Abba?

George Orwell: “Never use a foreign phrase.”1Animal Farm & 1984

Strunk and White: “Avoid fancy words.”2The Elements of Style

Several English novels insert Hebrew transliterations — shalom, abba, imma, boker tov.

I don’t, and here’s why.

  1. Foreign words feels like a heavy-handed hint. “This story is about the Old Testament. Get it?”
  2. They stop the flow for a nanosecond, when I want readers to rush ahead.
  3. They paint a false picture. Elijah and his Hebrew friends did not insert foreign words in their conversation.

For another “why not” see Dad, okay, um

avatar
550
  Subscribe  
Notify of