Philologos

Voulez-Vouz Lire Cet Article? In the song ‘Lady Marmalade,’ Patti LaBelle employed the second person singular in memorable fashion.

Phil, We Hardly Knew Ye — Or Should We Say Vous?

The French say tu to close friends and vous with others, which won’t work in Hebrew or English. In his final column for the Forward, Philologos explains these linguistic intimacies.

17th Century Man: Petrus Cunaeus proposed that the political organization of ancient Israel could be a model for contemporary European politics.

Could Spoken Language Be the Key to Unification?

What if Israel wasn’t a Jewish state but a Hebrew state? Having one common language might help forge one Israeli identity — but not without some problems.

Poultry Evidence: The famed San Diego Chicken demonstrates a literal demonstration of the phrase in question.

Chickenshit: The Sequel

Philologos admits that he is no stranger to profanity, and defends himself against critics, who argue that he misinterpreted what it meant when Benjamin Netanyahu was called ‘chickenshit.’

Artist’s Rendering of Rabbi Tarfon’s Mind: It was said in the Talmud that the rabbi was ‘a heap of walnuts.’

At Least Six Degrees of Wisdom and Nuttiness

Philologos points out that not every rabbi is a ‘rabbinical scholar’ and not every rabbi’s pupil is a smart man. Did a Forward article muddy the Talmudic waters?

What’d You Call Me? Chicken, when used an adjective, is a pejorative taunt among adolescents. It acquires a different implication among teenagers.

The Epic Battle Between Chicken and Chickenshit

Being called ‘chicken’ is one thing but ‘chickenshit’ is quite another. Philologos explains why Benjamin Netanyahu got so upset when the diplomatic stuff hit the fan.

Before the Identity Crisis? The interior of the house of a Christian family in Jerusalem, ca. 1850.

Culture Dispute Is All Aramaic to Us

How seriously should we take the movement to create a unique identity for Israeli Christians? Philologos investigates the revival of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Home of the Brave: Language theory posits that speakers of Navajo do not see the world differently than speakers of English.

Political Correctness Doesn’t Make Speech More Meaningful

Should we bend over backward to avoid using male-centric language? No, argues Philologos, because political correctness can sometimes get in the way of communicating properly.

Lend Me Your (Yiddish) Earlocks

A common Yiddish phrase literally means ‘I have it in the left earlock.’ Philologos investigates the idiom, which does not require knowledge of Jewish hairstyles.

Pray for Rain: On Shemini Atzeret, the last day of Sukkot, there is a long prayer inaugurating the start of the rainy season.

What's an Angel of Rain Doing in a Jewish Sukkot Prayer?

At the heart of the Shemini Atzeret rain prayer, there is a reference to ‘the angel of rain.’ Philologos investigates how it wound up in the Sukkot celebration.

No Spring Chicken: An Orthodox Jewish man takes part in the Kaparot ceremony.

Why 'Have a Nice Fast' Isn't Always the Right Thing To Say

Just as it is a commandment not to eat on Yom Kippur, it is also a commandment to eat before it. Philologos says there is no other meal of the Jewish year which is required of the faithful.