Sunday, November 12, 2006

So, Nu? Say Something Already!


Over a year ago, I worked on /freelance copy edited this book. It was quite a challenge for me.

I am not a native Yiddish speaker, and you could even say I'm not a Yiddish speaker, but I understand quite a bit. But even my father, whose mameloshen would've been Yiddish and then Polish, did not know all the expressions I had to verify. He explained to me that many of the expressions were regional -- so, if you lived in Lublin, you might've cursed differently than if you lived in Tarnow.

Go figure -- "gei in drerd" ("go to hell") would have to be phrased differently, depending on where you lived. In my mind, "drerd" is "drerd"!

In any case I was at the Toronto Jewish Book Fair last Sunday, looking at books on display, and spotted this Epstein book. It looked familiar to me at first, but I was a little "fermisht" and it didn't register that I'd worked on it. I picked it up and riffled through the pages and then it hit me -- yup, this book was my baby. I had a hand in it. G-d, I hope I did a good job with it.

...if not, Lita Epstein will be cursing me -- left, right and center!

So why not pick up this book if you can...and put it to good use. I'm sure you have friends and family members on whom you can try out these expressions! :)

4 comments:

Rhea said...

This sounds like a great book - congrats! My parents spoke Yiddish but none of the offspring speak it. I wish we did!

marallyn ben moshe said...

that is hysterical...what a great title...and congrats to you...i just read an article someplace that they have produced the pirates of penzance in yiddish...it is hysterical...at my friend's wedding her father got a bissel farshnikkered and entertained one and all with 'mein hertz geyt vu di vilde ganz geit'...my heart goes where the wild goose goes...been nearly forty years since and i can still hear him tfu tfu tfu...thanks for a smile

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, that's so exciting...perhaps you should be signing copies?
If I told my mother I was bored when I was a little girl, she would tell me in Yiddish to go hit my head against a wall. (it was something like: clups a kup en vant)

torontopearl said...

Rhea: I always thought and still do that Yiddish is the most beautiful language, just because of the history bound up behind it, and because it captures the nuances of a culture and lifestyle, unlike some English words!

Marallyn: That sounds like a great musical/operetta. I was given "vinnie der pooh" as a Chanukah gift a couple years ago, and have yet to conquer trying to read that classic. The Cat in the Hat has also become a Yiddish product.

CM: Your mom stopped telling you that when you were a kid? Or does she still tell you to do that!?