- Paperback: 682 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd ed. edition (July 1, 2011)
- Language: Yiddish, English
- ISBN-10: 1461170028
- ISBN-13: 978-1461170020
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,588,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Key To Yiddish (Yiddish and English Edition) (Yiddish) 2nd ed. Edition
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About the Author
Miriam (Schmulewitz) Hoffman was born in Siberia in 1936. At the end of World War II, Miriam and her parents escaped the Soviet Union, spending 4 years in a D.P. Camp in Ulm, Germany. Miriam finally arrived in the United States in 1949. Miriam graduated from the Jewish Teachers Seminary in New York in 1957. She later earned her BA (suma kum laude) from the University of Miami, and her Master’s degree from Columbia University, where she has been a Lecturer for the past 19 years. Miriam has also taught Yiddish summer programs both at Oxford University, England and the University of Vilnius, Lithuania. Miriam has been a journalist and feature writer for the Yiddish Forward since 1983. She has also written for prestigious literary magazines including Di Goldene Keyt, Yivo Bleter, Oxford Yiddish Literary magazines and the Jerusalem Almanakh. As a playwright, she wrote, adapted and translated over a dozen plays, many performed at the “Folksbine” Yiddish Theater as well as at the New York Shakespeare Festival / Joseph Papp Public Theater. Outside of her professional life, she loves to read, fish, laugh and enjoy the company of her family and close friends.
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The newly published "Key to Yiddish" uniquely fits the bill. More than a textbook, it is a comprehensive work, large in format and breathtaking in scope. The author, Miriam Hoffman, is an authoritative voice in the field of Yiddish studies. She is beloved by readers of the New York Yiddish weekly, "Forverts," for her wry, witty, widely read columns and features, and by Yiddish theater mavens for her accomplishments as a playwright, translator and adapter of Yiddish drama and musical comedy. Above all, she is the teacher of, and mentor to, many hundreds of students at Columbia University, where she has been a lecturer since 1992. She also instructs at summer programs and academic conferences in Europe and North America.
True to its title, "Key to Yiddish" serves to unlock a genuine treasure trove of Yiddish language, literature and folklore. In its 14 chapters, Hoffman indulges no artifice, nor does she over-intellectualize. Readings, translations, exercises, grammatical explanations and idiomatic expressions are all masterfully interwoven and thematically and linguistically matched to the content. The culmination of the author's 30 years of experience in teaching Yiddish on all levels, this volume showcases material that has proved successful when used by teachers as well as by serious students of Yiddish. The creative spirit of Yiddish folk culture, represented by folksongs, proverbs and anecdotes, permeates the work and becomes part of the student's linguistic and cultural consciousness. The same holds true for the aptly chosen literary readings -- prose and poetry -- as well as the delightful adaptations of traditional and modern Yiddish writing and Eastern European folktales.
While its subtitle bills it as a "textbook for beginners," which indeed opens with an introduction to the Yiddish alphabet (accompanied by appropriate exercises), "Key to Yiddish" is most suitable for serious students at university-level courses and at rigorous intensive summer programs. Over the years, I have regularly encountered numerous students who credit their achievements in mastering Yiddish to Hoffman's inspiring classes at Columbia University and beyond. Now, with the publication of "Key to Yiddish," many, many more will no doubt be happy to gain the opportunity of learning from her.