Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shabbat Special: The "Not Hebrew" Tattoos

Got good Hebrew tattoos? Send them in! I'm in a great lack of Good Hebrew Tattoos! Please mail your stuff to typotat@gmail.com.


Today we will explore a very disturbing way in which Hebrew tattoos can (and do) go wrong. The "Not Hebrew" usually happens when a greedy so-called Tattoo Artist is willing to do anything for a quick buck, even compose a tattoo in a foreign language he doesn't know at all.

Check out the following masterpiece for example. The victim is sure he's walking around with his loved one's name in Hebrew on his arm...


Of course, this is not Hebrew at all. It looks a little bit like Arabic, but it is so sloppy looking that I'm willing to bet it's not real Arabic either.


Now this girl, she's sure her arm spells out some kind of prayer in Hebrew...


The letters of this tattoo do look a little bit like Hebrew, but not close enough! Is this even a real language? I never seen anything like it before...


And the last one, this guy thinks his arm has the word "Strength" in Hebrew...


The tattoo of course, spells no such thing. Not in Hebrew at least. This actually looks like Sanskrit to me. I wouldn't hold my breath for correctness, though.

17 comments:

  1. The "prayer" thing looks more like a combination of Klingon and Binary...

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  2. Well, of course, as a native Hebrew speaker I can read all of these fluently and eloquently. They all say...um...well.. it's hard to translate into English. Shavua tov le'cooolam'.

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  3. the arabic is actually quite elabotate, i dont know if it really means anything but it can be read as: A-TIR-N-T. doesnt make for any hebrew name ive heard of...

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  4. The Arabic one actually reads "IBIRNI"

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  5. The arabic tattoo is the transliteration for eternity. Ee teer nit ee. Of course, it has no meaning in Arabic, so congrats on the fail.

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  6. the arabic one is eternity, as the anonymous above me said.

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  7. I must be missing something, but how do you know these people think their tattoos are Hebrew?

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  8. How do I know? Well, I've taken those tattoos from sites where either the owner or the tattoo artist claimed them as Hebrew.

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  9. I cannot tell whether it says anything grammatically correct, but the script of the second picture is definitely real: it is one of the calligraphic varieties of the Tibetan script, probably Drucha or Khamyig. See http://www.inkessential.com/scripts.html. (Thanks to Blinde Schildpad for checking this.)

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  10. The Sanskrit (Hindi?) one indeed seems to say something involving 'strength': balavat, or -ant (I'm not sure what to make of the small curved stroke to the left of the t).

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  11. Thanks for the info! Tibetan, eh? It's interesting how some of those Tibetan letters could pass for stylized Hebrew. Very cool.

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  12. >How do I know? Well, I've taken those tattoos from sites where either the owner or the tattoo artist claimed them as Hebrew.

    Thank you.

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  13. @ Typo Tat:
    You're welcome! Unfortunately I can't read any Tibetan, so I wouldn't know what it says. Nor does the owner, apparently. Pretty as the script may be, it amazes me how people decide to have texts permanently inscribed in their bodies without knowing what language it is.

    And yes: the Arabic one says 'Eternity' in phonetic English.

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  14. The Arabic looks like a bad "uh-teer-nt-A"

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  15. The devanagari script is likely Sanskrit, since they wouldn't bother with the virama at the end in Hindi. As such, I'd transliterate it as "balavat", whatever that might be.

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  16. The Sanskrit word is the adjective "strong" in the neuter gender.

    So I think the tattoo owner meant to say he's a strong neuter.

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  17. The Arabic one definitely reads as "eternity" in transliteration. The actual arabic word for "eternity" is دهر "dahr"

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