Harsh, Hirsh, and Hersh (Harsch, Hirsch, and Hersch) – Names in הישיבה הרמה בפיורדא

Another interesting thing that I saw a short while ago in הישיבה הרמה בפיורדא (volume II, p.60).

It states that the name הירש, which is the vernacular כינוי and translation of the popular Hebrew name צבי, was actually pronounced in אשכנז as Harsh (or Harsch), as if there was a פתח under the ה. The חתם סופר felt strongly about this and stated as much. One can see in many places in his writings, in accordance with this, that he spells the name הרש, without a yud, which he felt (inclusion of) led people to pronounce it incorrectly. However, he states that in Poland, it was pronounced Hirsh (Hirsch), with a חיריק.

And nowadays there are others who pronounce it Hersh (Hersch) as well – as if the spelling was הערש, which one actually can see too. I am referring to those whose pronunciation is to say lecht instead of licht, e.g. in the term ליכט בענטשען/צינדען

That is just one elaborate example of a nice amount of material in הישיבה הרמה בפיורדא related to onomastics in general, and Jewish onomastics in particular. The author frequently uses נקודות to help the reader handle obscure and extinct names that come up in the narrative, which likely are not familiar to them.




One Response to “Harsh, Hirsh, and Hersh (Harsch, Hirsch, and Hersch) – Names in הישיבה הרמה בפיורדא”

  1. S. Says:

    Another point to consider is that while we are most acquainted with using ע to indicate /e/ in Yiddish, there was an is a tradition of using the י for the same. Recently, in fact, I passed by a store which advertised in the window that it sold Chassidisher “היטין.” I don’t think it meant to say “hittin.”

    Many such names were later altered based upon its spelling. For some people it’s hard to see “הירש” and not say “Hirsch,” even if at the point of origin, perhaps, it was spelled that way to capture “Hersch.”

    Actually, since the term derives directly from German, where the term word for deer is ‘hirsch’ it should also be pointed out that in cognate languages the term has an /a/; in English it is “hart.” But this is a common vowel switch, /a/ and /e/.

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