Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hebrew Military Slang

Given Israel's compulsory military service, it makes sense that military jargon would work its way into the Hebrew language in non-military contexts:
It is striking to pick up the increasing nuances of the influence of the military on modern Hebrew spoken in Israel. This is due for obvious reasons since a majority of the population serves in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the army continues to wield influence on Israeli society. Military involvement is legitimate and essential due to the security situation. The army is known as the ‘army of the people’ and an interest exists to keep the population enthusiastic and loyal to the pillars of the country. The boundaries of the army and civilians can get meshed and blurred, and as a result the words are borrowed from one sector to the mainstream of society.
There is a transfer of slang from the Israel army, usually originated by the younger generation, over to civilian colloquial expressions. The examples below range from music, media, TV shows, movies, advertising, and obviously colloquial discussions...
There is a need in army dialect to shorten lengthy descriptions into contractions and acronyms. Therefore, the army has introduced a plethora of contractions to the language and most of the titles and levels of hierarchy are presented in acronyms.
For example, Samal, Semel Michutz La minyan (non.commission officer) is recognized as a word and most have forgotten that it actually is an acronym. In fact, when you venture into the corridors of government ministries, one shall find a parade of acronyms. For example in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs one finds Kashtum which is an acronym for Kshrei Tarbut and Mada’a  Cultural and Science Affairs Department. The Prime Minster is shortened to רה'מ – pronounced ‘roham’ which is short for ‘rosh hamemshala’, literally head of government. As one reads the daily newspapers, the pages are decorated thickly with acronyms and the modern Hebrew reader is expected to be familiar with these references.
Read the article for specific examples.



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