The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .

These are the LETTERS OF MY THOUGHTS.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Practical Yiddish

I consider my Yiddish to be fairly good.
I have a rather decent vocabulary, especially when supplemented
with various Hebrew, Russian, and Polish words that I know . . .

Yet despite the fact that I can learn a sicha with ease . . . even hold a rather full conversation in Yiddish . . .  it still pales to what a ‘Good’ Yiddish ought to be.

Speaking to R’ Duvid in Warsaw, I could close my eyes and see the shtriemel (this excluding the fact that when a group of Polishers  visiting Lezajsk asked him if he had peios as a youth, he answered “Piyos? Ech hub
gehat miydelach!”
[For some reason, I don’t think he had either] )

Reb Duvid puts on tefillin for the first time in sixty years.


The secretary of Chabad in Vilnius speaks a crisp Litvishe Yiddish
that would put most Detroit’niks to shame.
I don’t think the problem is vocabulary . . .
Yiddish is a fluid language, it picks up words from every
country that it’s come in contact with –France, Old Slavic, Polish, Russian,
Hungarian . . . you name it, we have it. As long as someone isn’t asking to “Effen
di Vindow
” the occitional English word doesn’t hurt –it can even add.  

  . . . the problem is grammar.
I think in English, even though for the most part when I speak in Yiddish my thoughts are in Yiddish,
it’s only on a superficial level. Were I to think any deeper for a moment, it would be in my Mama Loshon.

I have an excuse, or at least that’s what I tell myself. After all,
I didn’t begin to learn Yiddish until I was 17 . . . and I am for the
most part self-taught.  But why is it that the average Lubavitcher can’t?
Most Americans learn at some point, but Israelis . . . forget
about it.
(As a side note, it’s not only a problem with us –Ger as well as several others are afflicted with the same problem)

Why is it? The fact that there are Ba’alie Teshuva, Sefardim and what have you that don’t speak Yiddish is hardly an excuse. Our children are taught Hebrew in school (at least we hopes so!), this despite that the parents may still be davening from a transliteration . . . why should Yiddish be different?

Technorati Tags: Yiddish

3 comments:

Sefirah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sefirah said...

yeah, i think yiddish should become a serious language again...one of the reasons for me would be because in HS whenever someone spoke to their parents it would be in spanish, korean, armenian, russian...and i wouldnt be able to understand a thing..and when i spoke in english to mom..EVERYONE understood...if only i had known yiddish so i could complain to her without people knowing .. like "mommmyy ccann i have chooocccoollatteeee?" without..embarrassing myself.

and dont forget my english teacher Mrs. Humphries. she thought yiddish was dead like latin..

really, its sad. assimilation can be a terrible thing..

Mottel said...

The point is not so much reviving Yiddish, but rather making it more active.
"really, its sad. assimilation can be a terrible thing.."
I'm glad you agree.