One of the sick and annoying effects of having to speak only Hebrew 90% of the day is doing without the nuances built into English, among other ‘real tongues’.
Like, for today’s lesson: ‘being nervous, upset, flustered’ as opposed to ‘feeling enraged, yea unto ‘homicidal’
Us Mosaics, it seems, have one(1) word for both these kinds of snow: ‘Atz-ba-ni’. An adjective built from the root ‘Etzev’ meaning simply ‘nerve’ as in ‘the nervous system‘. To ‘become nervous’ is ‘le’heet-atz-ben’. An emotional state that, once having been stated aloud in the only vocab we have, promptly conflates fear… and loathing, so to speak.
I’m writing this with a loud crop-duster helicopter 100 feet over my head this early AM. In English, (still ‘legal’ for my inner discourse), I said to myself: “Dat guy makes me nervous!” Fear, mainly, with a sizable worry for the pilot’s longevity mixed with worry that his detached rotor will destroy my precious lettuce when he crashes.
Yet, in pleasantries with my neighbor at the time, the implications of a simple ‘Hoo me’atz-ben oti’ (‘He maketh me nervous‘) conveyed an inseparable implication of my supposed dream to ‘shoot the bastard out of the sky!’
Why should this be so?
Well, it shouldn’t, and, beset this morning by a host of other, lower-altitude insults to decency by the local natives, I even explored a cheap (and false) alt-right explanation for the linguistic confusion:
It’s the Jews, dammit. Something bothers ’em, it’s automatic; go to ‘smite!’ Feel anxious and un-prepared at, say, a job interview? Well then, plan revenge. The gall of the guy demanding to know how many years I got on C++! I shall find his car in the lot and wreak vehicular revenge.
But, on second thought, (Yeah, as in: ‘on the other hand… I have…um.. different fingers’) I recall Jesus, of my early youth, and His Understanding: “Forgive them, for they haven’t even the words to know what they do-eth!”
Meanwhile the chopper has gone onto greener pastures to do his ‘Uncontrolled Inverted Impact into Terrain’.
And I’m left pondering how in the hell to say: ‘ I’m feeling anxious, conflicted, worried, yet not ipso facto malevolent.” in Hebrew, a language for which the Heb>Eng part of the dictionary generally inhabits less than a quarter of the heavy tome.
Other ‘gaps’, so no one should think this is an isolated incident:
“I like you” vs “I love you.” Makes it impossible to tell a girl at the Quickee-Mart that you appreciate her help, without risking incarceration.
‘Paint’ (the substance in a can) vs ‘Color/ shade’ Same word
‘Etz’, ‘Wood’ (the building material) vs ‘a tree’ Same dumb word; I built my house here with lumber… and they insist on calling it a ‘tree-house!’
‘Maf-te-ach’ both a wrench… and the key to your house.
Ok, all languages have their dual-meanings. So why do I feel so nervous’/’irritated’? by a simple helicopter? A: I can’t say… and that’s the reason.