A big part about adjusting to life in Israel is learning how to speak like an Israeli. I’m not referring to Hebrew vocabulary but rather to the style, intonation and attitude with which Israelis speak. Many words you already know or can pick up easily would be completely unintelligible to an Israeli unless spoken with the right Israeli-ness. This blog will cover a lot of pronunciation-related topics and here’s just a handful to get us started:

Burgers – boor-gerzzzz sound icon
Rum – roooooom sound icon
Asparagus – as-pa-ra-goos sound icon
Rothschild (as in the boulevard) – rot-cheeld sound icon
La Guardia (another street) – la-gar-deeya sound icon
Lincoln (as in the street) – leen-co-len sound icon
Salmon – saL-mon sound icon

…pronouncing the usually-silent L in words is a particularly funny thing about Israelis.

8 Responses to Pronunciation

  1. Kibalti Fak says:

    Don’t forget …
    BMW – beh em veh
    Can’t the B just be pronounced bee? And where does the “veh” come from?

  2. […] Pronunciation, take 2 At least once a week we’ll try to post a few new words in our “pronunciation” series. These are all completely serious/true and should be seen as a crash course in living in Israel. We’re not kidding! (Click here to visit part 1 of the series) […]

  3. Tal says:

    if I’m not mistaken, the pronunciation of BMW in Hebrew is derived from the German pronunciation, as it is after all a German car. so typical of AMERICANS to think that all things are meant to be called, or said or pronounced, just how they think it should.
    Hebrew, as a fairly new language in it’s present form, has adopted many words from many languages, and not all of them English. moreover, English itself is comprised of countless words and expressions from other languages.

  4. Liron Newman says:

    Israeli Hebrew transliteration and pronunciation is usually Latinized and not.. Uhh.. English-ized? So “U” is an u sound (like in move or כרוב), etc. I think this is originally because immigrants came from non-English-speaking countries, so this is how they said it. BTW, Nowadays, the Hebrew Academy recommends Latinized transliterations mainly because English has a very complicated link between spelling and pronunciation, if any (Like “read” – RID – and “read” – RED).

    Regarding “Lincoln” – This is just reading from the Hebrew transliteration of לינקולן. In Hebrew, the l sound isn’t syllabic, meaning it can be a syllable by itself (Like in “little”) without a vowel, so Hebrew speakers (Or in this case, readers and speakers) add a vowel, usually an E sound. This can also be seen in the city of Herzliya, called “her-tse-li-ya”, and the man himself being called “her-tsel” instead of “herts-l”, like he was called in his native tongue.

  5. Liron Newman says:

    (Forgot the disclaimer: I am a Linguistics student. 🙂 )

  6. chris says:

    Beh-em-veh would be the correct pronunciation.


    BMW pronounced as Bee-Em-Dobbeljooo is just plain stupid unless you’re one o’ them native English speakers. You know, those people that miss the relational database of multiple languages in the head and get really surprise when other nations have a different system.

  7. chris says:

    Surprised. Not surprise. I hate it when I misspell.

  8. Netanya Hoffman says:

    Don’t forget to pronounce the “t” in “ballet.”

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