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Olympics Photo: AP
Olympics Photo: AP

Hebrew sports terms to get makeover

From 'spinning' to 'bungee jumping' – The Academy of the Hebrew Language is looking to give sports terms new Hebrew names

Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad
Published: 07.25.12, 07:27 / Israel Culture

The 2012 London Games, which are slated to open at the end of the week in London, have sparked the imagination of The Academy of the Hebrew Language, which is constantly looking for new Hebrew words, especially in the field of sports.


The members of the Academy have not been pleased by the wide use of foreign terms across sports fields in Israel, as well as in everyday speech, and they have decided ahead of the Olympics to ask the public to propose alternatives in Hebrew.

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Some of the terms that are looking for blue-and-white names include "double" (winning two championships in the same season), "MVP" (most valuable player), "underdog"," spinning", "squash"," bungee jumping"," tournament", "kick boxing", "Final Four" and more.


Hundreds of words from the field of sports have been given Hebrew equivalents since the beginning of the 20th century. Zvi Nishri, the first physical education teacher at the Gymnasia Herzliya High School headed the project for 60 years, finding Hebrew names to words such as "offside"(nivdal),"champion"(aluf)," penalty kick"(beitat onshin) and "foul"(avira).


In the field of swimming, Nishri named the various swimming strokes including "butterfly stroke" (parpar), "chest stroke" (chaze), "back stroke" (gav), and "freestyle" (chatira). In gymnastics, he proposed Hebrew words for "headstand" (amidat rosh), "handstand" (amidat yadayim), "Indian-style" (yeshiva mizrahit),"push-ups"(shkivot smicha) and "supine position" (Shkivat parkedan).


Since Nishri's death in 1973, his life's work has been neglected, and now The Academy of the Hebrew Language has decided to appoint a committee that would renew his work and set Hebrew terms for relatively new fields of sports, including extreme sports and fitness training.


Ahead of the most prominent sporting event in the world, the Academy is calling on the public to submit foreign words in the field of sports that have yet to be given Hebrew names, and also to suggest their own alternatives.


Suggestions can be sent to ‭sportivri@gmail.com





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