Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

A Yidisher Pop

Snooki, Levi, and a lesson in Yiddish

Print Email

This week’s installment is about being and having, tanning and loving, new mammals and irate mothers-in-law. Let’s get right to it:

A Yidisher Pop


זי איז שיין, זי איז קלוג, און אַ ביסעלע מעוברת. וואָס איז אַזוי שלעכט, פֿאָקס?

Transliteration: Zi iz sheyn, zi iz klug, un a bisele meuveres. Vos iz azoy shlekht, Fox?

Meaning: She is beautiful, she is smart, and she is a little pregnant. What’s the problem, Fox?

A Yidisher Pop


זיי טרינקען, רייכערן, ברענען זיך — אַ מלאכה! פֿאַר געלט באַקוּמט מען אַלץ אַָבער ניט קיין שכל.

Transliteration: Zey trinken, reykhern, brenen zikh–a melokhe! Far gelt bakumt men alts ober nit keyn seykhl.

Meaning: They drink, smoke, and tan–what a job! For money you get anything, except for brains.

A Yidisher Pop


קענט איר אויסזען ווי איך? ניין, זאָגט ער. קענט איר שמעקן ווי איך? יאָ, זאָגט ער. אָבער, מיר פֿרעגן אייַך: ווער וויל טאַקע שמעקן ווי אַלטע געווירצן?

Transliteration: Kent ir oyszen vi ikh? Neyn, zogt er. Kent ir shmekn vi ikh? Yo, zogt er. Ober, mir fregn aykh: ver vil take shmekn vi alte gevirtsn?

Meaning: Can you look like me? No. Can you smell like me? Yes. But we ask you: Who wants to smell like old spices?

A Yidisher Pop


סוף-כל-סוף, אַ פֿייַנע משפּחהלע! ליוואַי, געדענק אַז דייַן באַוווּסטע שוויגער האַלט אַ ביקס אין האַנט.

Transliteration: Sof-kol-sof, a fayne mishpokhele! Levi, gedenk az dayn bavuste shviger halt a biks in hant.

Meaning: Finally, a nice little family! Levi, remember your famous mother-in-law has a shotgun.

A Yidisher Pop


אין סכּנה… אָבער אַז מען לעבט דערלעבט מען! געטראָפֿן דעם שלאַנקן-פּיצעלע-לאָריס. קוּקט אויף זייַנע אויגן: ער וווּנדערט זיך מער אויף אוּנדז.

Transliteration: In sakone…ober az men lebt derlebt men! Getrofn dem shlankn-pitsele-loris. Kukt af zayne oygn: er vundert zikh mer oif undz.

Meaning: Endangered…but eventually one sees it all. We found the slender, little Loris. Look at his eyes: he’s more surprised than we are.

Lesson:

Two basic verbs that will come in handy when we learn past tense next week: to have האָבן and to be זייַן.

With the Jersey Shore girls in mind:

I have clothes — איך האָב קליידער
You have cigarettes – דוּ האסָט פּאַפּיראָסן
She has jewelry – זי האָט צירוּנג
We dislike them – מיר האָבן זיי פֿייַנט
You love them – איר האָט זיי ליב
They have made fools of themselves – זיי האָבן זיך באַנאַרעשט

And the verb “to be”? As Mr. Old Spice may put it:

I am handsome – איך בין שיין
You are jealous – דוּ ביסט מיר מקנא
He is half-naked – ער איז האַלב-נאַקעט
We are taken – מיר זייַנען פֿאַרכאַפּט
You are not modest – איר זייַט ניט באַשיידן
They sell Old Spice and they’re happy – זיי פֿאַרקויפֿן אָלד ספּייַס אוּן זייַנען צוּפֿרידן

Want a bit of homework? Look for Yiddish words borrowed from Hebrew; they’re pronounced a bit differently, but you can easily find them…

Print Email
iris says:

it is one of the most wonderfull thoughts.
it gives me a great joy to read and learn yiddish through tablet .
i am waiting every week for that chapter.
what can i say-א אימיסער נעכס
well done.

gill katz says:

LOVE it!

Rachel says:

Superb! I’m a total fan.

Just a minor quibble: מעוברת
is really Hebrew. The Yiddish word for pregnant, AFAIK, is
שוואַנגער

Adina and Alyssa says:

Delighted to receive mail from our readers! We can unfortunately not address all comments… but here a little note:
For our first reader today: emeser nakhes is the
correct transliteration of this expression. For our third reader: Yiddish incorporates many Hebrew words; while shvangern is correct, our choice is indeed used widely in Yiddish to imply a more ironic tone. One could
also use trogn, by the way.
Please keep writing…we enjoy your notes.

Who could have imaginet a YIDDISHER POP? Only Tablet and it´s writers! I am delighted and grateful.

Who could have imagined a YIDDISHER POP? Only Tablet and it´s writers! I am delighted and grateful.

Can Susy say “redundant” in Yiddish?

Shim says:

Dus is a fargenign!

Rachel says:

So much fun! Looking forward to next week already.

elyeh says:

It would be nice to have a link to the previous ones. A dank.

Yes Jay,you are wright. It was a mistake, sorry!
Redundant in Yiddish means,”Iberick¨.

Daniel says:

Thanks for giving me a chance to practice the little Yiddish I still remmeber and learn new ways to use it.
Great work!

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

A Yidisher Pop

Snooki, Levi, and a lesson in Yiddish

More on Tablet:

Why You Should Watch ‘Funny Girl’

By Isabel Fattal — Rediscovering the relevance of a Streisand classic