Last week’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me had an interesting item at the beginning of Panel Round Two — they were reporting that there was a new slang verb in Hebrew: “L’Condel”, in honor of Condelezza Rice, meaning to run around and have meetings which produce no results. I thought it was amusing, and I could certainly come up with contexts in which I could use it. But I didn’t know how to properly conjugate it…or even how to spell it, since Hebrew has two letters for the ‘k’ sound. But I did a little Googling and found what seemed to be the original reference, from a November 12th New York Times article.
Later, I was chatting online with a colleague from IBM Israel, and I asked her if she had heard the verb, or how it would be spelled. She hadn’t heard of it. So I decided to Google the two alternative spellings I could come up with, and discovered that there were no hits for ×œ×›× ×“×œ, while ×œ×§× ×“×œ had many. But what was odd was that many of the hits were several years old, which made no sense.
My friend, in the meantime, had done additional research; since she actually speaks Hebrew, she knew that “L’Condel” had to be spelled with an additional vav — ×œ×§×•× ×“×œ — to force the “oh” in “Condelezza”. What I’d found was the prepositional phrase “to Kendall” (as in, “I gave advice to Kendall”) — completely unrelated to my quest.
She could only find one citation in Hebrew on the web, which said that this was a new verb being used among the Israeli administration meaning going in and out of meetings with little said and done.
I clicked through and discovered that the page was the “Daily Alert” from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. I searched for ×œ×§×•× ×“×œ on the page — and interestingly, it was in a paragraph headed “New York Times”.
So I cut-and-pasted the first few sentences of the paragraph into the Hebrew-to-English translator from 1-800-TRANSLATE…and sure enough, it was the same article from the Times that I’d already found in English.
I hope that “L’Condel” is real — but I find myself wondering. And I still don’t know how to conjugate it.