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Watching the Smurfs in Hebrew Posted by on Jul 9, 2018 in Children

Animated television series are largely watched by children. The cartoons occupy the kids, expose them to the language, and educate them at the same time. Those TV series are made for kids, but they are also a useful means for grown-ups to be exposed to second language.

82/365 – Smurf by Olga Filonenko from Flickr.com is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In our case, it’s an easy, fun way to practice Hebrew listening comprehension, especially if it’s a series we’re already familiar with, like The Smurfs (הַדַּרְדָּסׅים).

הַדַּרְדָּסׅים appeared for the first time as comic characters in 1958. The little blue creatures soon became very popular. In 1976, their creator – the Belgian cartoonist Peyo – adapted his comic story to a Belgian animated film. In the 1980s, an American animated television series of The Smurfs was produced. The American adaptation was broadcast worldwide, including in Israel. For more than three decades, Israeli children have enjoyed watching הַדַּרְדָּסׅים. For them – and for us as well – it’s an enjoyable opportunity to be exposed to the Hebrew language.

The Smurfs’ name was translated to דַּרְדָּסׅים. A single Smurf’s name is דַּרְדָּס. One Smurf is דַּרְדָּס אֶחָד; but two Smurfs are שְׁנֵי דַּרְדָּסׅים. When talking about specific Smurf, the definite article – the prefix ה – must be added. For example: this Smurf is הַדַּרְדָּס הַזֶּה; and those Smurfs are הַדַּרְדָּסׅים הָאֵלּוּ.

Their trademark is their unique color: they are all blue head to toe.

דַּרְדָּס כָּחֹול = blue Smurf

דַּרְדָּסׅים כְּחוּלׅים = blue Smurfs

הַדַּרְדָּסׅים כְּחוּלׅים = the Smurfs are blue (the definite article appears only before the noun)

הַדַּרְדָּסׅים הַכְּחוּלׅים = the blue Smurfs (the definite article appears before the noun and before the adjective)

It’s a bit tricky, but all you have to do is to notice how many time the prefix ה appears in the clause. If it appears once – only before the noun – it means that the adjective is the predicate of the sentence. If the prefix ה appears twice – before the noun and before the adjective – it means the adjective is also definite, and it’s a modifier of the noun.

Another characteristic feature of הַדַּרְדָּסׅים is their size: they are tiny.

דַּרְדָּס קְטַנְטַן = tiny Smurf

דַּרְדָּסׅים קְטַנְטָנׅים = tiny Smurfs

הַדַּרְדָּס קְטַנְטַן = the Smurf is tiny (the definite article appears only before the noun)

הַדַּרְדָּס הַקְּטַנְטַן = the tiny Smurf (the definite article appears before the noun and before the adjective)

The Smurfs live deep in the forest (יַעַר), in a serene environment. Their hidden village (כְּפָר), is flooded with sunlight and butterflies, located near a river. Their huts are spread over the grass between flowers and trees, and they frequently stroll among colorful vegetation, dry trunks and countless mushrooms. הַדַּרְדָּסׅים never roam far away from their כְּפָר. They know they must be careful, because Gargamel (גַּרְגָּמֵל) the evil wizard is after them. The nefarious scheme of the villain גַּרְגָּמֵל and his faithful cat is to find כְּפַר הַדַּרְדָּסׅים and to catch דַּרְדָּסׅים. This constant threat has been introduced in the first season intro of the TV show:

Long, long ago, deep in a forest, there was a hidden village where tiny creatures lived. They called themselves Smurfs. They were good. Then there was Gargamel, the evil wizard. He was bad. “Oooh, I hate Smurfs. I’ll get you all, I’ll get all of you if it’s the last thing I’ll ever do hahah. Ooh I’ll get you all, I’ll find your village someday, you will be sorry”. Well, the forest is still there. And if you listen, you may hear Gargamel’s rage. And if you are good, you may just catch a glimpse of the Smurfs.

