The Jewish Translator https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog Adventures in Jewish Translation and Jewish Genealogy Thu, 31 Jan 2019 04:21:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 YIVO Typewriters https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/yivo-typewriters.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/yivo-typewriters.html#respond Tue, 29 Jan 2019 17:34:34 +0000 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=1100 The post YIVO Typewriters appeared first on The Jewish Translator.

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The Lost History of the Yiddish Typewriter https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/history-yiddish-typewriter.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/history-yiddish-typewriter.html#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2016 06:11:05 +0000 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=476 I am fascinated with the Yiddish typewriter. Finding a Yiddish typewriter is a bit like finding a whale at sea: though not exceedingly rare, you still write home about it. There is very little information on the Yiddish typewriter online as I write this. No Wikipedia article, no anything really, so I figure I will do […]

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I am fascinated with the Yiddish typewriter. Finding a Yiddish typewriter is a bit like finding a whale at sea: though not exceedingly rare, you still write home about it. There is very little information on the Yiddish typewriter online as I write this. No Wikipedia article, no anything really, so I figure I will do my part to piece together the history. I will be updating this article, so if you have any information, please share!

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Its here! The Yiddish Typewriter

First off, the Yiddish typewriter is not the same as the Hebrew typewriter. The Yiddish typewriter, like the language and culture at large, often finds itself in the shadow of its Hebrew brother, but there are significant differences. It is true that one technically does not need to have a Yiddish typewriter to write Yiddish and a Hebrew typewriter will suffice, but having a Yiddish typewriter prevented post-editing with a pen or pencil to add in certain accents.

 

~1922 Underwood Semitic 46

~1922 Underwood Semitic 46

Once I startled compiling images I found of Yiddish typewriters online, I see that there were many typewriter companies that made a Yiddish version. The question is, were these special order, or were many of these made? The companies who made Yiddish typewriters included Remington, Underwood, Hammond, Royal, Mercedes, Corona, Olivetti, and Everest. My favorite name for a Yiddish model is the “Underwood Semitic 46.”aImage credit Markotown, http://typewriter.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=1685  Other dedicated Yiddish makes were the Corona 3 XC-R and Blickenderfer Oriental. Almost all of these models below were American made.

The heyday of the Yiddish typewriter was between 1910 and 1940 when Remington and Underwood seem to have been both the first and the largest manufacturers of Yiddish typewriters. Remington came out with a Yiddish typewriter in 1903 and Underwood in 1911.bTobias Jonas, Praktishe metode far der yidisher shrayb-mashin, 1929, p. 9. One reference states that a young Rabbi Barnett Brickner convinced Underwood to make its 1911 Yiddish typewriter.  The earliest Yiddish typewriter I’ve seen is posted below, circa 1909. One can just imagine the impressive Yiddish literature written on these machines. The great Polish Yiddish writer Y. L. Peretz specifically requested  a Remington Yiddish typewriter in 1907 and “had been wanting one for a long time.” The Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer typed his works on several different Yiddish typewriters over the years, the first was an Underwood bought in 1935.chttp://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/fasearch/findingAid.cfm?eadid=00354p1 The University of Oregon has a late example of a Yiddish typewriter made in 1961. But the last Yiddish Linotype machine used in the United States, weighing 4,500 pounds, set the type for the Jewish Daily Forward in New York until 1991. Keep reading below for more.

Gallery of Yiddish Typewriters

I have posted here every Yiddish typewriter I have found online, showing you how rare they are.dHere are sources for the typewriter images in the gallery. Images on Ebay disappear, so no links will be given for those images. 1909 Remington https://new.liveauctioneers.com/item/43579019; Remington http://cambridgetypewriter.blogspot.com/2011/01/foreign-language-typewriters.html; Remington https://www.instagram.com/p/J2mc5Enrbi/; 1920 Corona XC-R http://collection.spertus.edu/item/yiddish-typewriter; Hammond http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/12/us/12religion.html; 1922 Underwood Semitic 46 http://typewriter.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=1685; Underwood Semitic 46 http://quod.lib.umich.edu/s/sclharris/x-jhc-r3321; Underwood 46 http://myanachronousstuff.tumblr.com/post/15652700066/yiddish-underwood-typewriter-1920s-supposedly; Underwood 46 14 in. http://myanachronousstuff.tumblr.com/post/15652700066/yiddish-underwood-typewriter-1920s-supposedly; 1927 Remington 92 http://typewriterdatabase.com/1927-remington-92.4239.typewriter; late-1920s Corona 3 XC-R http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/jb-Yiddish-typewriter; 1930 Underwood 5 http://magnes.berkeley.edu/files/underwood-manual-typewriter-hebrew-and-yiddish; 1930s Remington Portable 3 #2 https://www.pinterest.com/pin/436638126354019443/; 1934 Remington Portable Model 5 http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/135954-hebrew-or-yiddish-typewriter; 1935 Royal O http://www.kevinderntravel.com/blog/2012/09/11/paris-journal-day-7-le-marais-jewish-museum-and-bhv-dept-store; Underwood http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-underwood-yiddish-typewriter-20603351; Singer Underwood 1 http://www.fsgworkinprogress.com/2012/03/the-archives-i-b-singer/; Singer Underwood 2 http://www.kultur22.dk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Isaac-Bashevis-Singers-Underwood.jpg; ~1940 Royal Arrow http://www.uyip.org/keyboards.html; 1940s Remington Portable provided by Richard Polt http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/; 1940s Remington Rand 17 http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/picture-of-a-typewriter-with-hebrew-characters-found-among-news-photo/89075823#picture-of-a-typewriter-with-hebrew-characters-found-among-the-debris-picture-id89075823; 1948 Remington Rand http://carolynyeager.net/book/export/html/350; 1961 Everest K2 https://prminders.wordpress.com/2016/04/17/another/

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What’s the Difference between a Yiddish and Hebrew Keyboard Layout?

Yiddish vs Hebrew typewriter

Yiddish vs Hebrew typewriter

The English keyboard is known as the QWERTY keyboard for its arrangement of the letters at the top left. Using this same system, I will term the Yiddish keyboard the KORAT keyboard, distinguishable from a modern-day Hebrew layout, the KRAT keyboard. There is not a great deal of difference between the two keyboards. The key distinction is to look for the double letter combinations [װ] and [ײ] in the center. This clearly distinguishes a Yiddish keyboard. A third marker is the key [אָ] at top left, the “o” in KORAT.

To get into the specifics about what makes a Yiddish keyboard layout, you first should know that Yiddish vowels are always written out as separate letters, where Hebrew does not need to do this and can simply write using consonants. Therefore, some vowels that you will see on a Yiddish keyboard will be the aleph with a kometz underneath: [אָ]. Again, this sound is the “o” in KORAT. Two other vowels, either “ey” (as in “ape”) or “ay” (as in “pie”) can be represented by putting two yud letters together: [ײ]. The first letter [אָ] would not have been made possible with only a Hebrew typewriter. The second letter combination [ײ] could have been made with a Hebrew typewriter by simply typing the yud-letter [י] twice.  One last letter found on a Yiddish typewriter is a double-vav letter that makes a “v” sound: [װ]. This again can be made with a Hebrew typewriter by simply typing the vav letter [ו] twice in a row.

In summary, the test for a Yiddish typewriter is

  1. double letter combinations [װ] and [ײ]
  2. if there are no double letter combinations, it still might be a typewriter meant for mainly Yiddish writing, if there is the vowel [אָ].

images

Hebrew Keyboard Layout

Some other distinctions are that a Yiddish typewriter might include a pe-letter with a dot in the middle [פּ] to distinguish it (p) from the pe-letter without a dot (f) [פ]. Some typewriters also includes a beit-letter with [בּ] and without a dot [ב] to distinguish (b) from a second (v)-sound option.

royal-typewriter-yiddish-layout

Yiddish Keyboard Layout

Through standardization efforts by the Yiddish Institute YIVO, certain letters today require other lines above or below them when writing Yiddish. Not many of these Yiddish typewriters had these options. It is interesting to note that a Yiddish journal today that does not follow YIVO standard like The Algemeiner Zshurnal would be fully able to type on one of these Yiddish typewriters without any adaptions.eThere are no lines (rofe) above the veys and fe. A silent alef is placed between vowels where otherwise one would need a dot (melupn vov or khirik yud) to disambiguate letters. There is no sin-dot. There is no pasekh-tsvey-yudn; the reader must be able to know when tsvey-yudn is (1) Northern Yiddish /aj/, Polish Yiddish /aː/, Ukrainian Yiddish /a/, and when it is (2) Northern and Ukrainian Yiddish /e/, Polish Yiddish /aj/. See http://www.cs.engr.uky.edu/~raphael/yiddish/makeyiddish.html

Other Differences

Obviously, the carriage moves from right to left. In 1914 Underwood patented a double English-“Hebrew” typewriter that enabled the user to type both languages on a single piece of paper on the same carriage. I have not found one of these in real life. The few characters shown at left show this patent to be for a Yiddish KORAT typewriter and not a Hebrew KRAT keyboard. The characters also show how the keyboard layout was becoming standardized. Seemingly Underwood was adopting the KORAT layout that Remington had made earlier. 

