מחוץ לנושא [OT]

I know there are a number of Israelis who visit here regularly, so perhaps somebody can provide some answers.

Saw The Band’s Visit yesterday (which takes place in Israel). Granted, my Hebrew education ended fifty years ago (almost to the day), so I know this will seem presumptuous, but a sign referring to cellphones as פלאפונים just looked very wrong to me (and when I got home, I couldn’t find any such translation).

And continuing my pickiness, one of the songs referenced “like a deer in the headlights.” Is this really a phrase in Israel? Do they have deer in Israel? Honestly that question had never occurred to me before yesterday — but even if they do, “deer in the headlights” just seemed awfully American.

(spoiler: the score was written by an American)

7 Comments

  1. I know very little Hebrew, but it looks similar to Kleenex, a brand name that’s become (arguably) genericized. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelephone:

    Pelephone (Hebrew: פלאפון‎, [ˈpelefon], lit. “wonder phone”) is a mobile network operator in Israel, and also the first company to offer mobile telephony services in Israel. Due to this, the brand-name “Pelephone” became the genericized trademark for mobile phones in Israel, regardless of service provider.

  2. Amateur Bible scholar here. Psalm 42: “As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” So King David knew about deer. Headlights, no.

    Although when King David saw Bathsheba bathing he probably looked like a deer staring at the headlights.

  3. BTW, I’ve been trying to learn Chinese, and watching Chinese videos and shows, I’m struck by how many English expressions and cultural references have made it into Chinese culture. I imagine it’s the same in Israel.

    Also, BTW, for those who don’t know Hebrew – the ending ים- in Bill’s post, but not in my comment, is just the pluralization form.

  4. If WW is right @1, it’s much like in Germany. Here, the most common term for a cell phone is Handy, which was an early brand, long since vanished.

    Israel is home to both Persian fallow deer and roe deer. As for the phrase, it could be a translation of the concept behind some other phrase. Or given that lots of Israelis either have American roots or have spent plenty of time in the States, the phrase could have been transplanted.

  5. Ah. I knew Handy meant cellphone in German, but I didn’t know why.

    Answers to questions I hadn’t even asked is always a good bonus.

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