Now try to read the Hebrew version:

לִפְנֵי הַרְבֵּה הַרְבֵּה שָׁנׅים בְּתוֺךְ יַעַר עָבֹות הָיָה כְּפָר נִסְתַּר שֶׁבּוֺ חָיוּ יְצוּרׅים כְּחוּלׅים קְטַנְטָנׅים, קַרְאוּ לָהֵם דַּרְדָּסׅים. הֵם הָיוּ טוֺבֵי לֵב. לֺא רָחוֺק מׅשָּׁם חַי גַּרְגָּמֵל, הַמְּכַשֵּׁף הַנּוֺרָא. הוּא הָיָה רָשָׁע! “אחח, אֲנׅי שׂוֺנֵא דַּרְדָּסׅים. אֲנׅי אֶתְפוֺס אוֺתְךָ! אֲנׅי אֶתְפוֺס אֶת כּוּלְכֵם! אַתֶּם לֺא תּׅתְחַמְקוּ! אֲנׅי אֶתְפוֺס אֶתְכֵם. יוֺם יָבוֺא וֲאֲנׅי אֲגַלֶּה אֶת הַכְּפָר שֶׁלָכֵם וְאָז תּׅרְאוּ!”. הַיַּעַר עֲדַיִין קַיָּים וְאׅם תַּקְשׁׅיבוּ הֵיטֵב, אוּלַי תַּצְלׅיחוּ לׅשְׁמוּעַ אֶת צְעֲקוֺתָיו שֶׁל גַּרְגָּמֵל וְאׅם תּׅהֲיוּ טוֺבׅים אוּלַי תַּצְלׅיחוּ לׅרְאוֺת אֶת הַדַּרְדָּסׅים.

Use this video to practice the right pronunciation of the text above:

As you’ve noticed in the intro, Gargamel’s Hebrew name was left the same – גַּרְגָּמֵל. His companion’s name, though, had changed. Azrael the cat became חֲתַלְתּוּל in the Hebrew version of The Smurfs (literally means kitten). Watch גַּרְגָּמֵל and חֲתַלְתּוּל plotting to catch The Smurfs by creating Smurfette (דַּרְדָּסׅית) to lure them:

דַּרְדָּסׅית was created by גַּרְגָּמֵל in order to spy on הַדַּרְדָּסׅים and find their כְּפָר. She did so, but Papa Smurf (דַּרְדַּסַּבָּא) casted a spell on her and made her a real Smurf. Her black hair became blonde, and she stayed to live with the rest of הַדַּרְדָּסׅים in their village. The only girl between dozens of different דַּרְדָּסׅים. Among them are:

Jokey Smurf (קוּנְדָסוֺן) that presents gifts that then explode in the faces of those who open them. He especially likes to play tricks on Brainy Smurf (בַּר-מוֺחַ), who always takes things so seriously, and lectures his friends frequently. בַּר-מוֺחַ usually quotes דַּרְדַּסַּבָּא, the head of the village and the leader of The Smurfs. Everyone listens to דַּרְדַּסַּבָּא. Even Grouchy Smurf (רַגְזָנׅי) who is against anything that is said or suggested to him. A more positive Smurf is Vanity Smurf (גַּנְדְּרָנׅי), with a flower on his hat and a mirror in his hand, he deeply cares about his appearance. Hefty Smurf (בַּר-כּוֺחַ), on the other hand, doesn’t care about his look, but keeps in shape as the strongest Smurf in the כְּפָר. Unlike him, Clumsy Smurf (בּׅישׁ-גַּדָּא) is not in shape. It’s believed that בּׅישׁ-גַּדָּא is the Smurf who is been chased by גַּרְגָּמֵל in the show intro. As throughout the series, he managed to escape from גַּרְגָּמֵל and חֲתַלְתּוּל, and to return safely to his friends in כְּפַר הַדַּרְדָּסׅים.

Review the words and names we’ve learnt today, and watch The Smurf to practice them and learn some new words on the way.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TeawKHK9Fo&index=8&list=PLig2mjpwQBZkgIgp6HwDRJjRkRNdnFV-l

Text vocabulary

Village (masculine) = כְּפָר

Villages = כְּפָרׅים

Hidden = נִסְתַּר

Forest (masculine) = יַעַר

Forests = יְעָרוּת

Blue (to describe masculine noun or subject) = כָּחֹול

Blue (to describe feminine noun or subject) = כְּחוּלָּה

Tiny (to describe masculine noun or subject) = קְטַנְטַן

Tiny (to describe feminine noun or subject) = קְטַנְטָנָה

Wizard (masculine) = מְכַשֵּׁף


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  1. Beulah:

    Thank you for this really interesting challenge!
    A request: the Hebrew print is hard to see clearly, even when using the Zoom feature on the page, because the vowel signs are so faint.
    Do you have a different print-out on which the Hebrew print is darker, and stand out more on the page.
    This might, I believe, help to ease the way into the world of the Smurfs!
    I appreciate the text vocabulary.

    Thank you.

    • Ayana:

      @Beulah Hi Beulah, thanks for your comment! I will definitely try another font from now on. עברית שפה קשה (“Hebrew is hard”), no need to make it harder 😉 Thanks for bringing this to my attention!