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Goodbye, Ca[Q]esare[iyy]a

July 5, 2011

This article describing the proposed spelling reform to affect how place names are to be transliterated on road signs was hilarious.

First of all, it’s great that the government cares about the negative impression tourists may have when popular destinations like Caesaeria — or should I say Ca[Q]esare[iyy]a — are spelled half a dozen ways depending on which sign you’re reading at the time. It can be confusing at worst, and make visitors giggle at best. It would certainly make the editor in me more relaxed while traveling if the name of my city wasn’t spelled three different ways in English on road signs between my office and my house. Which it is.

But at the root of this issue, above and beyond annoyance or confused tourists, is the fact that so many Israelis simply could care less. And why should they? Even in Hebrew, the rules for spelling are unclear and seemingly fluid at times. If there are hard and fast rules, no one seems to know them or care about learning them. As an editor, again, I’m confronted day after day with people saying “Who cares?” when I point out glaring inconsistencies between documents. I’ve never faced this attitude anywhere else in the world in a professional environment.

I care, but it’s my job to care. What about everyone else?

And for some icing on this linguistic cake, check out the spelling error at the end of the article about spelling:

Spelling reforms in Israel likely hopeless

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 10:03 am

    It would be too bad if they unify the spellings, I always thought it was rather funny. The only thing I think would be confusing to a tourist is spelling Train Station – Tachanat Rachevet or something like that 🙂

    • July 6, 2011 9:52 pm

      That’s a good point. I always notice this one sign pointing toward the beach that says “Hof” in English and wonder who thought that would be useful. Perhaps the sign maker had a sense of humor and liked Baywatch though.

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