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sixtieschick BS: Hebonics (26) BS: Hebonics 19 Jun 05


Hebonics

The New York City Board of Education has officially declared Jewish English -- now dubbed "Hebonics" -- as a second language. According to Howard Schollman, linguistics professor at Brooklyn College and renowned Hebonics scholar, the sentence structure of Hebonics derives from middle and eastern European language patterns, as well as Yiddish.

Prof. Schollman explains, "In Hebonics, the response to any question is usually another question -- plus a complaint that is implied or stated.

Thus 'How are you?' may be answered, 'So how should I
be, with my aches and pains?'"

Schollman says that Hebonics is a superb linguistic vehicle for expressing sarcasm or skepticism. An example is the repetition of a word with "sh" or "shm" at the beginning: "Mountains, shmountains. Get away with this hiking. You want a nosebleed?"

Another Hebonics pattern is moving the subject of a sentence to the end, with its pronoun at the beginning: "It's beautiful, that dress."

Schollman says one also sees the Hebonics verb moved to the end of the sentence. Thus the response to a remark such as
"He's slow as a turtle," could be:
"Turtle, shmurtle! Like a fly in Vaseline he walks."

Schollman provided the following examples from his recently released best-selling textbook, "Switched-On Hebonics:"

Question: "What time is it?"
English answer: "Sorry, I don't know."
Hebonic answer: "What am I, a clock?"

Remark: "I hope things turn out okay."
English response: "Thanks."
Hebonic response: "I should be so lucky!"

Remark: "Hurry up. Dinner's ready."
English response: "Be right there."
Hebonic response: "Alright already, I'm coming. What's with the 'hurry' business? Is there a fire?"

Remark: "I like the tie you gave me; I wear it all the time."
English response: "Glad you like it."
Hebonic response: "So what's the matter; you don't like the other ties I gave you?"

Remark: "Sarah and I are engaged."
English response: "Congratulations!"
Hebonic response: "She could stand to gain a few pounds."

Question: "Would you like to go riding with us?"
English answer: "Just say when."
Hebonic answer: "Riding, shmiding! Do I look like a cowboy?"

To the guest of honor at a birthday party:
English remark: "Happy Birthday."
Hebonic remark: "A year smarter you should become."

Remark: "A beautiful day."
English response: "Sure is."
Hebonic response: "So the sun is out; what else is new?"


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