Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Aug 29 18:33:26 UTC 2008

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 2:23 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 8:01 AM, Benjamin Zimmer
> <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> > There are two different Semitic roots: "Barack" (as in Obama) and
> > "baruch" derive from B-R-K 'bless', while "Barak" (as in Ehud) and
> > "Barca" derive from B-R-Q 'lightning'.
> I'm sorry, Benjamin. I should have read your post more closely. I
> basically skipped over what I was already familiar with, B-R-K,
> whereas what was new, B-R-Q, commanded all of my attention, not to
> mention that I had the Barcas, Hamilcar and Hannibal, on my mind. And
> I also was feeling that "Lightning" was a cooler, goner, and more
> kick-ass name, under the circumstances, than the very banal "Blessed."

Ehud Barak apparently felt the same way -- born Ehud Brog, but chose
to Hebraize his last name as Barak and not Baruch when he began his
Israeli military service.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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