Sunday, March 26, 2006

I heart Yiddish

Yiddish is known as mamaloshen, meaning mother's talk--"the language we speak at home."In this case it was the home of my grandmother, whose first language it was. Either Yiddish is a language which lends itself to sarcasm or my grandmother was sarcastic. I suspect the latter. She had a tongue like a razor blade. Double edged.

Some samples:
"Gay mit der kopp in dererd und de fiss in klaishter" means approximately: go with your head in hell and your feet in church.

"A chalerya," an all-purpose curse that means you should catch cholera.

"Bahayma"=big clumsy oaf (literally behemoth).

"Vas daff min honeck ven dreck is ziss?" Why do you need honey when shit is sweet to you? (Said when a granddaughter was dating a loser.)

"Tsvay klugen und ein vugen." Klug is a plague and vugen is a wagon. It's not real good in English. It means two jerks who belong together. Think Bill and Hillary Clinton. Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky. You get the idea.

" (Insert name here) is a mayven vie a chazer on hayven." A mayven is a judge, a chazer is a pig, and hayven are oats. Pigs are not good judges of oats. So (Insert name here) doesn't know what he/she is talking about.

Forgive my transliteration.

I've always felt it was my acquaintance with Yiddish which made me interested in learning languages.

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