Saturday, September 25, 2010

Essential Yiddish: Part II

 
                                                    "Yiddish" in Yiddish 
I've been meaning to write a follow up to my post, Essential Yiddish: Part I, for quite some time. Not that I'm some kind of Yiddish expert. It's just that, having grown up with Yiddish swirling around my suburban Skokie house, listening to my mother give colorful commentary on everyone who walked in and out of our lives, I can't imagine life without it. Yiddish, to use a Yiddish word, is poonkt - a Yiddish word for getting something just right, perfectly, even if we're talking about my house, which is never actually just right or perfect.

                                                   The Yiddish Hoarder

The other day I was watching "Hoarders: Buried Alive." When the show was over I suddenly noticed that I hadn't seen my master bathtub in quite a while because of all the chazerai [haz-er-eye] (junk) I had piled in it. This was because I had taken that chazerai out of my closet and needed somewhere to put it. It's a constantly shifting pile of drek (see Post #1) around here, basically.

Since I was watching Hoarders with Daughter, a true nudnik [nood-nick] (precocious child), she noticed the resemblance between the house on the TV set and my bathroom. She said, "Mom, you're a hoarder!"

I took a deep breath. Instead of shraying [shrie-ing] (yelling) about it, moaning about it, wailing about it, I looked around and I thought, I need all that chazerai like a loch in kopp (hole in my head). But I wasn't sure I'd have the coyach [koy-ach] (energy) to do all the cleaning myself. So I asked the kleina [klayna] (little one) nudnik to help and Bar Mitzvahzilla, who, with all his football training, has become quite the shtarker (heavy lifter, tough guy).

And soon, though I was farmisht (exhausted); though I thought I might plotz (collapse) - the tub? Gornisht [gor-neesh-ed] (nothing). Empty.

Do you have things laying around that you need like a hole in your head? Do you find yourself using one of your kids for heavy lifting and that they have to help you now instead of vice versa? Do you have a secondary language that adds some color to your speech?

39 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I love these Yiddish tutorials! My favorite this time--plotz!

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  2. A double message....some Yiddish training and a reminder about hoarding. YIKES! Mea culpa.
    Jo

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  3. This cracked me up! When the dynamic duo of Testosterone Teens are both around, they schlep drek for me here and there. Of course, when they're both actually around (together), I'm usually so verklempt and sentimental, I let them get away with all kinds of vershtunkena (???) merde.

    Putain, those two can drive me machugana. We slip into French more often than not, and the boys together communicate in some sort of TeenSpeak that is incomprehensible to moi.

    We also drop an assortment of English language "color commentary" that may not fly in other households, but that we have not problem with.

    No about that tub. . . since when isn't anything that serves (potentially) as a container fair game in the move-crap-around story of domestic life?

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  4. I am so proud. There were only a few I didn't know!

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  5. TKW, I'm with you, plotz is one very easy-to-use Yiddish word! Or maybe it's because we're always plotzing with something? :)

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  6. Jo, what's really scary about that show is that when they bring the psychologist in and they look around at the junk they identify a them - like Christmas stuff or childhood memorabilia for their kids and they identify what it is the hoarder can't throw away. I'm afraid to examine what my obsession with shoes says about me? I need more feet? I want to run? Oy.

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  7. BLW, Oy gavult! You with the combination of French and Yiddish - you've formed your own patois! What's going on in that house linguistically anyway?!

    And, as far as the tub goes, it seemed like a handy storage space. First of all, I'm a shower gal. Second of all - where exactly is one to store a gigantic rubber exercise ball of four-foot circumference exactly? In Arizona, things melt in the garage...

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  8. Getrealmommy, I've been keeping a list on my blackberry everytime I think of one or come across one. I'll try to stump you next time!

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  9. This one had me smiling all the way through. I am a terrible hoarder. Every time I get rid of stuff I live to regret it. I always end up getting rid of something that I later need. Of course, the next time my mother starts poking and prodding me to get rid of more stuff, she is met with more resistance, since the previous time worked out so unfavorably (in my eyes), favorably in hers. Uggh. She still considers me a nudnik, I am sure, even though I am clearly a grown up.

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  10. Good God! I've got a lot of learning to do!

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  11. Robin, that's the worst - to clean out and have regrets! How can you possibly be expected to do that again? But I have to say, when I watch that show and see those people CRUNCHING down their hallways and can't find their beds or sofas, it does make me think that maybe it's better to give away imprudently than end up like that! And, yes, I'm sure you can stay a nudnik and be a grownup!

