Yiddish Beginners

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Monday 07th of February 2005 05:34:54 AM
beginners: Hi All,
I'm now the fourth Yiddish beginner I've seen listed somewhere on this site. What do we do from here - we can't really help each other can we? What happens now - I don't understand how this site works. Nice to see so many interested Yiddish learners. Did we all miss out as kids or what?

Saturday 26th of February 2005 08:27:28 PM
yiddish: Good Morning: (02-26-05 PST)
I wish to learn how this site works for learning Yiddish.
Would anyone instruct me?

Friday 11th of March 2005 10:30:55 AM

The forum might be able to help you in that you can post all of your questions here. Other interested learners may know the answers, and can post in response. So you can work together with other learners to increase your knowledge, even if there is no native speaker to monitor the section.

That doesn't mean that all the answers you seek may be readily available, but my guess is that there are native speakers who visit this board for different languages and learning goals. Perhaps one of these people will "adopt" the section to answer questions, create games, work with texts, etc.

And if not, you can connect with other students of Yiddish. Even if all are beginners, it is highly likely that each person will have access to different materials and can share within the Yiddish group.

Tuesday 22nd of March 2005 12:59:55 PM
I agree with tinkerb, and when we're talking about a language like Yiddish it's a bit unrealistic to expect a native speaker to appear anytime soon.

Wednesday 30th of March 2005 04:29:42 AM
why DO you want to learn yiddish?

Tuesday 05th of April 2005 01:29:20 AM
I wish I knew more Yiddish, personally. My grandparents spoke it fluently (both were born in Poland and came here after the war), but I only have what I picked up from them over the years. I've more than once not even realized I was using Yiddish when someone stops me and asks to repeat what I said.

Unfortunately, most of what I know is pretty basic and tends toward the vulgar ;)

Monday 02nd of May 2005 11:45:14 PM
Anyone still here?: I just came across this site and joined, not sure how to use it yet. I do know Yiddish if anyone wants to discuss.

Thursday 05th of May 2005 10:12:34 AM
Hi, Cuz: I've just started trying to work through some Yiddish textbooks on my own and was browsing around to see if I could find some other resources. I don't know if this is really the forum I need, though, since most of my confusion at this point has to do with pronunciation. One of the textbooks I have is using a Litvishe pronunciation, the other seems to be somewhat neutral, and the people that I am around have a Hungarian accent. Also, I see some differences in grammar between the two books. Yikes!

Anyway, I don't know if you're still checking in, Cuz. I'll check back in a day or so and see if you've been in. Maybe I'll have questions for you, or, as I learn more, we could write to help me practice.

Thursday 05th of May 2005 08:43:14 PM
Hi lrubrecht: I just joined myself.

Let me make something clear I am not an expert in Yiddish and may not necessarily be able to answer formal grammar questions. I am relatively fluent in the language (at least I think so – see my story later). It was my first language and one I still speak with my parents.

My understanding of the development of Yiddish is that it started out from a southern German dialect and has developed as it has been passed around from country to country.

You will find various accents depending on what country the speaker comes from. I have heard Polish, Hungarian and Russian accents, but there is also a Litvishe accent. Often I can barley understand the Litvishe accent. With each of these accents you may have additional words and phrases from that respective language.

Also remember that there may be additional words that have been incorporated from the various countries that the language has been spoken in. Specifically there has been a heavy influence of Hebrew. I my self speak what some people would call Yinglish.

When I was a kid I had a cousin visit from Brazil and she knew no English, but she did speak a fluent Yiddish, our only common language. I told her a story, in Yiddish, about something that happened to me. When I finished the story she turned to my father and asked what I said because she did not understand a word of it. That is when I realized how diluted my Yiddish was.

I know there are courses and formal rules, but I speak from the seat of the pants.

Willing to help in whatever way I can.

Friday 06th of May 2005 12:14:15 PM
A start: I'm not sure what is the best way to use this site yet, so I hope no one finds this post obnoxiously long. I've just started working through the textbook "College Yiddish" which has the annoying feature of having no answer section. So I can't tell if I'm translating correctly from English into Yiddish (Yiddish to English is pretty easy so far).

