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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Initial Mess

Question: Is it possible to mess up an initials Hebrew Tattoo?

Answer: Oh, yeah.


This guy didn't ask for much, just to have a tattoo with some nifty initials. Unfortunately he didn't bother getting his Hebrew letters right.

See, in the Hebrew language, some letters have a special "ending" form. You only ever use those "ending" letters at the end of the word.

Now, take a wild guess as to which of the letters above is in its "ending" form?

The letters on the tattoo (from right to left) are: Lamed, Pe, Dalet.

Now, observe the diagram above. Beside having the "ending" Pe instead of the regular one, this tattoo also suffers from random scaling.

Correctly written, the Dalet and Pe are the supposed to have the same height, while the Lamed sticks above a bit. The "ending" Pe on the other hand, has a longish bit that sticks below the level of other letters.

The carelessness of this piece's designer actually makes it easy to fix. All that need be done is adding a line at the bottom of the Pe and making the Dalet longer. Such an easy fix wouldn't be possible had the letters been correctly scaled and arranged, so, Initial Guy, consider yourself lucky!

2 comments:

  1. Good golly, you're right, that tattoo will be easy to fix!

    He should get a second tattoo, thanking G-d for this fact. How about מרכבות לאלהים or תעודת האלהים? :P

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  2. Also: because of the nikkud vowel system, when writing initials and acronyms in Hebrew, it is common (and advisable) to separate them with periods, or use a 'gershayim' (double inverted comma), in order to separate them from other words that would read the same. For instance, the IDF is written צ.ה.ל or צה"ל, and not צהל, in order to separate it from the word meaning 'rejoiced'.
    While these specific initials don't mean anything as a word, if I were to see it without any separation marks I would find myself wondering what 'lapad' is supposed to mean.

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