Like every language, Hebrew has many expressions that are common and used in different contexts in our life. Today we shall learn about the word “language” in Hebrew and a few expressions with this word.
If you want to say “language” in Hebrew you would use two different words; the first would be “Safah”-שָׂפָה- that has the letters Sin, Feh and Heh. The second is the word “Lashon”-לָשׁוֹן- with the letters Lamed, Shin, Vav and Nun Sofit. . What is really amazing to see is that these two words signify two organs that we use to speak. Safah also means “lip” in Hebrew and “lashon” means tongue.
Let’s learn a few expressions that contain these words.
When we enjoy the food that we eat, we say that we lick our fingers or lips and in Hebrew it’s pronounced “Liqeq ‘et ha-sefatayim“-לִקֵּק אֶת הַשָּׂפָתַיִם. When we want to negate and say the opposite-”not to lick one’s finger” – this is a description of a situation when we need to make a lot of effort in order to gain something.
Sometimes we meet people in our life that say words that has only one purpose – to find favor in our eyes, without any real intention. Some would say that those people are polite or speak in a politically correct way, but actually they just do it because they have to, not because they want to do it. For this situation, there’s a beautiful expression in Hebrew that is called “Mas Sefatayim”- מַס שָׂפָתַיִם – literally a tax on your lips. The idea is that when you have to be polite or to find favor, you can say exactly what you think to the person that you’re speaking with and for that reason you metaphorically pay tax for it.
While we’re on the subject of conversations being politically correct, I am reminded of another expression which has a positive meaning with the word “language” in Hebrew – Matsa’ Safah Meshutefet-מָצַא שָׂפָה מְשֻׁתֶּפֶת. In this case the language is common and there’s a good communication between you and the one that you speak with. The literal meaning of these fabulous words is that you found a common language.
In our next post, we will continue with more expressions that contain the word “language” in Hebrew. You are more than welcome to leave a comment and share this post with your friends and family. If you are interested in learning Modern Hebrew, please visit: www.eteacherhebrew.com
Have a blessed week,