Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yiddish, Yuddish and Yoodish

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When I was a kid, and I'd ask my father, "Are you speaking German or Yiddish?" he'd always answer, "I'm speaking Yiddish, Yuddish and Yoodish."

I never learned Yiddish formally but often heard my dad speak it with family and friends; I heard my mother and father speak German, too, between themselves and sometimes I was able to differentiate between the two languages...usually based on the accompanying body language.

My ear tuned itself to the language and if given the opportunity, I'd sometimes throw around a sentence or two.

Although some might think Yiddish to be guttural and archaic, I've always loved hearing the "mamaloshen", whether it was a Litvischer Yiddish or a Polnyisher Yiddish. The language embodies so much of Ashkenazic Jewish cultural history and has a richness all its own that transcends time.

I was recently asked about my knowledge of Yiddish because a business contact of mine knows of a freelance copy editing job -- work on a humorous book featuring Yiddish curses and expressions. Oh, that would be a great and fun challenge for me. And think of all the new curses I might come away with and be able to embody in a post or two...

So if I get this gig, great! If I don't, it's "nisht geferlech." (not the worst)

In the meantime, everyone, "zei gesundt!" (be well/healthy!)

4 comments:

Lvnsm27 said...

I love yiddish, it's so fun.

Mirty said...

That would be a fun job! My parents often spoke Yiddish with each other. But my mother, who comes from an interesting background, had a strong dislike of the language. She didn't even want to say the word - YIDDISH - to her it sounded like an insult. Anyway, their decision was to keep the Yiddish language away from us, their children, and we never learned anything except what we picked up from their whispered conversations and a few songs we heard.

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, I love Yiddush...my grandparents would speak it when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying...little did they know that after years of hearing it, we could pick up everything they were saying!
When I was kid and complained of being bored, my mother would tell me "klops a klupen vant"(okay, so I butchered the spelling) ..."go bang your head against the wall"

PsychoToddler said...

Did you see this book:

Yiddish with Dick and Jane