New York City Public Schools have officially declared
Jewish English, now dubbed Hebronics, as a second
language. Backers of the move say the city schools
are the first in the nation to recognize Hebronics as
a valid language and a significant attribute of American
According to Howard Ashland, linguistics professor at
Brooklyn College and renowned Hebronics scholar, the
sentence structure of Hebronics derives from middle
and eastern European language patterns, as well as
Professor Shulman explains, "In Hebronics, the response
to any question is usually another question with a
complaint that is either implied or stated.
Thus 'How are you?' may be answered, 'How should I be,
with my bad feet?' Shulman says that Hebronics is a superb
linguistic vehicle for expressing sarcasm or skepticism. An
example is the repetition of a word with "sh" or "shm" at
the beginning: "Mountains, shmountains. Stay away. You
should want a nosebleed?"
Another Hebronics pattern is moving the subject of a sentence
to the end, with its pronoun at the beginning: "It's beautiful;
Shulman says one also sees the Hebronics verb moved to
the end of the sentence. Thus the response to a remark
such as "He's slow as a turtle," could be: "Turtle shmurtle!
Like a fly in Vaseline he walks."
Shulman provided the following examples from his best-selling
textbook, Switched-On Hebronics:
Question: "What time is it?"
English answer: "Sorry, I don't know."
Hebronic response: "What am I, a clock?"
Remark: "I hope things turn out okay."
English answer: "Thanks."
Hebronic response: "I should be so lucky!"
Remark: "Hurry up. Dinner's ready."
English answer: "Be right there."
Hebronic response: "Alright already, I'm coming.
What's with the 'hurry' business?"
Remark: "I like the tie you gave me; I wear it all
English answer: "Glad you like it."
Hebronic response: "So what's the matter; you
don't like the other ties I gave you?"
Remark: "Sarah and I are engaged."
English answer: "Congratulations!"
Hebronic response: "She could stand to lose a
Question: "Would you like to go riding with us?"
English answer: "Just say when."
Hebronic response: "Riding, shmiding! Do I look
like a cowboy?"
To the guest of honor at a birthday party:
English response: "Happy birthday."
Hebronic response: "A year smarter you should
Remark: "It's a beautiful day."
English answer: "Sure is."
Hebronic response: "So the sun is out; what
else is new?"
Answering a phone call from a son:
English response: "It's been a while since you
Hebronic response: "You didn't wonder if I'm dead