Cuz, I'm going to write out some of the exercise sentences and my attempts to translate them. If you see glaring errors, feel free to correct me. I asteriked the ones that I suspect are wrong. We'll see how far I get tonight...

1.The teacher has a new student./Der lerer hobt a naien talmid.
2. He has no good students./Er hobt nit kein gute talmidim.
3. In Palestine Jews speak Hebrew, but very many Jews know and speak Yiddish./In Palestine Yiddin reidn Hebreish, ober zeir a soch Yidden kenen un reidn Yiddish.
4. Yoysef reads and writes Yiddish./Yoysef leint un shraibt Yiddish.
*5. Yiddish is not a new language./Yiddish iz nit a nai shprach.
*6.Canada is a very large country./Canada iz a zeir grois lend.
7.In Chicago there are many Jews./In Chicago zeinen a soch Yiden.
8. Is Australia there are not many Jews./In Oistralia zeinen nit a soch Yidden.
9. The teacher knows Yiddish and English, but he does not know Spanish./ Der lerer kent Yiddish un English, ober er kenen nit Spanish. (By the way, I noticed that people I know say "nisht" for "not," but the textbook uses "nit." Is there a difference grammatically, or is it just a dialectical difference?)
*10.The student does not know where the teacher is./Der talmid kenen nit vus is der lerer. (I have no idea what the word order should be here. Also, should it be DEM lerer? It's not a direct object, so I think not, but am not sure.)

Okay, that's all for tonight.

Tuesday 10th of May 2005 08:59:15 PM

That was great. I think you did a great job.

A few very minor comments.

In my mind the word talmid (which is Hebrew) means a male student studying in Yeshiva, specifically the Talmud. I don't see the word talmid as being used to describe a student in general. I would use the word Student, yes it is the same, but it is also the same word used in German to define student. I would however, pronounce it differently than the English which has a short "s". I would pronounce it as a short "sh" sound in the beginning (like “sh” in ship) and I would pronounce the end as "dent" rather than "dint". (Please remember once again I don’t know formal Yiddish but rather spoken Yiddish.)

Regarding the 'nisht' vs 'nit' you are right it is dialectic. The northern Europeans, Litvish and Polish at least, pronounce it "nit" the Eastern Europeans, Hungarian, Romanian and Chezch would pronounce it as "nisht". In the German language it is actually pronounced as 'nicht' with a very hard "ch" sound in most parts of Germany, like a chet in Hebrew.

In number 9 I would say “ken nit kan Spanish”. “Kenen”, I think, would be used more for plural when using they, we, us. They know Spanish/Zai kenen Spanish. Singular would be ken, He knows Spanish/ Er ken Spanish. He knows no (any) Spanish/ Er ken nit kan Spanish ("kan" would be “the” Spanish or “any” Spanish).

Same for #10 regarding "ken" "kenen"

Der student ken nit vu der lehere is.

What you have is "vus" which means “what” not “where”. "Vu" means where ( and it is litvish pronunciation) In Eastern Europe it would be pronounced as "ve".

I don’t know grammatically whether it should be "der" or "dem" I would use der in talking, but that means nothing.

Hope it helps.

Wednesday 25th of May 2005 11:27:53 AM
I don't know if you're still checking in here, Cuz. If so, thanks much for your help with the last exercises. (Sorry I haven't been here for awhile)

I have some more! As you can see, lots of the translations are questions. I am very unsure about word order on questions. Also, I suspect that I'm not conjugating some of these verbs correctly. I asteriked the ones I am especially uncomfortable about.

*1. What does he see there?Vos zet dort?
2. Do they need a notebook?zey darfn a heft?
3. Where do they work?Vu arbeten zey?
4. Who has books?Ver hot bicher?
5. Where is the money?Vu iz dos gelt?
*6. WHat are you doing this week?Vos tust du der voch?
7. Is he smart?Er is klug?
*8. Whom do you see?Vemen zest du?
*9. What class are you in?In voser klas bist du?
10. Whom do you know here?Vemen kenst du do?

