NEW YORK — For some people, the English language has become a strange and sometimes confusing place.
For others, its more familiar than you might think.
That’s because the two languages are so closely intertwined that they’re sometimes confused for each other.
The dictionary that was designed for American English speakers is based on Hebrew.
In English, the name of the city that Jews live in is spelled YHWH.
But in Hebrew, the city is spelled יווה, meaning “the city.”
So if you ask the Hebrew people in Jerusalem, they’ll tell you that it’s spelled טון, which in Hebrew means “the place.”
That might be confusing, but you wouldn’t think so to someone who lives in the Middle East, where Hebrew is spoken by about 90% of the population and English is spoken almost exclusively by people who don’t speak Hebrew.
And that’s not just a matter of convenience.
“In many countries in the world, people of Middle Eastern descent are considered less than American-English speakers,” said Richard Gwynne, the head of the American Hebrew Association.
“The American Hebrew community has long believed that, for the same reason that they do not accept the legitimacy of Jewish descent in the United States, they do no recognize it in the rest of the world.”
When Gwynny and his wife, Jennifer, moved to the United Kingdom in 2001, they began researching Hebrew names and began to learn about its connection to the English word ʿJewishness,” which means “Jews of a certain ethnicity.
“”We didn’t know about the connections between English and Hebrew,” Jennifer said.
So they looked at the words they could find and discovered that the words ʻJewishness’ and ʲJewish’ were synonymous.
When they started looking at the pronunciation of Hebrew names in English, they found that it was nearly impossible to pronounce the Hebrew words correctly.
After years of research, they discovered that Hebrew has a slightly different pronunciation of some words than English, and that they also have to learn Hebrew words to be able to pronounce them correctly.
But they discovered an even more surprising connection: ʼThe word ים means “to make.”
It’s an important distinction because, according to linguists, it indicates that there is a certain hierarchy of authority in Hebrew that’s different from English.
If a person in Hebrew is supposed to be in charge of an organization, it’s called ʾyid ha-mashta’h, which means to take care of the people.
And if a person is in charge, it means to be the one who has authority over others.
You can learn more about the pronunciation differences between Hebrew and English in the dictionary article