Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Joys of Yiddish Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 1991
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Top Customer Reviews
Where else can you learn all the nuances of the 29 different ways to say `Oy!' (which, of course, is not a word, but a vocabulary), the 19 different meanings of `Nu?' and the 20 situations where `Feh!' is the most appropriate thing to say? Or when (and when not) to say `Mazel Tov!'?
For those who are unfamiliar with Yiddish - and there are probably very few of you because it has so thoroughly penetrated the English language - it is the mamaloshen (mother tongue) of the Askenazic (i.e German, Russian and Eastern European) Jewish community, with comprises roughly 85% of Jews worldwide. It is a mixture of German, Hebrew, English, and various other European languages - I am not sure of the exact percentages but it's about 70% German. Words such as chutzpah, yenta, schlemiel, kvetch and dreck, as well as prefixes such as `sh' and `shm' (as in `Oedipus-Shmoedipus, as long as he loves his mother') and suffixes such as `nik' (beatnik, peacenik, nudnik) all come from this marvelous language. So do various lingustic devices such as scorn through reversed word order (`Already you're discouraged?Read more ›
Rosten's frequent approach is to take a word or expression, explain its pronunciation, define it as nearly as is possible, and give an anecdote or example of its use. When the word lends itself to humor, Rosten usually opts for a humorous anecdote.
For an example, I've chosen the word "chutzpah." It is pronounced to rhyme with foot spa, with the ch rolled in your throat to give the German gutteral "kh" sound, not like the ch in "choo-choo." The nearest you can come to defining "chutzpah" in English is unmitigated gall or perhaps brazen effrontery. An example of "chutzpah" is the man who, after killing his mother and father, asks the court for mercy because, after all, he IS an orphan.
There are hundreds of such examples in the book. There are also many more serious examples of words that do not lend themselves to humor.
At the end of the book there are appendices which discuss Jewish Traditions, Ceremonies, Religious Writings, Names, and more.
Rosten has evidently done his research to come up with the many hundreds of entries in the book. He has provided a valuable research document and a book that can be opened to almost any page and elicit a chuckle or two.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is NOT a Yiddish-English dictionary. It only contains about a thousand or so entries. You will not be able to speak Yiddish after reading it. But that is not the point. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Classics Lover
This is not a novel -- it is a dictionary of Yiddish expressions, which are absolutely priceless. This is the third copy of this book I have bought. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Patricia D. Fitzgerald
very funny well done wonderful way of defining words with humorPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
rather battered copy, yellowed, different from shown (different cover, smaller).Published 10 months ago by Narikomaya
Excellent service for an excellent book! Definitely not aroysgevorfeneh gelt.Published 15 months ago by UMstudent