Double Underwood 1914 Yiddish-English typewriter patent

Those familiar with typewriters will note that these typewriters DO have all of the numbers 0-9, including the number 1. On most pre-’60s typewriters, the number 1 was left out because the typist could simply type the lowercase letter “L” and have it serve as a 1. This is however not possibly with the Hebrew alphabet. Since there is not “L,” it was necessary to include 1 as a separate key.

Shifting on Yiddish and Hebrew typewriters changes the font size! If one wanted to have a title in a different size, one simply uses the shift lock-key. It intrigues me that the choice was made for the shift to act in this way, instead of choosing to have fewer keys and have the shift put the various accents and/or print final characters instead. Nice bonus however.

Pre-History of the Yiddish Typewriter

First Hebrew Typewriter? Moses Gaster's 1898 Yost Typewriter.

First Hebrew Typewriter? Moses Gaster’s 1898 Yost Typewriter.

The Jewish World, Feb. 4, 1898

The Jewish World, Feb. 4, 1898

Based on my own research, I believe the world’s first-ever Hebrew typewriter is located at the New York University’s Kevorkian Center for Middle East Studies, possibly unknown to even them about its significance. In February 1898, Yost Typewriter Company of London, under the advice of Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Gaster, announced their Hebrew typewriter, which they advertised as being for both Hebrew vowelization and Yiddish. In an interview in 1901, Dr. Gaster gave his reasons for working on this “first of its kind” typewriter: “The reason which impelled me to devise such an instrument was my desire to foster the use of Hebrew as a living language. When we go back to our own land, Hebrew typewriters will come into everyday use. But they will be used much in the meanwhile, and they will be found most serviceable in copying Hebrew MSS. I get three simultaneous copies with great ease. At the present time I am copying on it an unknown part of the Chronicles of the famous Joseph Hakohen, from an autograph MS.”fIsrael: The Jewish Magazine 2, no. 14, April 1898, p. 40 In the picture taken at NYU, this Yost No. 4 was created both with standard Hebrew script (without vowels?) and a second option for the Hebrew script in so-called Rashi script, a cursive variety (shown in black keys). The letters are also arranged in a jumbled fashion not according to the alphabetical (aleph-beit) order, like QWERTY is to the English alphabet. This order was not preserved in the standard Hebrew keyboard of today. Robert Messenger writes about the history of the Hebrew typewriter after Gaster’s Yost No. 4.

1909 Hebrew-English Index Typewriter patent

The 1907 Blickensderfer Oriental / Orient Model 8 was able to type both German and Hebrew on the same typewriter. The Blickensderfer Niagra was a cheaper version for only Hebrew. There is no kometz-aleph key to define this as a full-blown Yiddish typewriter. The kometz was a separate accent key.

The 1920s Hammond typewriter offered a non-standard Yiddish typewriter, even though full Yiddish typewriters with Yiddish-specific characters had come out previously with Remington. Though there is no double-vav or double-yud character, there is a kometz-alef character [אָ]. It was advertised in 1922 as being for both vowelized Hebrew and Yiddish.

 

The folding Corona 3 XC-R typewriter, like the Hammond, has a non-standard Hebrew layout as established by this time by Remington and Underwood. The Yiddish playwright Abish Meisels and the journalist Morris Indritz used this model.gJewish Museum London, Spertus Institute in Chicago There are no double letters, but it does have the [אָ] key at top left like the Hammond above, making this too a Yiddish typewriter. This typewriter also has all of the diacritical vowelization marks for Hebrew, making it an all-purpose Yiddish or Hebrew typewriter. The model name XC-R dedicated to this Yiddish line refers to the carriage moving from right to left. What also makes this a Yiddish typewriter is that the parts peculiar to this model are distinguished by “Y” as a suffix to the part numbers, suggesting it was conceived of as a Yiddish (and not Hebrew) typewriter.

1920-corona-yiddish-typewriter

1926 Corona 3 XC-R Yiddish/Hebrew typewriter without standard layout

 

 

The Yiddish Typewriter Layout Gave Birth to the Modern Hebrew Keyboard Layout

Which came first, the Hebrew keyboard layout as we know it today or the Yiddish layout? It’s a bit of a chicken or egg scenario, but it seems the Yiddish typewriter layout was made first. Even though the Hebrew typewriter was made first (for Moses Gaster’s Hebrew purposes), this did not have a standard keyboard layout as we know it today. Remington was the one who made their first Hebrew typewriter layout, but for Yiddish writers. This KORAT layout is the basis for the Hebrew KRAT layout in use today.

What makes researching the topic of early typewriters in the first decades of the 20th century difficult is that Yiddish wasn’t really widely known as “Yiddish” until the 1920s or 1930s. It was often referred to as “Hebrew” and sometimes with other names in English, like “Jargon.” So even though the Yiddish typewriter makers were making Yiddish typewriters, they referred to them as Hebrew, not making a distinction between the two. A clear example of this is a 1912 advertisement from a type slug foundry selling its Yiddish character set. It clearly labels it a “Hebrew typewriter,” but then provides a type sample in the Yiddish language. The only Yiddish typewriters available in 1912 would have been Remington and Underwood, but this type slug maker was hoping to find more customers.

1912 Yiddish typewriter marketed as a “Hebrew” typewriter — typing sample in Yiddish language

The creator of the KORAT layout might have been Jacob Fishman (1878-1946), editor of the New York Yiddish-language newspaper The Jewish Morning Journal (דער מאָרגען זשורנאַל). His obituary states, “He is credited with having designed the first typewriter with Hebrew characters.”hJTA Daily News Bulletin 13, No. 292, 23 December 1946, p. 4. http://www.jta.org/1946/12/23/archive/hold-funeral-services-for-jacob-fishman-zionist-leader-and-ex-jewish-journal-editor. See also https://books.google.com/books?id=Q8QMAQAAMAAJ&q=yiddish+typewriter&dq=yiddish+typewriter&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS76Px3PzPAhVJVD4KHTW1BAAQ6AEIPjAI. This newspaper printed the most amount of articles, announcements, and advertisements for typewriters among Yiddish periodicals before 1910. One reference is to an unknown 1906 Yiddish-English typewriter company “Mitzpeh” (מצפּה) located at 320 Broadway, Room 715. It is hailed as “the best invention of the century” for typing in both English and Yiddish.iFebruary 18, 1906, p. 8

The pictures above of the earliest Remington typewriters show them all to have the Yiddish characters on them. Even in 1914, when Underwood made its double “Hebrew”-English typewriter on the patent above, it had the Yiddish letters on it. I would be curious to know what was the first Hebrew typewriter to EXCLUDE the Yiddish characters from the standardized Yiddish keyboard layout.

In 1903, the year that Remington came out with the first marketed Yiddish typewriter, a newspaper reported “There is no instrument for writing Hebrew, and this fact a typewriter maker explains by saying that, although thousands use that language, business operations are not conducted in it very extensively.” jPitman’s Phonetic Journal, 15 Aug 1903, p. 655 citing Typewriter and Phonographic World It is difficult to know whether by Hebrew they meant Hebrew or Yiddish. In 1911, Remington announced it had 84 different languages with their own typewriters. In the article, they list having both Hebrew and Yiddish typewriters. But looking closer at the typing samples they give, one can see the same typewriter is used to type both languages, and specifically it is the Yiddish typewriter that is used to type the Hebrew sentence. The last word in the Hebrew sentence (chaim) is typed with the double-yud key only available on the Yiddish typewriter. This shows that a purely Hebrew typewriter wasn’t yet made. k“Remington Maxim in Eighty-four Languages,” Business Equipment Topics 18, no. 1, p. 17-19, https://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2014/02/remington-typewriters-in-84-languages.html 

 

The Yiddish Typewriter in its Peak Years

Around 1930 seems to be the peak production of Yiddish typewriters and innovations. Two points to be mentioned in the context of the sophistication in Yiddish typewriter usage are 1) alternative keyboard layouts and 2) shorthand.

