- and Source of Inspiration for the Revival of Small Peoples (Irish, Maltese, Basque, Welsh and Catalan)
by Norman Berdichevsky (October 2009)
No literate person can expect to read a daily newspaper or listen to a discussion of the arts and sciences, law, psychology, physics, mathematics, military affairs or any other professional field without encountering a wealth of phrases and expressions of foreign origin which have become a part of the English language. Expressions such as status quo, casus belli, laissez-faire, déjà vu, savoir-faire, haute cuisine, allegro, pogrom, de facto, de jure, sine qua non, prima facie, modus vivendi, leitmotif, blitzkrieg, lebensraum, etc. (yes, even et cetera itself) and thousands more, are part of our everyday language. For those to whom "classical languages" are synonymous with "dead" ones, modern languages at least offer a practical tool to aid study in prestigious professional fields - French, so closely associated with high fashion, cuisine and art. Italian with music and the opera, German with philosophy, medicine and psychology. more>>>
I can only say I pray I live long enough to become fluent in Hebrew. Why was I always too busy to seek out a course, or even become self taught? This essay serves only to whet my appetite for more and I am exceedingly thankful that its author, who so obviously loves this lovely language is also my guide down the path if its learning!
Interesting that comment in the last paragraph regarding jews around the world becoming Hebrew speaking Israelis... I just read an article speaking of a move to offer Israeli citizenship to all Jews, without the requirement that they relocate to Israel. If that becomes reality, I will be first in line, hopefully speaking more Hebrew every day!
I have a story to tell. Last year, a very young man came to our church. He was putting up a brave but a losing fight against brain cancer: he was 17. He was instructed and baptised; toward the end of the year, he was Confirmed, by our bishop, with all full ceremony. He celebrated Christmas with us, but did not live to celebrate his first Easter as a professing Christian; for he died.
Although he had lived so few years, the church was absolutely packed for his tear-drenched funeral. During that funeral, his godmother described his journey out of this life. Toward the very end, she told us, he roused from his coma and said, clearly and distinctly, the very last word he would ever speak on this earth and in this life; and then, having said it, he sank back into sleep, and presently died. So: what was it that he said? One word. Not an English, an Anglo-Saxon-derived, word, but a Hebrew word. Alleluia.