13 October, 2009

Someone really needs to tell them


Here's an easy one - and another where we'll quickly see whether what I find funny matches what you do.

There's a relatively new traffic circle in Jerusalem, not far from the Central Bus Station. (Just for the record, I'm a BIG fan of traffic circles!) It's positioned on a very convenient shortcut that I've taken quite a few times recently, and so I keep seeing it, and noticing the dedication:


 
Can you see it? Here's a close-up, just in case:



So, I presume they're referring to this late Max M. Fisher, and I further presume that this was dedicated by his family. The thing is, every time I see it, I become more and more concerned that whoever paid for it did not get their money's worth. Apparently they asked for a square, and this is most definitely a circle... 

Does this bother anyone else?

10 comments:

Rena said...

Times are hard and I guess they had to...

Wait for it, wait for it...

Cut corners.

I couldn't resist myself. Love it!

Bubby said...

Very funny, Rena!

Mrs. S. said...

LOL! :-)
And the cutting corners comment is hysterical!

And on a serious note, why DOES Hebrew use the same word - כיכר - for both "square" and "traffic circle"? Inquiring minds want to know...

toby said...

Rena/Faye - I agree - that was perfect! Can I be your sidekick?

Bubby - thanks for stopping by!

Mrs. S. - we'll have to ask the Balashon about that one...

Dave (Balashon) said...

Kikar is tricky. Without going into too much detail (maybe it would make a good post), kikar has three meanings in the Tanach - a) a loaf of bread, b) a measure of weight of money, c) an area/district.

The general assumption is that all 3 are related to the root כרר / כרכר, meaning "round". The first two are easier to understand - both loaves of bread and coins are round.

But the district thing is harder. My first instinct was to compare it to galil, which also means both "round" and "district". But so far I didn't see anyone who makes that connection.

Some say that the areas mentioned in the Tanach were round, but Ben Yehuda points out that they were actually likely long and narrow. (He seems to think that this meaning isn't connected to "round").

In any case, the word eventually took on the meaning "public area" or "open space" - and as Even Shoshan points out - that space was usually round. English took a different path with square - maybe their open spaces were more square than ours.

I don't think the word really means "traffic circle" - that's מעגל תנועה. But like in the case in this picture, when you already have a round open space, you may as well make it a kikar.

Mrs. S. said...

Thanks, Dave, for your fascinating and informative answer to my question!

Interestingly, I don't think I've ever heard anyone use the term "מעגל תנועה".

Dave (Balashon) said...

So it turns out that kikar is the popular way of saying traffic circle, but maagal tenua is the official way (and kikar still means "open area" as well).

See these Wikipedia articles:

מעגל תנועה

כיכר

toby said...

Thanks, Dave - I knew we could count on you!
And Mrs. S. - I have definitely heard the term "ma'agal t'nua," but like I said, I really like traffic circles, so maybe I'm more informed than I should be :)

Jack said...

I found Dave's information to be very interesting.

toby said...

Jack - yes, he's an interesting guy - just one of the many reasons I keep him around :)