Chutzpah vs. Chutzpah| Revisionist History podcast with Malcolm Gladwell E9/S4 (Transcript)

Chutzpah vs. Chutzpah

Episode 9| Season 4| Revisionist History
Length: 39 mins | Released: August 15, 2019

To see the full transcript, go here.

NOTE: Episodes 3 -11 are contained in one interactive project. Click the down arrow to the right of the episode name to select it.

Malcolm Gladwell: Head's up: In this episode, I interview an old school guy from New York who drops a lot of F-bombs, just so you're aware.

Malcolm Gladwell: Say your name the way an Israeli would say it.

Milli Avital: Milli Avital

Malcolm Gladwell: And say,  "My name is Milli Avital," in Hebrew.

Milli Avital: [?] Milli Avital.

Malcolm Gladwell: My name is Malcolm Gladwell. You're listening to Revisionist History, my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. So far in Season 4, I've talked about grand themes, huge issues. This episode is about something very specific: a word.

Malcolm Gladwell: The word I'm interested in is chutzpah.

Milli Avital: Okay.

Malcolm Gladwell: I've decided I would like to examine the phenomenon of chutzpah.

Malcolm Gladwell: Since Millia is my neighbor and an Israeli, she has agreed to help.

Malcolm Gladwell: Let's teach goyishe Malcolm how to say this word appropriately. First of all, are we doing that kind of thing in the throat that so manyÔøΩ

Milli Avital: The gutturalÔøΩ

Malcolm Gladwell: The kh. Do I have to master the kh?

Milli Avital: It's a little soft, kha. I think we have it closer to Arabic, kh, kh. It's deeper in the throat and there's a lot more contact of the soft palate, kh. It's really deeper.

Malcolm Gladwell: Yeah, yeah. So a softerÔøΩ not a kho but a khoo, CHUTZpah, chutzPAH?

Milli Avital: No, khooÔøΩ Ok, so the sound is right, kh, kh, it is deep, but the vowel is not kho; it's khoo.

Malcolm Gladwell: Khoo?

Milli Avital: ChutzPAH.

Malcolm Gladwell: ChutzPAH?

Milli Avital: Yeah. In Hebrew, there's only a, e, o, u. There's no diphthongs and there's no ooÔøΩ There's no book and book, right, there's only bu. So you understand or I'm talking to myself? For me, it's very clear because, sadly, I worked on it so hard, but ok. So it's not CHUTZpah.

Malcolm Gladwell: Yeah, yeah.

Milli Avital: Just like it's not Milly; it's Milli.

Malcolm Gladwell: Milli.

Milli Avital: E, o, u. So it's khoo-tz, the T.

Malcolm Gladwell: Hoo?

Milli Avital: Not hoo.

Malcolm Gladwell: Khoo?

Milli Avital: Yes, that's better, Malcolm.

Malcolm Gladwell: It strikes me that there is a lot of chutzpah in the world at the moment and that maybe it would be useful to find out something more about it, so I started with Milli and the first thing she told me is that there isn't one chutzpah; there's actually two, the American version and the Israeli version. Chutzpah I knew, but not this other one.

Malcolm Gladwell: CHUTZpah?

Milli Avital: Not bad, but it's not a paw, it's pah.

Malcolm Gladwell: Pah?

Milli Avital: Pah. It's a vowel that doesn't exist, actually, in English.

Malcolm Gladwell: CHUTZpah.

Milli Avital: ChutzPAH.

Malcolm Gladwell: All right.

Milli Avital: Now, you gotta have the chutzPAH. To say chutzPAH, you gotta say say chutzPAH.

Malcolm Gladwell: With a certain oomph, a kind ofÔøΩ

Milli Avital: Yeah, you hit the second syllable.

Malcolm Gladwell: ChutÔøΩ ChutzPAH?

Milli Avital: ChutzPAH. There's a lot of air coming out of the mouth when you say that.

Malcolm Gladwell: But in America, the accent's on the first syllable?

Milli Avital: Yeah, CHUTZpah.

Malcolm Gladwell: CHUTZpah?

Milli Avital: Right.

Malcolm Gladwell: CHUTZpah and chutzPAH, and they are worlds apart. And maybe our chutzpah problem is that we've confused the two.

To see the full transcript, go here and select the episode.

Transcripts for the entire Season 1ÔøΩ ÔøΩ4 podcasts of Revisionist History are available here.

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