“I actually can’t see any linguistic reason why there should be two Ns” Krinsky says. "This is why some say that 'Chanukah' is a traditional spelling of the word and that 'Hanukkah' came later, but is more popular today," Zietman says. However, don’t forget Chanukah, the second most often used spelling and the favorite of traditionalists. In Hebrew, the N sound in Hanukkah comes from a single letter, Nun. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are 24 spellings for Hanukkah, during which Jews light candles on a menorah to celebrate the miracle of a one-day oil supply lasting eight after the Maccabean Revolt in the second century B.C. The C-H sound can be difficult for English-speakers to master. These kids (and their rabbi) explain. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most important Jewish holidays and is celebrated by Jews worldwide. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. With both correct, and about 14 others technically correct too, rest assured that you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting the spelling right. But, everyone, including the judges, learned a little bit about why there are so many different ways to spell Hanukkah, and why Hebrew is the best way. With so many ways to correctly get the point of Hanukkah across, the proper spelling really turns into a matter of preference and mass appeal. The main complication is the first letter, which corresponds to the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet: chet (or het, or heth, or cheth; there’s no right spelling there either). If you want to fit in with the crowd, opt for the Hanukkah spelling, now the most widely used of the choices. It's a holiday that commemorates the time when a small group of Jews called the Maccabees rose up against Greek-Syrian rulers to rededicate the Temple of Jerusalem and light its menorah for worship, which – as the story goes – had enough oil to last only a single night. חַג חֲנוּכָּה שַׂמֵחַ or Hanukkah Sameach literally means "Happy Hanukkah" in Hebrew. But, Hanukkah and Chanukah are the two versions that are most widely used and accepted. If you type in the aforementioned three spellings, it shows you results for "Hanukkah," a spelling that has been the most popular on the search engine for at least the past 15 years, with second-place spelling "Chanukah" significantly waning in popularity in the past five years. Still, she sees the word written as “Channukah” every year. The K sound in the middle of “Hanukkah” comes from the Hebrew letter Kaf. Let’s see why that version is a favorite. Let’s first see what the words “happy” and “Hanukkah” are like in Hebrew: Happy = שמח = Sameach Hanukkah = חנוכה = Chanuka The difficulty begins with the very first letter of the word, which is the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet—ḥet, or chet. It's always an appropriate greeting for the holiday. So does this mean we can spell Hanukkah however we please? All Rights Reserved. This accounts for why there are so many spelling variants (there are more than 20). Again, let’s look at the way the holiday is written in Hebrew: Its final letter is a Hei. And all are equally correct, though the … William J. Barber II Uses His Faith to Fight for the Poor, Why 'The Great Gatsby' Now 'Belongs to the People', Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2021 TIME USA, LLC. Hanukkah is written חנֻכה or חנוכה (Ḥǎnukkâh) in Hebrew, which does make it difficult for many languages to translate it. Learn how to spell Hannukka (or is it Hanukah? matzoh, matzo or matzah? The celebration of Hanukkah includes a … Put the confusion behind you with the correct spelling and background of its origins. As little as about five years ago, the top spelling choice on the Internet was Chanukah. Although “there is no actual standardized transliteration” when it comes to that letter, Krinsky has seen it commonly written with an H and in prayer books with and an H and a dot underneath it. Updated: November 28, 2017 3:47 PM ET | Originally published: December 21, 2011 4:08 PM EST, Pelosi Says House Will Impeach Trump Unless Pence Acts, What Is the Insurrection Act And Does it Give Trump the Authority to Send Military Troops Into States? Happy Hanukkah. As for the spelling of the word, Hanukkah or Chanukah or Chanukkah (etc. You can blame it on the ch sound being similar to the H sound, making Hanukkah a bit easier for English speakers to understand the pronunciation. Or is it Chanukah? Hebrew for Chanukah. and when it is transliterated into English it becomes Hanukkah, Chanukkah, Hanukah, and Chanukah. Don't say 'Happy Yom Kippur': How to greet someone observing the Jewish Day of Atonement, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Saying “Chag Sameach” Say “chag” for “holiday.” This is the first word of the phrase. More on Jewish holidays: Don't say 'Happy Yom Kippur': How to greet someone observing the Jewish Day of Atonement, What is Hanukkah? So, if you like to slightly buck the trend and go old school, Chanukah is your spelling. There is no English equivalent of the chet sound, which is rendered in transliteration variously with a h, ch or kh. The word “Hanukkah” is a transliterated version of the Hebrew term for the holiday, חנוכה. Translation Spell check Synonyms Conjugation Accordingly, Krinksy prefers to double the English K in Hanukkah. Unlike translation, transliteration is when you “change (letters, words, etc.) Whether you’re in tune with the latest spelling trend will be an entirely different story. Even in pop culture, there are a number of ways to spell it. Rachel Bloom's "Santa Baby" parody is "Chanukah Honey" but she included other spellings of the holiday in her CW show "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," in a scene where her character Rebecca mulls over which "Happy" holiday banner is best among Chanukah, Hanukah and Hanukkah. ).So, if you got an invite for a Hanukkah party and want to fit in, or for once impress your Jewish grandma, here are your essential phrases for this year’s Hanukkah. Hanukkah 2011: Why the Holiday Is So Popular in America, Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hanukkah. The light miraculously burned for eight nights. Hanukah is starting soon. In Hebrew it is spelled חֲנֻכָּה. Reference Menu. Because Hanukkah is a Hebrew word, there is no one correct way to translate the spelling of the word into English. Celebrating a miracle and the ability to practice your religion, eating fried foods and winning chocolate, giving and receiving gifts: Hanukkah is a happy holiday however you spell it. So if a Hebrew ends with the silent Hei, “why not include (a silent H) in English?” she asks. Each variant exists for its own reasons, and each is valid in English. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. LIST: Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hanukkah. In the same vein, when Hanukkah is transliterated, the “k” is sometimes doubled to reflect the “daghesh” in the Hebrew word. Sure, the English spelling differs from greeting card to greeting card. It follows that the transliterated word should also have one N to represent that sound. So, when the Hebrew word was transliterated in the 17th century, the ḥet became ch (Chanukah). The Hebrew Hei functions very similarly to the way the English H can in that “It doesn’t change the pronunciation, like in my name Sarah,” Krinsky says. This is based on the belief and tradition that Hanukkah is a celebration for the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Rabbi Ilana Zietman, community rabbi of GatherDC in Washington, D.C., a group that helps connect young people to Jewish life, tells USA TODAY that she uses Hanukkah and Chanukah interchangeably. At Lila’s pre-school Hanukkah party, there were three different spellings within 10 feet of one another. Those looking to emphasize the guttural sound of the chet will often use ch, while those looking for the closest English equivalent … The confusion over the spelling comes because the name of the holiday is a Hebrew word and the English transliteration isn't totally clear. 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