11. There are books at home.Es zainen do bicher in der heim.
12. He eats potatoes Wednesday.Er est bolbes mitvoch.
13. Tuesday and Thursday he works there.Dinstik un Donershtik arbet er dort.
*14. As long as he does the work!Abi tust er di arbet!
15. there is a notebook here.Es is do a heft.
*16. How do you (pl) work????!
17. When is he giving the children the money?Ven git er di kinder dos gelt?
18. I want the books because they are good.Ich vil di bicher vei zainen zei gut.
19. We are eating kugel again.Mir esn kugel noch a mol.
*20. Do you need a pencil?Darfst du a blai?
21. No, I need a notebook and a pen.Nein, ich darf a heft un a feder.
22. They want books and pencils.Zei vilen bicher un feders.

Thanks for your help!

Friday 03rd of June 2005 08:45:42 PM
Sorry for the late reply hope it still usefull

1. You forgot the word er for he Vos zet er dort? just like in #13
2. I woudl reverse the order and say Darfen zey a heft? What you have is They need a notbook? (thanx I did dnot know that a notebook was a heft)
4. good
5. good
6. good
7. Again I woudl reverse the words and say Is er klug? What you have is He is smart?
8. Good
9. Good
10. Good
11. 11. I would take out the word "do" what you have is There are "here" books in the home (or at home)
12.Good I did not know that is the word for potatoes
14. I woudl reverse er and tust, also I would use tut rather than tust. Tust is more whne you are talking directly to the person Di tust - you are doing, tut is for when you are talking about a third person er tut - he does ( at least that how I see it)so I would say Abi er tut di or der, not sure) arbet
15. Good
16. Ve azoy arbist di? I am not sure what (pl) means
17 Good
18 val zai zainen gut (zainen zei gut - is more like a question are they good?) (they are vs. are they?)
19. On eruv Shabbos that the best sentence to have Kugal again yes!
20. good
21 good
22. good

That was really great. Let me know how you continue to do and I wil try to answer sooner next time.

Sorry again

Thursday 27th of October 2005 08:43:23 PM
I am glad there is some activity in this forum. To me, it seems that Yiddish is very similar to German. I though it would be a mixture between Hebrew, Polish and a bit German. What a surprise this is to me :)

Sunday 30th of October 2005 11:26:03 AM
It is my understanding that Yiddish originates from German. And yes three is some hebrew and, depending on what country you are from, Polish, hungarian, Aramaic, and other words from various langauges mixed in from time to time.

I was recently told by a Rabbi that if you understand Yidish well and go to the south of Germany you would msot likely understand them since Yiddish originated with teh south german dilect of German. But I don;t knwo if this is true.

I speak pretty OK yiddish and I have decided to study German because I felt it would be eaiser langauge to learn becuase of my yiddish speaking background, and I certainly have found that to be true. I was also very suprised to find that certain words that I thought was incoprated from either Hebrew or Aremiac is actually German.

Monday 21st of November 2005 07:19:44 PM
Yes, Psyche Nymph of Norway, Yiddish is indeed so similar to German. Yiddish is the daughter of contemporary German.
And it's also similar to English, with respect to numbers ('nine' in Yiddish is the 'nine' in English)!
Biz bald. (See you, bye)

Sunday 27th of November 2005 05:39:25 PM
I would like someone to correspond with me for Yiddish (a penpal to talk to on email). This friend should be able to speak, aside from Yiddish (whatever level), English, French or Romanian - to translate the Yiddish phrases.
Hope to hear from you soon.
I am a beginner in Yiddish.
Als dos beste,

Sunday 20th of August 2006 02:28:48 AM
I am just wondering if cuz might still be here!

Thank you for answering questions in the past!
I hope that you will come back again to the forum and help more students learn your mother tongue.

Friday 25th of May 2007 09:41:34 AM
Yiddish?: I know absolutly know Yiddish, unless you count the word "Bubbe" which is "grandmother". She spoke Yiddish and hardly and English after she moved to London when the Second World War ended. My mother knew some and my father a few words but I was only able to understand little of what bubbe said. Rather sad really that I wasn't able to communicate with her before she died, but I want to reach out more to my Jewish roots and know enough at least to get by.

Sunday 01st of July 2007 12:29:01 AM
onheybers: Sholem aleykhem,

Ikh volt gevolt visn vifile onheybers fun mame-loshn zenen af dem forum?

a naye vort: an andere batayt far "forum" - shmueskrayz
lit: conversation circle

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