Sunday, October 9, 2005

Reading Right-To-Left

One of the first things people say when I tell them that I am learning Hebrew is "Isn't it hard to learn to read right-to-left?" Honestly, it came rather easily to me. For the longest time I wasn't sure why, but I think I've hit upon the answer. The Hebrew letters don't look like they should be read left-to-right, just like the Roman letters don't look like they should read right-to-left. For the most part Roman capitol letters point to or are open to the right, pointing in the direction of the flow of the sentence. Hebrew letters general point or are open to the left, again in the direction the sentence flows. To my eye these letters just don't look like they are meant to go in the other direction.

To illustrate what I mean:

Roman Letters-------------------------------------------->
B-> G-> D-> K-> L-> P-> R->

<------------------------------------Hebrew Letters
ב-> ג-> ד-> כ-> ל-> פ-> ר->־


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.