From Library Journal
On the other hand, the revised edition of Rosten's 1968 The Joys of Yiddish, now the de facto standard reference on this topic, is designed as a lexicon of Yiddish words and phrases that have been, are becoming, or should be incorporated into the English language. The work explores the nuances and complexities of language, clarifying the interrelationship between Yiddish and English (Yinglish, according to Rosten). The lengthy alphabetical listing not only presents multiple spellings, pronunciation guides, definitions, and cross references but also illustrates usage with background information, anecdotes, and jokes, as well as breezy erudition in the form of tidbits of cultural history, Talmudic and biblical references, tips on pronunciation, and thoughtful commentary. These illustrations demonstrate Rosten's enthusiasm and love of the Yiddish language, qualities that distinguish his work as an ongoing, best-selling classic. In consultation with Rosten's daughters, Lawrence Bush, an editor, has updated the original, retaining its spirit and adding hundreds of new entries. The revision incorporates additional material on modern Yiddish literature and culture and updates on changes in American Jewish life and faith. Also included as an appendix is an English-Yiddish dictionary. Both reference works are highly recommended for language collections. Marilyn Rosenthal, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Completely updated it's not. And who would want that anyway? What this new edition does is add fascinating bits of commentary to the late Leo Rosten's 1968 lexicon about how Yiddish has become part of colloquial English. More than ever, Yinglish is part of how we speak, not only in everyday words like shtick, shlep, mishmash, etc., but also in the wry shtetl idiom: melancholy, ironic, furious, schmaltzy, smart. Rosten says that language is culture, and in some ways editor Bush's new footnotes give a quick overview of Jewish American life in the last 30 years, including the changes in the role of women, the rise of Reform and other denominations, the comeback of Jewish mysticism, and the rising rate of intermarriage. Bush also adds some notes about the history of Yiddish and its current revival in academia, as theater, on the Internet, and in Israel. Most readers, though, will still grab this for the jokes and the stories, to read aloud and remember and to laugh about for years. Hazel Rochman
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