Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yiddish Word of the Day

Last week, before the Oy Vey Van bit the dust, Karl, our office postal carrier inquired about my license plate. Karl mentioned that he had heard that term before but did not know the origin or meaning. Jeff offered an explanation, and Karl was hooked. He asked Jeff to teach him a new Yiddish word every day as he came into the office to deliver the mail.

I know, I know, it is all too Cliffy Clavin, but if you met Karl in person you would realize he is just fascinated with all things words and knowledge. Karl is Jeff's student now, and the daily mail delivery has just gotten a bit more interesting.

Jeff types up a word, the phonetic spelling, definition, and a sample sentence on top of the pile of outgoing mail. Everyday, Karl leaves the mail, and takes the new word with him on a piece of copy paper. I am sure he studies these in his spare time, and is saving them in a binder. He is that kind of guy.

From that experience, I got the idea to post a Yiddish word of the day on the blog. For my non Jewish readers this will be a linguistic lesson, and for those who have Yiddish speaking ancestors, it can be a refresher course.

Since I have a tendency to throw Yiddish words into my everyday conversations, this may prove helpful in answering random Jeopardy questions, understanding various dialogue during Curb Your Enthusiasm, or expanding your ability to converse when in Boca Raton.

Here are a few of the words Jeff gave to Karl this week. If you double click on the images you will be able to read them more clearly.

Going forward, I will be adding the Yiddish Word of the day to the bottom of my posts, and Jeff will be able to lift the lesson for his own student. Having Jeff teach Karl Yiddish, is like the blind leading the blind.

Here are three basic words to get the ball rolling. Before Rosh Hashana you will be fluent.

Oy Vey was just the beginning.

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