/ Yiddish/ Ladino songs
Okay. Vowels as in Spanish:

a as father
e as in get (which means er as in very), or sometimes more like the e in beta (but not a diphthong)
i as in marine
o as in cold
u as in chute

That means ay as in "aye, sir"
ey as in they
oy as in boy

Otherwise consecutive vowels (like the a and o in l-hitraot, or the a and i in naim) are pronounced separately.

' for the schwa (a German word of Hebrew origin, if I'm not mistaken): the sound of a in about, i in rabbit, etc. In modern Hebrew it often sounds a lot like the e.

ch as in loch (the throat-clearing noise)

This is good enough to give an idea of the pronunciation, but of course scholars do better.

Shalom chaverim, shalom chaverim, shalom, shalom.
L'hitraot, l'hitraot, shalom, shalom.

("Good-bye friends, good-bye, see you later, good-bye." Not very inspiring words. The Oxford English Dictionary has shattered one of my illusions by claiming that the Australian "cobber" is NOT from the Hebrew "chaver", meaning friend, comrade.)

Hiney ma tov uma naim
Shevet achim gam yachad.

(I don't quite get the "gam", but this is something like "Here is how good and pleasant [it is] to sit as brothers in unity." A little more inspiring, but just wait.)

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev;
Lo yilmadu od milchama.

("Nation will not lift up sword to nation; they will not learn war any more.") As in "Hiney Ma Tov", you sing the same words to two tunes alternately (and maybe endlessly).