Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Born to Kvetch

The Y-net homepage has a caption (I can only link to the article behind it) that comes straight from a Yiddish Weltanschauung: "Tourism up 41%, Hotel Crisis Looms".

Don't come, tourists! Stay away!! Shooh!!! Shooh!!! We've got a crisis looming here!!!

What will you do while you're staying away, you ask? You can read this fine book, for starters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Nu? I followed your link to Amazon and bought the book. Why not? I'm reading Neal Karlen's "The Story of Yiddish." It's a page turner, I'm tellin' ya.

Still, Yiddish, as I knew it growing up, is dead. Sure. My parents spoke it. My dad even subscribed to the Forwards. For my parents, it was their secret language. Of course, young children learn languages just by listening. I have no idea what ever gave me away. Since I never did find friends who spoke Yiddish, either. (That's how languages die. According to John McWhorter.)

When kids speak English, the language(s) spoken at home by immigrants, fades away. Takes one generation. (Keep in mind that the kids have to use the language for it to "stick.")

Which reminds me of a joke. Back in the 60's, a number of my friends were school teachers. And, the schools they taught at had lots of Puerto Rican kids. English was NOT the playground language!

So, here's the story. While the kids are playing, one of my friend's students approaches her and says: Mira, mira, schlepp." And, ya know what? She was pointing to a schlepp. And, still my friend said no English language lessons ever stuck!

All depends on the kids. And, what they use when they speak to each other.

With the bonus? In New York Yiddish jumped the rails. And, words got included in other tongues. I kid you not.