StreetWise Hebrew Podcast: Translating Israeli Brevity

Exactly what is going on in the Israeli brain when answering our offers or questions in what seems to be curt, abrupt, and even rude ways?

A Tel Aviv cafe  waitress.
A Tel Aviv cafe waitress. Daniel Tchetchik

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We have all had conversations with Israelis bereft of the common courtesies - thank you, please, or polite excuses. On this episode, host Guy Sharett explains exactly what is going on in the Israeli brain when answering our offers or questions in what seems to be curt, abrupt, and even rude ways.

Words and expressions discussed:

Sicha menumeset – Polite conversation – שיחה מנומסת

Efshar espresso? – May I have an espresso? – ?אפשר אספרסו

Nahutz li gever menumas – I need a polite man – נחוץ לי גבר מנומס

Rotse kafe? Lo. – Do you want coffee? No. – רוצה קפה? לא

Efshar laredet? Ken. – Can I get off? Yes. – אפשר לרדת? כן

Ba lecha mitz? Lo. – Do you feel like juice? No. – בא לך מיץ? לא

Nifgashim ba-spontani? Lo, asuk – Wanna meet now spontaneously? No, (I am) busy. – נפגשים בספונטני? לא, עסוק

Ramkolim menumasim – Polite speakers – רמקולים מנומסי