1) Alternative layouts. Every language has its standard keyboard and then its detractors. In English, there is the QWERTY and the Dvorak layouts. Yiddish too had the Jonas layout from 1929. Tobias Jonas designed a layout, commissioned both Remington and Underwood to make his typewriters, and then wrote a manual to learn touch-typing with his layout. Unfortunately, this is the only Yiddish manual for learning how to type, but it uses the non-standard Jonas layout.lTobias Jonas, Praktishe metode far der yidisher shrayb-mashin, 1929, p. 9. 

Alternative Jonas Yiddish keyboard layout 1929

2) Shorthand. Yiddish even had its own shorthand system developed! Below is a sample from a 1934 article advocating typewritten Yiddish shorthand. The first line of the sample typed on an Underwood reads: “Leninism is Marxism from the era of Imperalism and proletariat revolution. More correct: Leninism–that is the theory….” (What else would you expect to be written on a Yiddish typewriter?!) In English, some 101 characters. In Yiddish shorthand, only 25.mN. Shatski, “Stenotipie: Kurtsshrift af der shraybmashinke” in Afn visnshaftlekhn front 5 and 6 (Minsk 1934), 127-138. The same article has an example of Yiddish shorthand written by hand.

Yiddish typewriter shorthand, 1934

 

Post-History of the Yiddish Typewriter

A stepping stone between the manual typewriter and computers today was the “Yiddish golf ball,” made available for IBM Selectric I and II Typewriters in 1983.nAJR Information 38, no. 9, September 1983, p. 4. The Selectric golf ball’s manual states it was designed by Hugh Denman of Queen’s University. “It will now be possible for the first time to produce perfectly aligned bi-lingual camera-read copy for offset litho printing.”

Yiddish golf ball ibm selectric

selectricii_hadar-hebrew-typewriter-ibm

A Hebrew (not Yiddish) Hadar “golf ball” for IBM Selectric II. Photo credit: Etan J. Tal

Today, Yiddish can be written on a computer keyboard using different programs in addition to your operating system’s keyboard settings. Tavultesoft Keyman Desktop offers Yiddish as one of their languages, which is what I use on my PC. A website titled “The Yiddish Typewriter” allows one to write Yiddish in phonetic English and it gives you the corresponding Hebrew characters.

Yiddish typewriter necklace

And in case you’re wondering where Yiddish typewriters go to die, you can see this image of a Yiddish typewriter that was chopped up to sell for jewelry.

How do you say typewriter in Yiddish?

In standardized Yiddish today, you find the word shraybmashin שרײַבמאַשין or (with a hyphen) שרײַב־מאַשין, based on the German Schreibmaschine. In the early twentieth century though, the English word tayprayter טײפרײטער or (with a hyphen) tayp-rayter טײפ־רײטער was used. This word made its way into the works of the American Yiddish authors Jacob Gordin and Morris Rosenfeld. Jacob Gordin refers to one of his characters as a tayprayter-meydel טײפּרײטער־מײדל, a typewriter girl (typist). A 1929 manual for Yiddish typewriters from New York used both the word shrayb-mashin in its main title and tayprayter in its subtitle.oBased on the examples I saw, “to write something with a typewriter” is “epes shraybn af a shraybmashin.” “Es iz tsugeshribn gevorn af a shraybmashin” (It was written on a typewriter) and “a shraybmashin-kopie fun … artikel” (a typewritten copy of … article).

For additional Yiddish typewriter vocabulary, here were what some of the parts were called:

  • shift key – umshelter – אומשעלטער
  • backspace – rikshteler – ריקשטעלער
  • caps lock – festshteler – פֿעסטשטעלער
  • carriage – vogn – װאָגן
  • keyboard – shlisl-bret – שליסל־ברעט
  • key – shlisl – שליסל
  • spacebar – צװישן־רױס־שטאַנג 

Buying a Yiddish Typewriter

pages-from-the_jewish_farmer

1911 ad for Remington Junior. Price $50.

Expect to pay between 200 and 400 dollars for a Yiddish typewriter online. I have been tracking the market on Yiddish typewriters since 2016, and I have found about five put on sale per year.  In general, portable typewriters sell on the lesser end of this estimate than a standard typewriter. Only one typewriter went for well above this rate ($900), a custom standard typewriter made with full diacritics.

Keep your eyes peeled for those double letters though, because Yiddish typewriters are often sold as “Hebrew typewriters.” Set “yiddish typewriter” as a saved/followed search on Ebay, and you will receive an e-mail when someone posts an item that matches that criteria. I would suggest also saving “hebrew typewriter” in order to catch those Yiddish typewriters in disguise.

Notes   [ + ]

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Letters from the Old Country: Concentration Camp 1942 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/letters/concentration-camp-1942.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/letters/concentration-camp-1942.html#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2015 03:00:14 +0000 http://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=441 This week, I translated these postcards (in German) for a client. They come from a concentration camp in France in 1942. The newly interned author writes desperately to family to send him supplies. Doing research on this Camp de Rivesaltes, this first postcard was written a day after Jews in southern France were collected there. […]

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This week, I translated these postcards (in German) for a client. They come from a concentration camp in France in 1942. The newly interned author writes desperately to family to send him supplies. Doing research on this Camp de Rivesaltes, this first postcard was written a day after Jews in southern France were collected there. The camp was emptied off to Auschwitz by November. Click on the postcards to see the full image.


 

Camp1942_1

August 27, 1942

My dear ones,
I have been here since yesterday, we are expected to keep going. We hear that we are going to be staying here in a camp for the time being. Don’t write me at this addr. Mail might possibly be forwarded. If we don’t see each other for a long time, things should be well for you, and all the best
Bertold 

[TOP LEFT:]
It would be nice if you would send my watch here certified mail. In case it has to come back.


Camp1942_4September 2, 1942

My dear ones:
We have now been here 8 days. will foreseeably load up next week. I am surprised not to have received any note from you. Send the money by telegram today and the parcels the quickest way. I requested watch shoes socks undergarments: shirts food It would be very sad if I have to travel on without all of these things. Send parcels to be purchased by express mail. And I hope that you are still home and have been spared of everything warm greetings Bertold

[TOP LEFT:]
Sitting here without socks or shoes

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How to spell Yiddish names https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/genealogy/spell-yiddish-names.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/genealogy/spell-yiddish-names.html#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:48:59 +0000 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=768 I was recently contacted asking for help with the spelling of a name for the purposes of a headstone in Hebrew letters. The name was Necha. Here was my response: “You’re going to have two options: נעכע or נעכא. You can see proof of this on the following two headstones: Headstone 1 with נעכע Headstone 2 with […]

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Spelling of Yiddish name SheinaI was recently contacted asking for help with the spelling of a name for the purposes of a headstone in Hebrew letters. The name was Necha. Here was my response:

“You’re going to have two options: נעכע or נעכא.

You can see proof of this on the following two headstones:

This is the situation where you might want to ask a Rabbi. Essentially, it would be written the first way in almost all cases, in everyday living, signatures, etc. However, before Yiddish was standardized as a literary language and taught in schools, there was a Halachic codification of how to spell Yiddish names dating from the 1800s and earlier (in the text Aruch Hashulchan, et al.) that stipulated Yiddish names ending in the “a”/”short e” sound should follow the practice of distinguishing non-biblically based Jewish names in Aramaic that would otherwise end in the Hebrew letter “hay” (like Sarah), and instead choose the aleph. For example the name Beila, though commonly thought of as a Yiddish name, is actually a much older Aramaic name and is spelled with an aleph at the end (בילא). So one commonly sees this practice of the aleph-ending (the second choice above) followed on headstones, marriage documents, and divorce documents. HOWEVER, it is almost equally spelled choosing the ayin-ending (first choice above) by those who essentially say, ‘Go with the common practice of how to spell Yiddish today.'”

 

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Not in the dictionary: Yiddish words and abbreviations https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/yiddish-words-and-abbreviations-not-in-the-dictionary.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/yiddish-words-and-abbreviations-not-in-the-dictionary.html#comments Fri, 20 May 2016 05:59:53 +0000 http://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=91 This page is an appeal to expand the most comprehensive Yiddish-English dictionary to date by Beinfeld/Bochner/Niborski/Vaisbrot. As a Yiddish translator, I find words, variant definitions of existing words, and many abbreviations that are simply not in the dictionary. I have started compiling a list, which I would gladly see incorporated in the dictionary’s second edition. […]

The post Not in the dictionary: Yiddish words and abbreviations appeared first on The Jewish Translator.

