Saturday, October 31, 2009

Milot HaYom — Marine Biology Edition

Today at lunch, we somehow digressed into a conversation about how to say certain sea animals in Hebrew. With one native Israeli, two olim at the table with perfect Hebrew and two others who can hold their weight, as well, we still had a good amount of trouble coming up with the animals below (me, Goldberg, Lev Tov, Yael Shoham and David Landau, if you're keeping track at home — and I know that many of you are).

Let's just say, these are not מילים יום–יומיים, daily words.

So a collection of words for your אוצר מילים (word bank).

פרת ים (parat yam, lit. sea cow): Manatee, aka. sea cow in English, as well.
When I was 13, my Aunt Reenee took my cousin Scott and me to Florida to swim with the Manatees. She is the biggest Manatee fan I know.

כלב ים (kelev yam, lit. sea dog): sea lion.

סוס ים/סוסיה (soos yam/soosiya, lit. sea horse): walrus

לוטרה (lutrah; there was also an opinion at the table that said this was a חתול ים, sea cat): otter.

You should also know that the otters at the Waco Zoo (yes, that Waco) were donated in memory of my grandparents because my grandma loved how otters were always happy, no matter when you saw them. At one point there was a billboard along the highway with a picture of a pair of otters, under which said, "Welcome Dorris and Jack." Got a number of laughs in our family.

בופלו (buffalo; none of us could figure out the Hebrew word for this. Turns out there isn't one): buffalo.

Yael asked if there were any buffalo in Israel. She had never seen one. This topic came up because Josh was talking about the various meats he most enjoys eating.

Water buffalo, coincidentally, play a big part in the history of my university. For more information on Penn's "water buffalo affair," which ended with the University president resigning, check out the DP (which includes an old-skool article by Yona Silverman).

An additional fun fact: the word "Buffalo" can be used five times in a row, just with that word, and form a coherent sentence.

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Translation: Buffalo (plural noun for animal), who live in the city of Buffalo, buffalo (verb to intimidate) other buffalo from the city of Buffalo.

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