Hablar Ibreo. Por Jorge Rozemblum

si en hebreo, hebreo se dice ivrit, entonces ¿por qué en otros idiomas (como el nuestro, pero también en inglés, francés o alemán) se cambia la i por una e precedida de una hache?
si en hebreo, hebreo se dice ivrit, entonces ¿por qué en otros idiomas (como el nuestro, pero también en inglés, francés o alemán) se cambia la i por una e precedida de una hache?

Muy a menudo me hago preguntas inútiles del tipo: si en hebreo, hebreo se dice ivrit, entonces ¿por qué en otros idiomas (como el nuestro, pero también en inglés, francés o alemán) se cambia la i por una e precedida de una hache?

En su favor, diré que, por ejemplo, el italiano y el ruso no introducen la hache, aunque sí transforman la inicial en e. No se trata de una regla general de transliteración fonética de lenguas semíticas: árabe tiene la misma consonante gutural inicial (áyin, en hebreo) para definir su idioma, pero nadie los escribe como “hárabes” o similar.

Si repasamos los nombres de los países encontraremos algunas incongruencias semejantes, por ejemplo, en el apelativo del nuestro.

¿No le ha pasado nunca mientras rellenaba un formulario online en inglés que buscó intuitivamente el nombre de España en la E y descubrió que para el resto del mundo estamos en la S, al lado de Sri Lanka, Sudán y Surinam, y después de todos los “South”?

En realidad, los romanos sí que pusieron una hache delante a Hispania, incurriendo en una transformación similar de otra lengua semítica, el fenicio, que bautizó esta tierra “I shfania”, isla de conejos. Con el tiempo, la hache enmudeció también gráficamente y la inicial se transformó en e para desaparecer en algunas lenguas (Spain, Spanien, etc.).

El hebreo es la lengua bíblica de los judíos, pero los asentados en el este de Europa desarrollaron desde la Edad Media una variante propia del alemán primitivo, a la que llamaron ídish, que es como se dice el adjetivo “judío” en la lengua de esos judíos.

En inglés el nombre de ese idioma se escribe yiddish, siendo muy escrupulosos en la transliteración, con una d intermedia duplicada (por ser una consonante reforzada en esa palabra en hebreo) y con el conjunto yi cuando la letra hebrea inicial es una i consonante seguida de una i vocal, como pasa dos veces en Yirushalayim (Jerusalén, en hebreo). Y hablando del inglés, si bien en su propio idioma se escribe comenzando por e (english), se pronuncia como i (ínglish), de forma cercana a la versión en español. Lo que suena muy distinto es el idioma alemán en nuestro idioma y en su versión original (doiche, en fonética; deutsch, escrito precisamente en ese idioma).

El colmo de los malentendidos es Islandia, cuyo nombre en español parece sugerir que significa “país insular”, pero que en inglés se escribe Iceland (y suena aisland): país de hielo. Lo paradójico es que en el idioma islandés, el país del hielo se escribe Island y pronuncia Islant. O sea que, por una vez y sin que sirva de precedente, en español suena más correcto, aunque parece significar otra cosa.
Conclusión: no siempre (o casi nunca) somos lo que decimos ser, sino lo que los demás nos llaman.

Shabat shalom

Jorge Rozemblum
Director de Radio Sefarad


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