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This page is an appeal to expand the most comprehensive Yiddish-English dictionary to date by Beinfeld/Bochner/Niborski/Vaisbrot. As a Yiddish translator, I find words, variant definitions of existing words, and many abbreviations that are simply not in the dictionary. I have started compiling a list, which I would gladly see incorporated in the dictionary’s second edition.

running from the bandit Hitler

Gitler(n) = Hitler. “we ran from the bandit Hitler” (1946)

I will attempt to systematically show my proof for the given definitions, using examples from original written Yiddish samples. At the same time, I have not chosen to add non-YIVO standard spelling, or German/English words simply written in Hebrew letters. The following are words that I believe truly should be new entries in the standard Yiddish dictionary. The notes refer to letters I have on hand with the usage. If you want a copy for a particular word in its original context, I can send it to you.

Let me know what words you haven’t been able to find using the comment feature below!

New Yiddish Words

אױך – oykh

even

e.g., “Even Aunt Goldi knows this…”

shift key on typewriter

אומשעלטער – umshelter

shift key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

אונדז – undz

2. we

e.g., “Undz shrayben nisht tsu keyn kinder zey zolen undz shikn gelt.” (We don’t write to any of the children to send us money.a15.8.2, https://twitter.com/YiddishFeed/status/935707325914144775)

אַזױרימעט – azoyermet

with it (?)
comp. אַזױנאָך; alt. spelling אַזױאַרימעט
Confirmation: eydes.de

איבונגען דורכפֿירן – ibungen durkhfirn

to workout, to do exercisesbhttps://twitter.com/YiddisherVinkel/status/937375568319991808

איבערגעבן – ibergebn

adj. devoted c15.22.1

אָנברעכן – onbrekhn

אָנברעכן די בײנער – onbrekhn di beyner

to beat up (See בײן)

onshikern zikh

It’s a commandment to get drunk on Purim.

אָנשיכּורן זיך – onshikern zikh

to get drunk

e.g., “Noekh shikert zikh on.” (Noah gets drunk. – as the section header for explaining Torah portion)

אַרױסריקן – aroysrikn

to move on, move forward, further

אַרומרײַסערײַען זיך – arumrayserayen zikh

see אַרומרײַסן זיך

squabble, bicker

באַהיטן – bahitn

באַהיטע גאָט – bahite got!

God forbid!

באָד – bod

איך האָב אים אין באָד – ikh hob im in bod

I don’t care about him! I couldn’t care less. Literally: “I have him in the bathtub.”dhttps://twitter.com/jewyid/status/935986919556747269

See איך האָב דיך אין בױדעם

באָמבע־קשיא – bombe-kashe

profound question; Good question!

באַשײגעצן – basheygetsn

to scold, berate

בױדעם – boydem

איך האָב דיך אין בױדעם – ikh hob dikh in boydem

Get lost! I don’t care (about you/what you say). Longer version: ikh hob dikh in boydem, mit dayn tate und bobe. (I don’t care about you, your dad, or your grandmother.) Literally: “I have you in the attic.”ehttp://www.ivelt.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32349 , http://www.kaveshtiebel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11695&start=75

See איך האָב אים אין באָד

ביזנעסער – bizneser

pl. of biznes. Businesses

e.g., “mentshn velkhe firn bizneser oder organizatsies” fhttps://twitter.com/GestetnerList/status/934789171373330432 , https://yi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%96%D7%A0%D7%A2%D7%A1

בער – ber

מע קען נישט לערנען אַן אַלטן בער טאַנצן – me ken nisht lernen an altn ber tantsn

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. (Lit. “You can’t teach an old bear to dance.”)

 

"Kiss a bear!" Yiddish insult

“Kiss a bear!” Yiddish insult

קוש אַ בער – kush a ber

lit. “kiss a bear” = kiss off! Go fly a kite! Extended Yiddish insult is “gey kush a ber untern fartekh!” “Go kiss a bear under its apron!”

גיטלער – gitler

Hitler (Adolf)

גלײַך – glaykh

regular/plain

e.g., “er vet krigen fil mer vi di glaykhe regelmesign oyfn.” (He’s going to get a lot more than the regular way of doing things.) g16.7.2.3

גלעזער  – glezer

glasses (reading glasses, optical glasses)hhttps://twitter.com/hasidic1/status/951135528333791232

געבע גאָט – gebe got

May God let it be/happen (subjunctive)

e.g., “Gebe gott es zol emes zayn.” (“May God let it come true.” i15.25.J-Gp2.15l, 15.25.J-Gl1.40)

געמלט – gemalt

circumcised

see מילה; alternative spelling גע’מל’ט

נישט געפֿערלעך – nisht geferlekh

not so bad; not a bad thing

Vegetable menorah – grintsayg

גרינצײַג – grintsayg

vegetables

דרעליע – drelye

also דרעלע

בעלזער־דרעלע – Belzer-drele
Belzer Chassid (derogatory, lit. “Belzer fish gel”. 2 alternative meanings: They jump up and down when praying, jiggling like this food. / They might jiggle when praying, but they’re still cold on the inside (like the food).)

האַנט־קוקער – hant-kuker

palm reader, palmist, chirologistjhttps://twitter.com/YiddisherVinkel/status/946128278217265153

האַק – hak

gossip, news, word on the street (Yeshivish, commonly spelled “hock”)

היפּש – hipsh

pretty, rather (e.g., pretty difficult – hipsh shver)

הױכהילכער – hoykhilkher

loudspeaker (common on cars to make announcements to neighborhood)

הײשעריק / הײשרעק – heysherik, heyshrek

praying mantis, grasshopper, general category of locust-like insects

װאָגן – vogn

carriage (on typewriter)

װאָרט – vort

engagement party

װאַרנישקעס – varnishkes

see װאַרניטשקעס
Confirmation: eydes.de

װי מעגליך װאָס גיכער – vi meglikh vos gikher

as soon as possible, ASAP k15.22.29

װידער אַ מאָל – vider a mol

again, once more

װעמענען – vemenen

see װעמען (whom)
Confirmation: eydes.de

װערעמעט – veremet

howl15.8.5

Confirmation1: alt. spelling װירימעט (see book)
Confirmation2: eydes.de

“Zog a nigen!” = “Sing a song!”

זאָגן – zogn

to sing

e.g., “Zog a nigen!” (“Sing a song!”)

זיאַלעװען זיך – zialeven zikh

to wait, expect, watch form15.8.5

Confirmation: book – Russian translation: жадвть

טאָג פֿאַר טאָג – tog far tog

each and every day, day by dayn15.22.23

טוצן – tutsn

dozen (sg. and pl.)o15.8.4

Confirmation: eydes.de

טענצערײַען – tentserayen

dancingphttps://twitter.com/YiddisherVinkel/status/943826096788733952

טרעפֿן – trefn

to findqVery common in Chassidic Yiddish today. https://twitter.com/hasidic1/status/951135528333791232

יונגער־מאַן – yunger-man

young married man, usually in Kollel

יעדערן – yedern

everyone (accusative)

see יעדערער
e.g., “azoy vi ikh shik yedern eyn karte fun mir, azoy shik ikh dir oykh eyn.” (“Just like I send everyone a picture of me, I am sending you one too.r15.8.8)

Confirmation: eydes.de

יענע מחלה – yene makhle

cancer (euph., literally, that illness [that shall not be named])

yekete German Jewish woman

Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer. A yekete if there ever was one.

