Although French thinker Jacques Derrida gets credit for “deconstruction,” namely the idea that language is slippery and breaks down under scrutiny, the 1960s American TV sitcom “Green Acres” had already done something similar: explore the absurdity of life and how we talk about it.
British translator Humphrey Davies, who passed away on Nov. 12, gifted dozens of English literary translations from Arabic but also a legacy of mentorship and warmth.
For the Zionists, Yiddish represented the weak, emasculated Jew of the shtetl. They saw it as feminine, backward and hybrid, a mixture of many languages. This stood in stark contrast with Hebrew, which they associated with the new, muscular Jewish identity they sought to engender in Palestine.