Thursday, November 17, 2005

Chicken What?

One of the great things about going to ulpan is that you get to talk to other people that are having similar experiences. Yesterday in ulpan we were sharing some funny Hebrew horror stories. Listen to this one!

So this girl is at the supermarket and needs to buy chicken. She goes to the meat counter and when it's her turn she asks for "hazia ohf" (חזיה עוף). The guy at the counter just looks a her like she's crazy and says in Hebrew, "What? What do you want?" She repeats herself but this time in a little louder voice. The guy starts chuckling. Another woman in line turns to her and asks if she speaks English - which she does. The woman tells her, "Um, you just asked for chicken bras, not chicken breast." Chicken breast is "haze ohf" (חזה עוף).


At 11/17/2005 8:30 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

My friend Miriam's then-boyfriend (Israeli) asked her what she was making for dinner. Her reply: "Katzinim." He roared: she had said "Army Officers" instead of "meatballs" ("katzizot").

At 11/17/2005 11:02 AM, Blogger ontheface said...

I know the comments section for this post is going to fill up with stories about Hebrew gaffs - 'cause they're just so funny.

So here's mine, from waaaay back in the 1980s - when I was a student at the Hebrew University Ulpan:

I went into a plant nursery and asked the owner if he had any "tzitzim yerukim ktanim." Which means small green TITS (not plants, which is "atzitzim").

At 11/17/2005 1:42 PM, Anonymous Shirat_HaSirena said...

I have two stories :) The first is when my boyfriend was teaching me near and far in Hebrew. "Karov" and "Rachok." So he went on to say that if you want to say something is happening "soon" it is "b'karov." Very useful. So at the end of the conversation, I was trying to be all smart and I said, "So we'll talk b'karich." And he died laughing because I said "So we'll talk in a sandwich" instead of what I had intended to say. :)

The other story is of a friend of mine who kept confusing himself on how to properly say "L'hit'raot" ("See you later") He kept getting it confused and saying "L'hitriot" which is "To the pasta." It's kind of cute, actually.

Israelis must get a kick out of all the new immigrants making funny mistakes! I know I do!

At 11/17/2005 3:16 PM, Anonymous Katherine said...

oh yes i do identify!

was on an el al flight and was a touch hungry - not too much, just a bit. asked the stewardess if: yesh mishu katan le'echol? instead of mashu katan le'echol. she looked a bit puzzled, then she asked me in english, ah, you want to eat something? :)

At 11/17/2005 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was raised speaking English and Spanish. When I was living in Jerusalem, I would often substitute Spanish for Hebrew if I didn't know the word (subconsciously). I had a cold and was walking around grabbing my throat saying, "Yesh li toas", as toas means cough in Spanish, but TOAST in Hebrew. Ooops.

At 11/17/2005 8:35 PM, Anonymous noorster said...

I don't remember making any funny mistakes in Hebrew - probably because I never spoke good enough Hebrew to realise I was making one. In English, however... I was 15 and on a school trip to England when I told my host family that I didn't like 'hot species'. I meant 'hot spices' of course. I apologise for commenting off-topic but I had to get that off my chest.

At 11/18/2005 5:44 AM, Blogger John said...

Savtadotty: I can understand Miriam's confusion. I know of no better way to describe most army officers than meatballs.

Lisa: This is exactly why I don't want to learn any "bad" words in Hebrew - I never know when they are going to pop out.

Shirat: I still have to stop and think about "rachok" and "yarok" (green).

Katherine: mishu/mashu - It's all good

Noorster: I'm not down with hot species much either.

At 11/18/2005 9:52 AM, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

My friend said she had a bra (choziah) in her purse, when she really meant "lease" (chozeh)... these stories are endless, really...

At 11/19/2005 9:28 AM, Blogger Sweettooth120 said...

Nothing like trying to convert english slang into ivrit. This guy I knew went up to his Israeli friends and proudly spoke to them in hebrew, by greeting with "What's Up?" They all looked puzzled and started to look upwards.

I remember I would always get confused "I am sorry" with "I am excellent" (works great when you just knocked someone down while trying to grab the last seat on the bus) or when I would ask for a cup of ice and say shit instead.

p.s. Love your blog. It helps bring Jerusalem closer to my home. I also attended Hebrew U in the mid 80's and Rehavia was my favorite neighborhood to just walk around and enjoy.

At 11/19/2005 6:59 PM, Blogger Yael K said...

My funniest mistake was apologizing for being ugly (michoar) rather than being late (meuchar) :)

At 11/27/2005 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A girl I knew (also back in the 80's) was travelling on an Eged bus. Someone in the rear of the bus was smoking and she was getting annoyed. She stood up after a while and yelled, "Slicha, Asur Linshom Po!" instead of Asur Laashen Po, (It's forbidden to breathe here, instead of forbidden to smoke here!)

I think we all have our share of bloopers and blunders. The fun part is remembering them!

An english husband was relaxing one day in our guest room. My then 3 year old comes in and says "Abbah, what are you guessing???" Hubby tried for a while to figure out what he meant till my little guy finally said, "Abbah, this is the GUESSING room, what are you guessing?" :) Needless to say, the discussion of Guest vs. Guess followed!


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