יעקעטע – yekete

German woman, German-Jewish woman (hum.)

e.g., Es hot zikh im farkleptzet a yekete a yidishe un er loyft mit ir. (A German woman, a Jewish one, got her hooks on him and he’s running around with her.) s15.25.J-Gl1.56

ישובֿניק – yeshuvnik

see ייִשובֿניק
(Jewish country bumpkin)
Confirmation: eydes.de

לשונות – leshoynes

(Interjective) Watch your language! Watch your mouth! (said in response to hearing a curse / swear word)

לעבן זיך – lebn zikh

to be doing, how things are doing

e.g., “[ikh vil visn] vi es lebt zikh aykh in algemeyn.” (“I want to know how things are.”) “ikh leb zikh zeyer gut.” (“I am doing very well.”) t15.22.31

טאָן די מצוה / טאָן די מיצװה – ton di mitzve

to have sex (hum., vulg.) (literally, to do the commandment)

e.g. חסידישע פאליסמאן פון קווינס ישיבה ירמי שאלאמאן, עדות פון וועבערמאן קעיס ארעסטעד פארען טוהן די מצוה מיט יונגע מיידלעך uhttps://twitter.com/hasidic1/status/878240071417294848

מאַכטפֿול – makhtful

powerfulvhttps://twitter.com/jewyid/status/949250745035034624

מהיכא תיתי? – meheykhe teysi / makheteysi

(Aramaic. rhetorical question)

1. What is your source? Where are you getting this from?
2. Why not?; as you wish; sure; whatever you want

מחילה – mekhile

rear end (euphemism)

e.g., feyk nuz midie kusht obames mekhile nayn yorwhttps://twitter.com/hasidic1/status/941747597034819591

karma – mide keneged mide

מידה כנגד מידה – mide keneged mide

karma; what goes around comes around

מישקעבאבעל – mishkebabel

confusing mess, unordered mixture, chaos

[Yeshivish? Possibly etymological combination of German “mischen” (mix) and Hebrew “babel” (confusion)]

נאַכט

נעכטן נאַכט – nekhtn nakht

last night

נויטבאדערפנדע – noytbaderfende

those in need; needy (noun)

נעקסט – nekst

next

נעקסטע מאָל – nekste mol = next time

נערװן־קריכער – nervn-krikher

annoying person; pest; annoyance

עט – et

and (obsolete)

עלעקטריזירענד – elektrizirend

electrifyingxhttps://twitter.com/hasidic1/status/943624030237679623

פּאַטשקע – patshke

(noun) hassle; mess

פּאָלעטאָ – poleto

overcoat y15.25.J-Gp2.81

Confirmation: eydes.de

פּאַשקעװיל – pashkevil

a public announcement in the form of a broadside or poster

פּוצן – putsn

שנײ פּוצן – shnee putsn

to clear snow, snow removalzhttps://twitter.com/YiddisherVinkel/status/949039368458653696

פּײגערן, געפּײגערט – peygern, hot gepeygert

see פּגרן, to die, dead

פּײפּערל – peyperl

paper, paper for rolling cigarettes

Confirmation: eydes.de

פֿאַנג־הײשעריק / פֿאַנג-הײשרעק – fang-heysherik, fang-heyshrek

praying mantis, grasshopper, general category of locust-like insects

פֿאַקסן – faksn

faces

e.g. faksn makhn – to make faces, be sillyaahttps://twitter.com/shtickydude/status/950933669631397888

פֿאַרױסריקן – faroysrikn

to move on/forward, to further

e.g., tsu faroysrikn karieres (to further careers)abhttp://www.yiddish.news/2018/01/blog-post_63.html

פֿאָרשיפּל – forshpil

celebration in the Chassidic rebbe’s court the Saturday evening before a wedding

פֿיפֿיק – fifik

clever

פֿלעגן – flegn

would (in the habitual past)

e.g., “…a taykh, vu men flegt zumer geyen bodn.” (…a river, where people would go [used to go] swimming in the summer.)
Confirmation: eydes.de

פֿעסטשטעלער – festshteler

caps lock key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

Evan Sung for The New York Times

Kasha varnishkes. Credit: Evan Sung, The New York Times

קאַפּשטאָט – kapshtot

Cape Town ac15.25.J-Gl1.39

קאַרטע – karte

postcard; picture (postcard)

e.g., “azoy vi ikh shik yedern eyn karte fun mir, azoy shik ikh dir oykh eyn.” (“Just like I send everyone a picture of me, I am sending you one too.ad15.8.8)
Confirmation: eydes.de

קאַשע־װאַרנישקעס – kashe-varnishkes

see קאַשע־װאַרניטשקעס

bowtie pasta with buckwheat

Confirmation: eydes.de

קבלה – kabole

resolution (New Year’s); something you take upon yourself to do; vow

e.g., “אלול איז אַן הכנה צום גאנצן קומענדיגן יאר, איצט איז די צייט זיך פאָרצונעמען און איינשטעלן א קבלה טובה, מחזק זיין אין ענינים וואס ברויכן חיזוק א.א.וו.” aehttps://yiddishevinkel.com/archives/823

קלאָץ – klots

sexually frigid personafhttps://twitter.com/YosefRapaport/status/951529671367319552

קראַצמעך – kratsmekh

קראַץ־מיך – kratz-mikh
Christmas (lit., “scratch me,” pun on the English word Christmas)

קרישקע – krishke

tidbit

e.g., “lengere artikl mit interesante krishkelekh” aghttps://twitter.com/YiddisherVinkel/status/941474765600038912

רײַסער – rayser

wannabe; poser; a wannabe person of influence

רײַסעריש – rayserish

cool, loud, ostentatious in a material way

ריקשטעלער – rikshteler

backspace key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

רעביש – rebish

ostentatious, rich, decadent, pimp (Yeshivish?)

שׂכל

לײגן זיך אױפֿן שׂכל – leygn zikh afn seykhl

to make sense

שײנע יִידן – sheyne yidn

German Jews (hum., pej., euph., literally “fine Jews”)

New Yiddish Abbreviations

‘ג – g’ – got

God (equivalent to writing G-d)

גצ”ד – gts”d – got tzu danken

thank God

צב”ש – tsb”sh – tsum bayshpil

for example

צ”ג – ts”g – tsu gesund

bye

ק”ק – k”k

postcard, often a picture postcard ah15.25.J-Gl1.17

פ”ק – p”k

postcard ai15.25-J-Gp1.2

ט”ה – t”h – theure

dear aj15.25-J-Gp1.2

‘ל – l’

dear ak15.25.J-Gl1.36

ז”װ – z”v – so wie (Judeo-German)

as well as al15.25.J-Gp1.6

Hebrew Abbreviations

This section is for additional abbreviations that I’ve seen in handwritten Yiddish letters but which are Hebrew abbreviations. These are also not listed in the dictionary.

חו”ש – khv”sh – khas v’shalom

God forbid

למ”ה – lm”h – lma’an hashem

For the sake of heaven – context: “you should, lm”h, follow the …”amKaplan will2

מיה”ש – mih”sh

God willing? an15.25.J-Gl1.54

ו – v’

dear, lovely

גח”ט – gch”t – gmar chasima tova

to be sealed in the book of life

דע”י, הע”י – de”y – he”y

Hashem alehem yichyu – God be with them, they should live long.

נ”י – n”y

may his/her light shine ao15.25.J-Gl1.36

ה – h’ – hayakar

dear ap15.25.J-Gl1.36

אי”ה – ay”h – im yirtseh hashem

with God’s help aq15.25.J-Gl1.37

א”נ – a”n – agmas nefesh

anguishar15.25.J-Gp1.3

מחו – mkhu’

my child’s in-laws as15.25.J-Gl1.39

מז”ט – mz”t – mazel tov

good luck at15.25-Gp1.14

כוח”ט – kvkh”t

signed and sealed in the book of life au15.25.J-Gl1.39

וד”ל – vd”l – vadai l’maven

as is well known; as you know; if you know what I mean

אחי”ה – achi”h – achi hayakar

my dear brotherav15.25.J-Gl1.57

כ”ט – k”t – kol tuv

all the best aw15.25.J-Gl1.57

וב”ב – ub”b – ubnei beyso

and his children

עמועש”א – emvesh”a – ad meah v’esrim shana amen

to 120 years old. Amen. ax15.25.J-Gp2.15

Resources:

Wikipedia: Yiddish abbreviations

Wikipedia: Hebrew abbreviations

Originally posted May 2016

Let me know your thoughts using the comment feature below! What words haven’t you been able to find? Can you correct something I wrote?

Notes   [ + ]

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The Four Questions in Yiddish (Passover) https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/uncategorized/the-four-questions-in-yiddish-passover.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/uncategorized/the-four-questions-in-yiddish-passover.html#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:59:43 +0000 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=1024 In talking with others about the Four Questions, I realized that there are several versions of this Passover song in Yiddish. This inquiry started with the word “ongeshpart” (leaning), which I had heard from this song, while others had heard “ongeleynt.” I have bolded this distinction in how to say “either sitting or leaning” below […]

The post The Four Questions in Yiddish (Passover) appeared first on The Jewish Translator.

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In talking with others about the Four Questions, I realized that there are several versions of this Passover song in Yiddish. This inquiry started with the word “ongeshpart” (leaning), which I had heard from this song, while others had heard “ongeleynt.” I have bolded this distinction in how to say “either sitting or leaning” below for a quick reference of one difference between them. 

Chabad (Litvish)

Sung here by Chayim B. Alevsky

Tate ich vil bei dir fregen di fir kashes:

Ma nishtana halayla hazeh mikol haleylos. Vos iz anderesh fun der nacht fun Pesach fun ale necht fun a gants yor?

