A Conversation for How The Beatles Did Not Get Their Name

A Beatle by Any Other Name

Post 1

Eric (not THE Eric) Haffaby { (14+7-9+9)*2 = 42 }

In Israel, local broadcasters had a nasty habit of translating the names of bands into Hebrew. The problem is that they often miss the meaning and the nuances of the original language.

So, to this day The Beatles are reffered to in Hebrew as "The BeEtles" (Ha'chipushiot).

Another example is ELO - Electric Light Orchestra. They are called "Electric Light (as in 'switch on the light') Orchestra". If I'm not mistaken, the band means Light Orchestra rather than heavy.

After many such blunders over the decades they now tend to stick to the original name. Which does cause some laughs when they try to get their tongues around names like "Sixpence None The Richer".


Post 2


That's brought to the surface a half formed thought.
In dealing with the Hebrew language, do you have keyboards with the appropriate symbols? I seem to remember reading somewhen that scholars of the ancient language said that there was a deficiency of vowels which made translation .... interesting. How many letters are there in the alphabet and do you have software that runs stuff from right to left?
They may seem silly questions to you (questions are always easy when you know the answers) but it isn't usually the case that one has a question and an authoritative source available simultaneously.
Oh, yes. Over the years I have had to guess at the meanings of (iffy spellings) chutzpah, schlemiel, mashuginer and others in films etc. Perhaps you may wish, if you have time, to share your wisdom at:
or perhaps not.


Post 3

Eric (not THE Eric) Haffaby { (14+7-9+9)*2 = 42 }

Hi Plaguesville,

Finally, something I'm authoritative about. Glad to be able to solve the mystery.

For a start, there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet (not counting some which are written differently when at the end of a word). NONE are vowels. To solve the problem of misreading words with the same letters but different meanings, symbols representing vowels are written around the letters (usually below). They provide the basic "A", "E", "I", "O" and "U" and also variations (such as "EY").

Normally nobody bothers with them. When you're fluent you can read perfectly well without them. And you can imagine what a pain it is to write with them. In fact there has been a suggestion that they don't even bother teaching the vowels at school.

As for the computer world. It's completely bi-lingual here. On the keyboard I'm sitting at (and just about every other one in Israel, from mainframe to PC), each key has two letters on it.

Alt+shift switches from English to Hebrew and changes direction, as so:
עכשיו אני כותב באותיות עבריות, מימין לשמאל
Translates to "I am now writting Hebrew letters, from right to left".

If you see anything, it's probably a line of garbage. Your software has to recognise Hebrew fonts to be able to read it.

Come to think of it, the vowels aren't supported. If you have to have them your computer has to be set up specialy.

I hope that answers your most pressing queries. Now at last you can have a good nights sleep. Be happy to answer any more you may have.

The link looks interesting too. I'll definitely give it a go, and get back to you with any questions I may have.

Eric (not THE) Haffaby


Post 4


Great place h2g2: the right people are all around.
My three questions all answered by return and a fourth answer free of charge. I shall now be able to concentrate on thinking up more questions. smiley - bigeyes
Thanks very much. If I win any bets with the information, I'll send your share.

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