The murderous terrorist attack on innocent civilians at a café in a Tel Aviv shopping area Wednesday night introduced some linguistic confusion as to the name of the area: the official name of the enormous indoor food market is “Sarona,” but many Hebrew speaking reporters opted for “Sharona” — which sounds like the coastline region of the Sharon — only to be told by their editors to change it to the official name which has no meaning at all in Hebrew or any other language.
Popular linguist Avshalom Kor on Thursday morning offered an explanation, siding with the reporters and chiding their editors. The following is his step-by-step argument, which we promise actually delivers a definitive, satisfying answer in the end:
1. European languages don’t have a letter to represent the Sh sound. English uses Sh, French does Ch, and German Sch. This is why the European Greeks, when they arrived in Israel, turned Shimon into Simon, Shmuel into Samuel, and Shimshon into Simpson.
2. The 1871 German Templer founders of the colony outside Jaffa which eventually became Tel Aviv gave it the name Sharona, after the Sharon region (which back then included the Jaffa area). Sharon is an ancient Semitic word meaning forest (up until the 19th century the Sharon valley was covered with a thick forest, which the Turks cut down to fuel their trains). The German settlers wrote the name Sharon as “Saron” because when an S appears at the beginning of a German word or name it is pronounced as Sh (Stuttgart, Staat), or Z. Indeed, the Templers (who later became dedicated Nazis) pronounced the name of their colony as Zarona.
3. The Brits, who took over in 1917, pronounced Sarona as Sarona, simple, effective, and as is often the case in British pronunciation of foreign names, utterly wrong (for an illustration, click the sound icon under the name Gaza in Arabic in GoogleTranslate — this is what the name of the city really is). Try the same with Afghanistan…
In conclusion, the name of the neighborhood, which today straddles Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, a stone’s throw away from the defense ministry and IDF command compound, has always been Sharona, the name Sarona is a mistake, no such word exists in the Hebrew language and it’s time the owners of the compound changed it to its real version.JNi.Media