1) Di ershte kashe iz,

Sheb’chol haleylos eyn anu matbilin afilu pa’am echas, halayla hazeh sh’tey p’amim?

Ale necht fun a gants yor tunken mir nisht ayn afileh eyn mol, ober di nacht fun peysach, tunken mir ayn tsvey mol — ayn mol karpas in zaltz vasser, di tsveyte mol maror in charoses?

2) Di tsveyte kashe iz,

Sheb’chol haleylos anu ochlin chameytz oy matzah, halayla hazeh kulo matzah?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir chomets ader matseh, ober di nakht fun peysakh, esn mir nor matseh?

3) Di drite kashe iz,

Sheb’chol haleylos anu ochlin sh’ar yerakos, halayla hazeh maror?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir alerlay grintsen, ober di nacht fun peysach, esn mir nor bitere grintsen?

4) Di ferte kashe iz,

Sheb’chol haleylos onu ochlin beyn yoshvin uveyn m’subin, halayla hazeh kulanu m’subin?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir say zitsndikerheit un say ongeleynterheit, ober di nakht fun peysach, esn mir nor ongeleynterheit?

Tate ich hob bei dir gefrekdt di di fir kashes yetzt gib mir a teretz.

 

 

Version #2

[Click above for source]

טאַטע לעבּןאיך וויל דיך די פיר קשיות פרעגן
ta’te lebn, ikh vil dikh di fir kashes fregn
Daddy dear, I want to ask you the 4 questions

מה נשתנה הלילה הזה מכל הלילות
ma nishtana halayla haze mikol haleyloys

וואָס איז אַנדערש די נאַכט פון פּסח פון אַלע אַנדערע נעכט פון אַ גאַנץ יאָר
vos iz andersh di nakht fun Pesakh fun a’le a’nde’re nekht fun a gants yor?
why is the night of Passover different than all the other nights of the whole year

די ערשטע קשיא איז
di ershte kashe iz
the first question is

שבּכל הלילות אנו אוכלין חמץ או מצה.
אַלע אַנדערע נעכט פון אַ גאַנץ יאָר
shebkhol haleyloys onu oykhlin khomeyts u’matso,
a’le andere nekht fun a gants yor
all of the other nights of the year

עסן מיר סײַ חמץ און סײַ מצה,
הלילה הזה אָבּער די נאַכט פון פּסח
esn mir say chomets un say matso,
halaylo haze, ober di nakht fun Pesakh
we eat either leavened bread or matza,
but on Passover night

כּלו מצה, עסן מיר נאָר מצה
kulo matzo, esn mir nor matso
we eat only Matzo (unleavened bread)

די צווייטע קשיא איז
di tzveyte kashe iz
the second question is

שבּכל הלילות אנו אוכלין שאר ירקות
אַלע אַנדערע נעכט פון אַ גאַנץ יאָר
shebkhol haleylos onu oykhlin sh’or yerokos
a’le andere nekht fun a gants yor esn
all of the other nights of the year

עסן מיר אַלע ערליי גרינצײַגן,
הלילה הזה, אָבּער די נאַכט פון פּסח,
mir a’le erley grintsaygn,
halaylo ha’ze ober di nakht fun Pesakh
we eat all sorts of vegetables,
but on the night of Passover

מרור, עסן מיר בּיטערע (גרינצײַגן) קרײַטעכצער
moror, esn mir bi’te’re (grintzaygn) kraytekhtser
we eat bitter herbs.

די דריטע קשיא איז
der drite kashe iz
The third question is

שבּכל הלילות אין אנו מטבּילין אפילו פּעם אחת
אַלע אַנדערע נעכט פון אַ גאַנץ יאָר
shebkhol haleylos eyn onu matbilin afilu pam akhas
a’le andere nekht fun a gants
all of the other nights of the year

טונקען מיר נישט אײַן אפילו איין מאָל,
הלילה הזה, אָבּער די נאַכט פון פּסח
yor tunkn mir nit ayn afilu eyn mol,
halaylo haze ober di nakht fun Pesakh
we don’t dip our foods even once,
but on the night of Passover

שתּי פּעמים, טונקען מיר אײַן צוויי מאָל,
איין מאָל כּרפּס אין זאַלץ וואַסער
shtey pe’omim, tunkn mir ayn tzvey mol,
eyn mol karpas in zalts vaser
we dip our food twice, once karpas in saltwater,

און איין מאָל מרור אין חרסת
un eyn mol morer in kharoyses.
and again maror (bitter herb) in charoses.

די פערטע קשיא איז
di ferte kashe iz
the 4th question is

שבּכל הלילות אנו אוכלין בּין יושבין ובין מסובּין
אַלע אַנדערע נעכט פון אַ גאַנץ יאָר
shebkhol haleyloys onu oykhlin beyn yoshvin uveyn mesubin,
a’le andere nekht fun a gants yor,
all of the other nights of the year

עסן מיר סײַ זיצענדיק און סײַ אָנגעלענט,
הלילה הזה, אָבּער די נאַכט פון פּסח
esn mir say zitsedik un say ungelent,
halaylo haze, ober di nakht fun Pesakh
we sit either straight or leaning backward to the side.
But on the night of Passover

כּלנו מסובּין, עסן מיר נאָר אָנגעלענט
Pesakh kulonu mesubin, e’sn mir nor ungelent.
we sit only leaning backward to the side (common sitting position of kings)

טאַטע לעבּן איך האָבּ דיך געפרעגט די פיר קשיות,
ta’te lebn ikh hub dikh gefregt di fir kashes,
daddy dear, I have asked you the 4 questions,

יעצט בּעט איך דיך ענטפער מיר אַ תּירוץ
yetst bet ikh dikh entfer mir a te’rets.
I am asking you now to please give me an answer

 

 

Version #3

[Click above for source]

טאטע לעבן: איך וויל דיך פיר קשיות פרעגן.

מה נשתנה – פארוואס איז פארענדערט גווארן.
הלילה הזה – די נאכט פון פסח.
מכל הלילות – פון אלע אנדערע נעכט פון א גאנץ יאר.

די ערשטע קשיא איז:
שבכל הלילות – אלע אנדערע נעכט פון א גאנץ יאר.
אנו אוכלים – עסן מיר.
חמץ ומצה – אויב מיר ווילן עסן מיר חמץ, און אויב מיר ווילן עסן מיר מצה.
אבער הלילה הזה -די נאכט פון פסח.
מצה – עסן מיר אלע נאר מצה.

די צוויטע קשיא איז:
שבכל הלילות – אלע אנדערע נעכט פון א גאנץ יאר.
אנו אוכלים – עסן מיר.
שאר ירקות – פארשידענע גרינצייגן.
אבער הלילה הזה – די נאכט פון פסח.
מרור – איז א מצוה צו עסן מרור.

די דריטע קשיא איז:
שבכל הלילות – אלע אנדערע נעכט פון א גאנץ יאר.
אין אנו מטבילים – טינקען מיר נישט איין.
אפילו פעם אחת – אפילו איינמאל אויך נישט.
אבער הלילה הזה – די נאכט פון פסח.
שתי פעמים – טינקען מיר איין צוויי מאל, איינמאל כרפס אין זאלץ וואסער און איינמאל מרור אין חרוסת.

די פרטע קשיא איז:
שבכל הלילות – אלע אנדערע נעכט פון א גאנץ יאר.
אנו אוכלים – עסן מיר.
בין יושבים – סיי זיצענדיג.
(ובין מסובים – און סיי אנגלאנט (אנגעשפארט.
אבער הלילה הזה – די נאכט פון פסח.
כלנו מסובים – עסן מיר אלע אנגעלאנט.

טאטע לעבן: כ’האב דיר געפרעגט פיר קשיות זיי מוחל ענטפער מיר א תירוץ.

 

Version #4

[Click above for source]

far vos iz di nakht fun peysekh andersh fun ale nekht fun a gants yor?

far vos ale nakht fun a gants yor, az mir viln, esn mir khomets, un az mir viln, esn mir matse, ober di nakht fun peysekh esn mir nor matse?
far vos ale nakht fun a gants yor, az mir viln, esn mir bitere grinsn, un az mir viln esn mir zise grinsn, ober di nakht fun peysekh esn mir nor bitere grinsn?
far vos ale nakht fun a gants yor, tunken mir eyn mol oykh nit ayn, ober di nakht fun peysekh tunken mir ayn tsvey mol — eyn mol grins in zalts vaser, un dos tsveyte mol khreyn in kharoyses?
far vos ale nakht fun a gants yor az mir viln esn mir zitsndik, un az mir viln esn mir ongeshpart, ober di nakht fun peysekh esn mir ale ongeshpart?

