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.

Here’s why.

  1. They paint a false picture. Elijah and his Hebrew friends did not insert foreign words in their conversation.
  2. Foreign words feel like a heavy-handed hint. “This story is about the Old Testament. Get it?”
  3. They stop the flow of the paragraph.

A related topic: Did Elijah use informal words like dad, okay, or um?

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