Monday, 23 July 2012

REGA!!! It's Not Just a Moment!

Like it... or not... this is one of the standard symbols you'll need to get used to when you live in Israel! For the native Israeli it comes naturally by simply lifting up the four fingers towards the thumb as it itself is lifted upwards. The fingers eventually touch and can be held in that position for as much time as you need to make the sign fulfill its purpose.

And if you yourself are really good with your hands, you might even find yourself turning your fingers into this position quite a lot when in Israel - all completely naturally! But if you're new to living in Israel, you'll need to know more about this "industry standard" of Israeli sign language - the "symbol" and what exactly it means.

The word used to express the symbol is at the heart of the modern Hebrew language when it comes to colloquial expressions. The word רגע - "Rega" literally means "moment". Though that be the case, "moment" is usually the least of what the word really means - as does its hand symbol to express it. 

Here are some real translations of the word Rega - and its associated symbol. You can feel free to use the word and hand-symbol under any of these conditions (everyone in Israel will appreciate your using it) - and if you're creative, you'll probably find another dozen or so uses of it all on your own. So get started, get into it... get "Rega'in"
  • Just a moment (or Just a moment!)
  • Wait a sec... (or even waiiiit aaa seccc...!) It's really important to drag out the word for as long as you feel you need the other to wait. Don't let go of holding your  fingers in this position - whatever you do!
  • Wait!!! (Or Waaaiiiit!)
  • Without the symbol when on a bus (unless the driver sees you too): "STOP!!!!" (Incidentally, if you do have time, you can also shout out נהג "Nehag" - "Driver" to attract the driver's attention and let him know that your shouting was clearly directed at him. Please do not use this word if time is too critical!)
  • Without the symbol (i.e. just the word) on a bus (unless the driver sees you too):"DON'T CLOSE THE DOOR YET!!!" This can be said when getting ON the bus as much when getting OFF it! If you're lucky, the door will seem to open of its own accord almost immediately!
  • When getting off the bus, you don't need to feel it must mean "DON'T CLOSE THE DOOR YET!!!" It could also mean - simply - "I'M STILL GETTING OFF THE BUS - CAN'T YOU SEE!!!" Make sure to shake your head from side to side for a few moments as you alight and walk the next 100 or so meters, in the hope that the driver is paying you some attention NOW! You could turn to others and announce מוזר! - "Muzar" -"Strange!" just to show your displeasure at it all!
  • Just a minute (notice the time difference between this and the first two options.)
  • Just a minute!!! (Again, notice the difference between the third listed item which is actually an immediate time delay - a strong interruption! A minute might be too long!
  • Used when you are praying and the Shaliach Tzibbur is going too fast or is looking around (for no apparent reason) wondering if he can continue at any point in time: Show him the sign as your way of telling him others are actually still busy!!! He should understand to WAIT! There's no need to shout anything - the symbol will do it's job well!
  • When talking to another who seems to never give you a chance to "butt in", use the sign. If it doesn't work, use the word too as you move your hand up and down. A good idea is to also frown or show displeasure on your face. In fact, you can do this with any of the other points on the list too. These additional techniques work wonders!
  • When 3 seconds late for the bus, forget the sign (you won't have time and nobody will see you.) Just shout the word! When you're on the bus, if you feel you've missed out on using the sign, you can still use it - but nobody will know what you are going on about!
  • When someone is speaking too fast - use the sign with the word. It helps get the other's attention. You can then say your own peace and let the other know how much you would have appreciated if they had only spoken a little more slowly to begin with!
  • By the way, you can also use the word שניה - "Shniah" - "a second" which has a similar connotation when used in many of the examples above. It just doesn't have the same power behind it though! You'll understand when you actually become more involved in using the different words.

When ready to use the symbol:
  1. Take in a deep breath!
  2. Frown and get your face ready to express what it is you're really feeling inside you
  3. Position your fingers into "that shape"
  4. You can choose to keep your hand close to your body, or thrust it out towards the person you're "Rega'in". It all depends on how strongly (or gently) you'd like to get your message across
  5. Begin waving your hand up and down (for as long as needed)
  6. Say/shout/scream the word - "רגע" but make sure the tone in your voice and volume of your voice clearly say the message you're interested in broadcasting
  7. Watch, and take note, how everyone is prepared to hear you out and to take care of whatever it is you need - then and there!
And remember, it's not offensive to show others this sign. It's simply a part of every day communication!

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