 

 

Version #5

[Click above for source]

Farvos iz di dozike nakht fun peysakh andersh fun ale nekht fun a gants yor
Shebekhol haleyloys
Ale nekht esn mir say khomets say matse
Ober halayle haze in der dozike nakht fun pesakh esn mir nor matse
Shebekhol haleyloys
Ale nekht esn mir kolerley grinsn
Ober halayle haze in der dozike nakht fun pesakh moror
Bloyz bitere kraytekher
Shebekhol haleyloys
Ale nekht tunken mir ayn afile eyn mol oykh nisht
Ober halayle haze in der dozike nakht fun pesakh tunken mir ayn tsvey mol
Shebekhol haleyloys
Ale nekht kenen mir esn say zitsndik glaykh say ongelent
Ober halayle haze in der dozike nakht fun pesakh esn mir ale ongelent
Ma nishtana halayle haze mikol haleloys
Farvos iz di dozike nakht fun peysakh andersh fun ale nekht fun a gants yor

 

Version #6

Four Questions in Yiddish

Four Questions in Yiddish

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Various Yiddish Types: Judeo-German https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/yiddish-types-judeo-german.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/yiddish-types-judeo-german.html#respond Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:22:16 +0000 http://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=54 This past week, a client asked me to translate a Yiddish journal written in Hungary from the 1840s. The journal turned out not to be written in Yiddish, but in German in Hebrew characters. Moses Mendelssohn was famous for doing this in the late 1700s with his German Bible translation in Hebrew letters. In the […]

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This past week, a client asked me to translate a Yiddish journal written in Hungary from the 1840s. The journal turned out not to be written in Yiddish, but in German in Hebrew characters. Mendelssohn biurMoses Mendelssohn was famous for doing this in the late 1700s with his German Bible translation in Hebrew letters. In the image at right, Mendelssohn’s German translation appears under the header “Targum Ashkenaz.” This is also known as Judeo-German. Yiddish speakers today, trained at YIVO, often cry “Daytshmerish!” when they hear Germanized Yiddish, or the use of an out-of-bounds German word. This distinction between “daytshmerish” and “correct” Yiddish usage came out of early twentieth-century Jewish nationalist politics and the desire to create a respectable, self-aware Yiddish language out of the shadow of its German father. Employing the term “daytshmerish” signals that a person should use a word with a Hebrew or Slavic root instead. (In the Chassidic community today, such distinctions are not made, and their Yiddish does have more similarities to German than YIVO klal Yiddish.) But this distinction between a German-infused Yiddish (daytshmerish) and standard Yiddish is simply a question of word choice. There are other factors involved than simply word choice when it comes to true German written in Hebrew chracters. Knowing the difference between Judeo-German and Yiddish can also better refine answers to the question, what is the difference between German and Yiddish?

How can you tell the difference between German in Hebrew characters and Yiddish?

Judeo-German sample [Translation below]

Judeo-German sample [Translation below]

I have included a sample from the journal that I am translating at left to showcase the original handwritten style. (At the end of this article, I have provided a transcription of the handwritten Yiddish sample along with English and German translations.) This is a commentary on the Torah, and so at first it was difficult to tell that it was not really Yiddish, since it started by quoting the Hebrew verse under discussion. But as I began translating, it became clear that this was German and not Yiddish. Here are some of the indicators:

1) Word Choice

When a Jewish writer of German wanted to distinguish his writing from Yiddish, he avoided any Hebraicisms to stick to only the German elements of Yiddish. At no time does the author use a Hebrew word (which Yiddish commonly does), except when referencing a word in the original verse from the Torah. In this sample for example, the author even ended his Torah commentary with the word, “Amen,” but chose to spell it according to this four-letter Latinized spelling, rather than the Hebrew three-letter word. Thus he wrote: אמען instead of אמן. This signals to the reader that author is not writing Hebrew or Yiddish, but German.

2) Verb Order

The verb order and word choice between German and Yiddish is different. Among the Germanic languages, German is one of the languages that places verbs at the end of subordinate clauses (VF) rather than in second position (V2). English and Yiddish, as two other example Germanic languages, regularly keep the verb towards the beginning of the sentence, usually in the second position (SVO). Ex. “I don’t know, why I like to eat broccoli.” In both clauses here, the verbs “do” and “like” are toward the beginning of their respective clauses. This verb order holds true for Yiddish as well: “Ikh veys nisht, far vos ikh hob brokoli azoy lib” (איך װײס נישט, פֿאַר װאָס איך האָב בראַקאַלי אַזױ ליב). But in German, the verbs in the second clause here get bunted to the end, so that it reads: “I don’t know, why I broccoli to eat like” (Ich weiß nicht, warum ich Brokkoli gern esse).

3) Umlauts

German Sample in Yiddish, Hebrew characters

“möglich wäre” (would be possible) written in Hebrew letters

This is pretty much a dead giveaway that a text is German and not Yiddish. I am not sure how common this is, as this was the first handwritten sample of this that I had seen, but this writer included an umlaut over an aleph to symbolize the German letters ö and ä. Two examples of this are found next to each other: The umlaut ends up looking like quotation marks (or double apostrophes). Here, the author writes the German möglich wäre (would be possible) in Hebrew letters, and twice uses an umlaut above the aleph to symbolize the ö and ä in those words. In contrast, Moses Mendelssohn’s German translation of the Bible did not do this.

Transcription of the Handwritten Judeo-German Sample Above

(I hope the various browsers show the Hebrew characters correctly.)

“Yiddish” Original German (if these words were written in Latin characters) English
דער ניכטס ברינגט װאָהל אַבר פֿיעלע מיהע אונד der nichts bringt wohl aber viele Mühe und that indeed brings forth nothing, but makes for much effort and
זאָרגען מאַכט-זאָנדערען %חנוך לנער על פי דרכי גם Sorgen macht—sondern “חנוך לנער על פי דרכי גם worry—rather “Train a child according to his way; even
כי זקן לא יסור ממנון. אים פֿריהלינג בערײטעט מאן דען כי זקן לא יסור ממנון.” Im Frühling bereitet man den when he grows old, he will not turn away from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) In the spring, one readies the
זאָממער, דען װאס דא פֿעראַבזײמעט דאַס ברינגט Sommer, denn was da verabsäumet, das bringt summer. Because what one neglects to do, that can
דער זאָממער ניממער אײן דאס קאן אַלזאָ װאָהל דער der Sommer nimmer ein. Das kann also wohl der never bring forth the summer. That can therefore
פּראָפֿעט געמײנט האַבען % הוי משכמי בבקר שכר Prophet gemeint haben “הוי משכמי בבקר שכר well be what the prophet meant, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning;
ירדפו מאחרי בנשף יין ידלקו װער אין זײנען פֿריהען רדפו מאחרי בנשף יין ידלקו” Wer in seinen frühen they pursue strong wine. They sit until late in the evening; wine inflames them.” (Isaiah 5:11) Whoever surrenders in his early
יוגענד אן אַנבעגין דעס טאַגעס נור מיט שװאַכען לײדענ Jugend an Anbeginn des Tages nur mit schwachen Leiden- youth, at the dawn of the day, with only weak
שאַפֿטען זין ערגיבט אָ! װיא אונבעמערקט האטאיהם schaften Sinn ergibt, oh! Wie unbemerkt hat ihm passions, oh! How unnoticed has
זיין אַבענד מיט ענטצײנדענדען בעגירדען אײן, דאַ sein Abend mit entzündenden Begierden ein, da- his evening in-? him with inflamed lust. Therefore
הער בעמערקט פֿאָרטרעפֿליך דער עקדה אונד זאַגט her bemerkt vortrefflich der Akeida und sagt the Akeida excellently notes and says
וישכם בברהם בבקר אַברהם מאַכטע זיך אין זײנער “וישכם בברהם בבקר” Abraham machte sich in seiner „Abraham arose in the morning“ (Genesis 22:3) Abraham rose in his
פֿריהען יוגענד אױף, ויחבש את חמורו אונד ער früher Jugend auf, “ויחבש את חמורו” und er- early youth, “and he saddled his donkey,” and
אָבערטע דאס אירדישע. אויך אונזער ערצפֿאַטער oberte das Irdische. Auch unser Erzvater conquered the worldly. Even our patriarch
אברהם געריטה אין אַנגסט אונד פֿורכט אַלס איהם גאָטט Abraham gerieth in Angst und Furcht als ihm Gott Abraham became scared and fearful when God
דיא באָטהשאַפֿט פֿערקינדעטע אונד זאַגטע איהם die Bothschaft verkündete und sagte ihm announced his message to him and said to him
כי אם אשר יצא ממעיךהוא ירשך דען דאַכטע „כי אם אשר יצא ממעיך הוא ירשך” denn dachte “But the one who will spring forth from your innards—he will inherit you.” (Genesis 15:4) because he thought,
ער, שאָהן אים העבסטע, שאָהן דעס װעלקענס פרײז er, schon im Hebste, schon des Welkens Preis, “Already in autumn, already the prize of the wilted,
  1. Acknowledgement: Scanned copy of Mendelssohn’s Bible translation. http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b3626686;view=1up;seq=706

 

As always, an experienced Yiddish translator can provide a professional translation. Let my polyglot expertise help you in translating your family’s documents–Yiddish, German or Hebrew. Please contact me for a translation inquiry, or leave a comment below about information on this page.

