Galitzianer Pronunciation #galicia

Judith Romney Wegner

Dear Galitzianers,

RE: the following messages in the GALICIA Digest for Monday,
December 03, 2007.
Subject: Re: Yeshaya (Isaiah)/Szaja, Yeshiahu (Joshua)/Szyja

"Malkie Griffel is right. It is Yehoshua that is Joshua (with Szyja,
or sometimes Jozua, as the secular name) and Yeshaia and Yeshiahu
are Isaiah (Szaja, Shaya, etc.)." Fay Bussgang

"I grew up in Eastern Galicia after WWII. My parents' friend was
Szyje [shee yeh], sometimes we called him Szyja [shee yah] which
was a bit funny as this mean 'neck' in Polish." Alexander Sharon

"My late father was Yehoshua and was known as Sheeya and pronounced
like that. He was a Galitzianer, born in Jezierna near Tarnopol...."
Cyril Fox

On the topic of Shaya vs. Sheeya, I endorse the comments of Fay,
Alex, and Cyril. And how nice to see such unanimity (or perhaps I
should say ee-nanimity?) among so many of my personal acquaintances!

For those interested, the technical explanation is as follows:
Shaya is always an abbreviation for Ye-shaya-hu (Isaiah) -- of which
it obviously forms the central syllables; Sheeya is always an
abbreviation of Yeho-shua (Joshua), in which the change of vowel
sound >from "u" to "ee" results >from regional dialectal variations
in the pronunciation of the Hebrew shuruq ("u") vowel --
articulated as "oo" by Litvaks but pronounced "ee" (same as the the
hiriq "i" vowel) in Galitzianer-Polish.

The "oo" pronunciation is the one that is technicall "correct" in
classical Hebrew. Let me share an old joke recalled >from 60 years
ago: "Did you hear about the Litvak who was so anxious not to be
mistaken for a Galizianer that during the week before Rosh Hashanah
he recited Sloo-khos instead of Slee-khos!

Judith Romney Wegner

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