You get an invitation to your friend's wedding, and it uses the word "chuppah." What does that mean? What language does it come from? You can find out by looking it up on the Jewish English Lexicon:
Helpful, right? Well, there's something missing: pronunciations. Do you pronounce this word HOO-pah? TSHUP-ah? khoo-PAH? To address this problem, the Jewish Language Project is adding pronunciation recordings.
During the nine years the Jewish English Lexicon has been online, we have received many requests for pronunciation recordings. We're finally making that a reality.
Who will find recordings useful?
Converts and prospective converts
Non-Jewish spouses, relatives, friends, and colleagues of Jews
Tech companies that wish to improve the accuracy of their voice recognition and auto-captioning software (a problem we’re trying to address from multiple angles)
Jewish organizations that want to orient non-Jewish employees to Jewish life
Jewish educators who want to teach about cultural diversity among American Jews
Christians, Muslims, and others involved in interfaith dialogue with Jews
Actors portraying Jewish characters who need to learn authentic pronunciations
Jews who want to learn how other Jews pronounce certain words (e.g., Festival of Booths: Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might say "SOOK-kiss," while Sephardi/Mizrahi and non-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might say "soo-COAT").
In short, once the recordings are added, the Jewish English Lexicon will be helpful for anyone who wants to strengthen their communication with Jews of various backgrounds.
To make this project a reality, we would like to raise $9,800 and find 36 volunteers to record entries. We invite you to support this exciting and important initiative.
Read Sarah Bunin Benor's article about the captioning problem: