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Comment: Condition: As new condition., no marks of any kind / Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Alpha / Pub. Date: 19 January, 2000 Attributes: xviii, 366 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. / Stock#: z992174275 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish Paperback – January 9, 2000

ISBN-13: 002-1898633873 ISBN-10: 0028633873 Edition: 1st

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Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish + Dirty Yiddish: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!" (Dirty Everyday Slang) + Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods (P.S.)
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Product Details

  • Series: Idiot's Guides
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: ALPHA; 1st edition (January 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028633873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028633879
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether you're getting back to your roots or getting ready for your first seder, it couldn't hurt to get a little help with your Yiddish, and the formidable Rabbi Benjamin Blech is here to lend a hand with the self-deprecatingly named Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish. This language has been a strong influence on American English and pop culture, so even if you're a hundred miles from the nearest synagogue you can learn plenty just from browsing the Rabbi's words of wisdom. It's not just vocabulary lists and pronunciation guides, either--that would be far too boring for such a vibrant language. You'll learn why a culture that typically uses two languages (Hebrew and whatever's local) needed to develop a third, and why it stuck. There's also lots of Jewish history and contemporary Yiddish American crossovers to put the language in its context--and, given the importance of humor in Jewish culture, there's a liberal helping of jokes and funny moments to help you grasp words and concepts. Chapters on holidays, travel, food, family, health, entertainment, and more round out your Yiddish experience. If you want to gossip with your local yenta, understand Lenny Bruce routines, or get to know one of our nation's founding cultures a little bit better, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish will make you a maven. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover

You're not idiot, of course. You can serve up a mean s'il vous plait in a French bistro, live la vida loca for a night of margaritas, and manage a sayonara! after sushi, sake, and karaoke. But when it comes to throwing around a little Yiddish, you feel like a total nebbish! Don't throw your hands in a helpless "Oy, vey" just yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish is your guide to this unique tongue, whether you're tackling rules of grammar or just throwing around some key phrases so you sound a little less goyish. In this Complete Idiot's Guide you get a fascinating explanation of how and why Yiddish developed, an easy introduction to the Yiddish alphabet, as well as the distinctive sound of Yiddish, and all the Yiddish you'll need for communicating with family and friends or for bargain-hunting on New York's Lower East Side. This book contains a treasury of Yiddish words and phrases for every occasion.

Customer Reviews

This book is totally awsome!
GesherTzarMeod
Great book to refresh the little I remember of the language from my childhood that was spoken by my materanl grandparents, my mother and her siblings.
Philip D. Meyers
I was looking for a book to help me learn Yiddish phrases; hence I went with the “idiot” series thinking it would be Yiddish simplified.
Sherri in Georgia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Adam R Young on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
After purchasing numerous Yiddish language tapes and books, I have finally found the source that teaches you, not just the nouns and blessings/curses, but the pronouns and verbs. This is a user-friendly book that gives a brief (5 chapters!) history of the language, then nose-dives into the language. It teaches the reader how to conjugate verbs, eschew common mistakes, and reading the Hebrew aleph-bet (this part is optional, don't be scared!). It is superbly written. I haven't stopped reading it yet!
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89 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Honestly, I was as put off by the "Complete Idiot's" part of the title as you probably are but the unfortunate choice of title shouldn't dissuade you from purchasing this book. It's absolutely superb, well-written and informative without being unduly pedantic. Every paragraph is lucidly presented and done so in a manner that is terrifically entertaining. Rabbi Blech's sense of humour is without parallel and you really should try both of his other books - "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism". I postponed purchasing all of these titles for quite some time because I really find that "Complete Idiot" designation to be both offensive and insulting towards its intended audience. The publishers really need to re-think this concept because it's leading people to avoid purchasing books that are a real treat to read. Perhaps they might want to rename the series "The Complete Novice's Guide to ...". These are intelligent books written for intelligent people and they should be marketed that way. This book is really a relatively effortless way to become fluent in Yiddish (or at least clever enough to fake it) provided you're willing to put in a little time and effort.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Sonja VINE VOICE on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I've enjoyed Benjamin Blech's other contributions to the "Complete Idiot's Guides": The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism and the Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture. After reading these books, I was primed to learn some Yiddish--especially because it was the same author. When I picked the book up in the bookstore, I quickly noticed that it didn't have a CD, which I found odd. But with my faith in Blech, I forged ahead and bought the book. Maybe it didn't need a CD. Well, it does. I'm not Jewish, and I've never heard anyone speak Yiddish except for a few words here and there on a TV show or a movie. THIS BOOK NEEDS A CD. I guess most people who pick this book up have a bubbe somewhere that spoke Yiddish to them, or they can ask for help on pronounciation. But I'm not that person. Benjamin Blech is still a wonderful writer, and I would find no fault with this book if it was accompanied by a CD. I'm giving this 3 stars, however, because I feel that the omission of a CD for a LANGUAGE BOOK is a grave oversight on the part of the publisher.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By GesherTzarMeod on June 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is totally awsome! It is the funniest, most enjoyable learn-a-language book you will ever come accross. Rabbi Blech is completely on-the-ball with his Judaic knowledge which is interspersed within the book. And why shouldn't he be? He only wrote two Idiots Guides to Judaism, one which I have read and also highly recommend! (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture)
On page 84 he says "Ask your Yiddish-speaking bobe [grandmother] or zeyde [grandfather], and I can almost guarantee they'll be able to sing ['Di Grine Kuzine'] to you" and so I did. He was right! My Yiddish speaking grandparents got about half way through the song until they needed the bi-lingual printing of the song in The Idiots Guide to Learning Yiddish to help them remember the words!
Expect to read this book and learn the Yiddish language, culture and everything that goes with it (including why your Yiddish Mama won't let you go out in the cold without a sweater.) You will also increase your knowledge of the history of European Jews, laugh greatly (in some cases, so you do not cry) and have an overall great time reading the stories, songs, history, grammer lessons and vocabulary teachings.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By SomervilleWhereElse on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK, a little smaltzy, but a mildly fun trip into the beginnings of the Yiddish culture/language adventure. However, had I known that it was all transliteration (and not particularly well done), I wouldn't have bought it. Really, Hebrew letters and a few creative Yiddish fixes for vowel sounds and the right to left business is not that big a deal. You can do it in two weeks starting from scratch, or less. The experience of several generations of American Jews dragged to the Bimah seems to have poisoned everyone's minds about the aleph bet difficulties - small and easily surmounted. Remember, many in the first generations were literate in Yiddish and Hebrew, not to mention Polish or Russian, and learned English on top of that! Also lots of typos both in the text and the transliterations; fortunately I bought a used copy and an editorial fanatic had been through it with a sharp pencil and equally sharp comments. Sheva Zucker's Yiddish - A Textbook for Beginners, Vol. 1 or Zuckerman and Herbst's Learning Yiddish in Easy Stages are better, if you really want to learn.
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Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish
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