Translation:The meal is on us!
29 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
it seems odd that an English colloquialism of "on us" would translate directly into Hebrew using the preposition for on. Is that maybe because this phrase is just lifted straight from English, rather than folks in Israel saying something more explicit like "the meal is our treat" or "we'll pay for the meal" or "we're buying" or "we're paying" or "the bill is ours", etc. ad infinitum
There is something similar in Greek as well, we say «Το πήρε πάνω του», "He took it on him". This means that he takes responsibility for getting something done, or for having done something. It might also mean something different and a bit negative, that he is thinking (too) high of himself, the "it" in this case usually being a good result or a compliment.
Nope, even Classical Arabic uses it. English didn't even exist yet when Islamic texts were taken down. I'd say it's the other way around: it's "odd" that this is an expression in English in the first place. Us Semites, we use the preposition "on" to indicate responsibility very frequently. Because we generally tend to use preposition where English would use verbs on multiple occasions (compare "have" and "yesh"). This makes more sense as an idiomatic usage in Semitic languages than it does in English.
A lot of native speakers of English are unaware of how much influence the scriptures have had on the formation of their mother tongue over the last 5 or 6 centuries.
A lot of words and idioms (e.g. "right-hand man", "die the death", "skin of my teeth" etc) are lifted straight out of English translations of the Hebrew scriptures, which were made widely accessible from about 500 years ago. It's no surprise that "taking it upon oneself" has passed into English as a way of describing accepting responsibility for something.
Judges 19:20 וַיֹּ֨אמֶר הָאִ֤ישׁ הַזָּקֵן֙ שָׁל֣וֹם לָ֔ךְ רַ֥ק כָּל־מַחְסוֹרְךָ֖ עָלָ֑י רַ֥ק בָּרְח֖וֹב אַל־תָּלַֽן׃
אני צריך כוס קפה! Despite being quite familiar with the Hebrew word ארוחה, I translated it "The lion is on us!" האריה עלינו! Well, at least the meaning of this Hebrew sentence turned out more positive than the one with that ילד אומלל in the previous lessons: האריה אוכל את הילד! זה חבל מאוד!
Ha arukha aleinu!
To me, the Hebrew r is made so far in the back of the throat that it sounds like awukhah. If you’re used to the American r which is made with rounded lips or the Spanish r which is made at the front of the mouth, it takes practice to hear the Hebrew r. He pronounces the r the way Ashkenazi Israelis usually pronounce it.
It suddenly hit me that the word "עלינו" is the same as "Aleinu", the title of one of the core prayer segments in Jewish services, which starts out as "עלינו לשבח לאדון הכל". It's interesting to see how differently the word is translated in various prayer books, like, "Let us...", "It is up to us..." "It is our duty to...", "We rise to our duty to..." (...praise the Sovereign of all, etc.) It's a eye-opening experience to see how a word that is so familiar to me but didn't think much about its meaning is suddenly making a connection with modern Hebrew!
Nice! Just to complete the picture, in modern Hebrew עלינו לשבח (or any sentence starting with עלינו and an infinitive verb) preserved exactly one of these meanings: "It is our duty to...". It's nice that this is quite a formal, somewhat old-fashioned construction, while הארוחה עלינו is very modern and informal, verging on slang - but they mean almost the same!
Regarding gender of loan words: if it ends with /a/ sound it would be feminine, like "pagoda" and "antenna". Otherwise masculine, including those ending with /e/ which would be spelt with ה in the end, like "mole" (sauce) and "macramé". I can't guarantee it's exception-free. But הלינגוט that you gave me is definitely נחמד.