 

 

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How Yankel got his shtetl liquor license https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/how-yankele-got-his-shtetl-liquor-license.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/language/how-yankele-got-his-shtetl-liquor-license.html#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:35:29 +0000 https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=847 Booze and Jews! Rags to riches! War! What else could you ask for in a story?   This story comes via a translation I just finished for a client. They had a copy of this newspaper article in the family, but lost it. They found it again recently online through a digitized database of Yiddish […]

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Jewish ferryman How Yankel got his shtetl liquor license

Booze and Jews! Rags to riches! War! What else could you ask for in a story?

 

This story comes via a translation I just finished for a client. They had a copy of this newspaper article in the family, but lost it. They found it again recently online through a digitized database of Yiddish newspapers. All he knew about his great-great-grandfather was something about a ferry. I found this translation job to be quite intriguing. Enjoy the read!

Linguistically, the article is interesting for its use of Yiddish sarcasm (you have to catch it).

The Grodner Moment Express, November 23, 1928. online link


Yankel the Ferryman from Mosty Is Celebrated For His Help in the Polish-Bolshevik War 

To Save a Polish Military Unit 

(From our correspondent Lunner)

Kith and kin in Mosty know old Yankel Boyarsky; but if you go there and ask for him by his name, “Yankel Boyarsky,” barely anyone will be able to give an answer, because in Mosty almost everyone only knows him by the name “Yankel the ferryman”; a name he has earned after years of transporting passengers and drivers on a big wooden ferry over the Neman, which flows through many a town.

     And something recently happened to this old “Yankel the ferryman” that is now a sensation in Mosty and in all the surrounding towns.

Battle of the Neman River, 1920

Battle of the Neman River, 1920

     The story goes like this:  In 1920, during the Polish-Bolshevik war, there was a bloody battle in Mosty between the Polish military and the Bolsheviks. The Polish soldiers, because they were being overtaken by the enemy, were forced to retreat, and one unit consisting of a captain and ten soldiers became separated from their regiment at night and stayed in Mosty; as the Bolsheviks were already very close, the Polish unit was only able to save itself by boating over to the other side of the Neman in order to regroup there with the other soldiers.

     But how to get over to the other side when it is dark all around, you do not see a living soul (because all of the residents were hiding in their basements), and the ferry that is there does not have a rope so it is impossible to use.

     The Polish unit knocked on a nearby house and knew that the only one who could come to their aid was old Yankel the ferryman. The soldiers went straight for him, and although shots could be heard from the Bolsheviks nearby, nevertheless old Yankel, risking his life, transported the Poles to the other side, and it turned out that they were saved from falling into the Bolsheviks’ hands.

     It was 8 years since those events and the entire story had faded from old Yankel’s memory. We come to the events several weeks ago when a monument was set up in Mosty for all of those who had fallen there in the battles of 1920.

Polish Jewish Ferryman (not Yankel)

Polish Jewish Ferryman (not Yankel)

    Many high-ranking military came to the ceremony, and the old ferryman ferried them over to the other side of the Neman.

     When all of the officers got off the ferry, one of them stopped and started looking intently at old Yankel; then he went over to him, gave him a pat on the shoulder, and said:

    “Remember how eight years ago you transported us over the Neman at night and because of that you saved us from the Bolsheviks? As soon as we come to the 10th anniversary of Poland’s independence, you deserve a reward, and I will truly see to it that you get one!”

     Yankel, a real expert in Polish, nodded his head and the officer went to his friends. Several weeks went by when suddenly on the Sabbath, the 10th of November, on the eve of the anniversary of Poland’s liberation, Yankel Boyarsky received an official telegram inviting him to come to Warsaw immediately and contact the office of the War Ministry.

     Old Yankel, who had understood very little of the officer’s speech or about what he wanted from him, ran, in shock, over to the rabbi asking for advice about what to do because never in his life had he gone farther than twenty kilometers outside of Mosty, so such a long trip was very daunting.

     But when you ask for help, you get what you ask for — the rabbi felt sorry for the old man and agreed to accompany him to Warsaw.

     Yankel put on his Sabbath frock, borrowed a new lamb fur coat from a good friend, polished his boots, packed his tallit and tefillin and left for his long trip, accompanied by cries from those at home who thought, “who knows what they will do with him there.”

     But how great was the old man’s surprise when he saw the same officer at the War Ministry as before, and the officer asked him what sort of reward he wants for the assistance that he provided in a time of war to the Polish military unit.

     Yankel stammered that he would be happy with anything that he would be willing to give, and the officer then gave him a a lifelong liquor permit without having to pay any taxes.

     The old man did not believe his eyes and only when he went with the rabbi to a lawyer and he translated the permit to them, did he understand the fortune that he had come into.

     Full of joy, Yankel came back home to Mosty, thanking the Lord for the great kindess that the noble Polish officer had shown him.

Motele Lunner


 

Contact me if you need a Yiddish newspaper article translated. 

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Things you thought were Jewish https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/things-you-thought-were-jewish.html https://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/culture/things-you-thought-were-jewish.html#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:36:50 +0000 http://translations.nickblockphd.com/blog/?p=108 Latkes, groggers, and braided challah, what could be more Jewish than that? Get ready to have your mind blown. Latkes When I was an exchange student in Germany living with a host family, I was honestly shocked to have latkes served to me one day for dinner. Not only was I served latkes, but they were […]

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Latkes, groggers, and braided challah, what could be more Jewish than that? Get ready to have your mind blown.

Latkes

When I was an exchange student in Germany living with a host family, I was honestly shocked to have latkes served to me one day for dinner. Not only was I served latkes, but they were served with applesauce. My German-Polish host mother had never heard of latkes, and she just called them Kartoffelpuffer. For her, it was just dinner. Even worse, years later I was walking through one of the many Christmas Markets in Berlin and saw a stand for these Kartoffelpuffer. There they had two options for toppings–sour cream or applesauce. At a Christmas Market! That’s when I knew that the Jews just took this idea for themselves at the closest holiday, Channukah.Latkes - German2

Groggers

My über-Austrian friend was going over her village’s Easter traditions and told me that the week before Easter, one of the activities is that the children go around making noise with their wooden Ratschen, and the adults give them money. Now, a noisemaking device in and of itself wouldn’t be that surprising in another culture, except this wooden noisemaker is used at the same time of year as Purim (Easter’s in the springtime), as part of their religious festivities.Grogger-German2

Braided Challah

Another German friend was talking to me about the Kosher-style bakery in town and how she loves the challah. It reminded her of the Osterbrot they had for Easter. As she was explaining to me about braided Osterbrot, I looked it up online and there are different types, including a variant of our egg challah and a circular sweet bread with raisins (think Rosh Hashanah!). Again, braided bread by itself wouldn’t be so special, but it’s the association specifically with a religious holiday that leads me to believe that the Jews have just made it their own. Various names for this challah: Osterzopf, Osterbrot, Osterpinze. Challah with Easter eggs, anyone?

 

Needless to say, I have become thoroughly skeptical of Jewish traditions since finding this out. I feel justified to just start making up some Jewish traditions of my own:

On Purim, my kids in their costumes are going to start walking around threatening the neighbors if they don’t give them candy.

For Lag B’Omer, let’s add fireworks to the bonfire celebrations.

On Simchas Torah, we’ll take the drinking festivities onto the rooftops and throw beads.

And for Channukah, we’ll start giving each other lots of presents. (Whoops…)

 

 

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