Here is the remarkable story of how this humble language took vigorous root in Eastern European shtetls and in the Jewish quarters of cities across Europe; how it achieved a rich literary flowering between the wars in Europe and America; how it was rejected by emancipated Jews; and how it fell victim to the Holocaust. And also how, in yet another twist of destiny, Yiddish today is becoming the darling of academia.Yiddish is a history as story; a tale of flesh-and-blood people with manic humor.
Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazic Jewry, arose some 900-1200 years ago as a result of contact with indigenous varieties of medieval German. Over the next few centuries, it grew to cover the second-largest language area in Europe, with Yiddish-speaking colonies being created in North and South America, Palestine/Israel, Australia and South Africa. It is estimated that just before the Nazi genocide in World War II, there were between 11 and 13 million Yiddish speakers worldwide. …
Comprehensive and reliable , The Modern English-Yiddish/Yiddish-English Dictionary is the standard reference guide to contemporary Yiddish , an essential volume for the beginner and the expert alike.
Part of a British revival of Yiddish culture, Hilda Bronstein's collection of Yiddish songs are to some degree what one would expect from a basic troupe performing at cultural and folk festivals. At the same time, however, the band (led by Merlin Shepherd) provides a good backing sound ranging from somber to joyous, but Bronstein herself is the star of the show, with a deep, throaty (almost Marlene Dietrich-like in some respects) intonation. The Polish dialect of Yiddish doesn't always lend itself to pretty pastoral sounds of course, but it seems that Bronstein is pushing the envelope even further than needed. Along with Merlin Shepherd's clarinet, the mix of old and new compositions is probably the key highlight of this recording. A handful of songs hearken back to the great Yiddish poets, a handful are from the theater era and immigration to America, a couple are from the wartime era and the partisan movements, and a couple of newer compositions make their debut as well.
This is not your bubbe's—or Leo Rosten's—Yiddish. Translator, novelist and performer Wex follows his witty and erudite Born to Kvetch with a colorful, uncensored guide to the idiomatic, use of Yiddish in such areas as madness, fury, and driving, mob Yiddish, insults and thirteen designations for the human rear (in declining order of politeness). Wex is knowledgeable about the biblical and Talmudic roots of some colloquial phrases; for example, he points out that tukhes (ass as he translates it) may be derived from Tuhkhes, one of the places where the Israelites sojourned on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. While most of Wex's discussions of words and phrases are brief, he provides lengthier sections on five key, highly nuanced Yiddish words: nu (Well?), shoyn (already, right away), epes (something, somewhat), takeh (precisely) and nebakh (alas). Wex's advice on the complex usage of these words can help even the greenest Yiddish speaker. The book could have given more attention to regional dialects and there are a few organizational quirks. Still, Wex offers both fun and instruction for the non-maven.