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  12. Maria, I've got a lot of learning to do too! Like all I know are these colorful words, exclaimations and some phrases, but why don't I REALLY know Yiddish? One more thing for the bucket list!

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  13. I love Yiddish and French. And Hoosier. I'm not sure I'm always pronouncing things correctly, but I think my tone gets the meaning across.

    And we have lots of stuff around that needs to go. I'm on a mission to rid us of lots of it.

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  14. Oh shoot. You are hilarious!! I will have to read this like a million times before I remember any of these words but I can tell you reading them in a paragraph, a particularly funny string of paragraphs, really helps.

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  15. Lisa, is Hoosier some Indiana-ish language? Just go ahead and write a post in it - this I've got to see! And I watched Hoarders again tonight. That show has got to be the best motivation ever created to force people to clean up their houses!

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  16. Amber, Thanks! It was hard to write and get all those words in, though, strangely enough, they fit in quite well when describing my life!

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  17. LOL Great post! I was wtaching Hoarders last night. During the show I made my husband promise me on his life he would NEVER allow me to get to that point. His response? Have you seen my garage? You're already there you just have more room!

    Thanks hun. :)

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  18. Farmisht! This post hid me like a plotz! For I've been shraying yiddish my entire life and not even known it!

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  19. Great post, Linda! This time, they were all new to me! Great addition to my vocabulary! No other languages here.. my grandparents are cajun french, so they used to speak it ( and it IS different than normal, classy french) around the kids when they didn't want us to know what they were saying. Alas, I was never taught.... I DO understand-and try not to speak- redneck fluently, though. ;-)

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  20. Elizabeth, I was just thinking that the perfect solution to where to put the stuff I took out of the bathtub is to put it in the garage! Like why have we had a three-car garage for nearly 18 years but the 3rd stall is always piled high with junk? Isn't that hoarding? Oh well.

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  21. Purple Cow, good job using your new vocabulary words! And "farmisht" is an excellent word for any mom, isn't it? It's better than exhausted - wiped out, really!

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  22. Jennifer, since I've lived in Arizona over 3 decades, I have to say that I understand a little "Redneck" myself! Your experience with Cajun French reminds me of why I'm not fluent in Yiddish - it was used to have "boring" adult conversations or to hide stuff from me. So I scorned it. Who would've thought I'd end up enamored with it? :)

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  23. I know that whenever I watch Hoarders I find myself the next day cleaning out something in the house. I love that my kids can help with the heavy lifting. Now if I can convince them that organizing is not the same thing as stuffing somewhere else...

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  24. Somehow Shraying just conveys so much more. And just when I got really tired of hearing "We need this like we need a hole in our head" you came and rescued me with "loch in kopp"

    She shrays, "If I don't get it, you will have a loch in kopp!" (Is that the correct usage?)

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  25. I love these posts and yet they make me long for my great aunts to live closer...

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  26. First, I can't watch the hoarders show. What's that saying you detest in others what you detest in yourself? Well, Freud, you can figure it out. Bluck. But your post brought back some wonderful memories of my ex-husband's dad who sprinkled his dialogue with Yiddish words all the time. "Come here, shana madela." "You're my shiksa." "Need some gelt?" "Here's a shmatta." Thanks for the memories.

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  27. The only thing better would have been to hear you read this blog out loud! I love the way yiddish sounds.
    I have my own mixture of words, a bit of Italian, greek, yiddish, polish.
    Oy vey Maria - (catholic/yiddish)
    bisi noki- (should be in Greek letter) "little ass", used by me saying let me grab your bisi noki to my kids
    schloopky- not sure of origin but use in to say such a messy person
    schlep- yiddish clumsy
    zizanio- (greek )mischievious child ,i call my kids this
    The best story is my best friend, who is Jewish, texted me last week to say that her 7yo daughter used "bisi noki" in a conversation and she used it correctly. I was proud.

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  29. Anything left lying around our house will be swept up and put away in my constant need for order and a tidy home. I have a clean out of each and every room, closet and drawer in the house in rotation and get great satisfaction from doing so. It does however drive my husband crazy :-)

    As for another language, well I have English and Irish phrases to fall back on which means an endless array of words for being drunk for example :-)

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  30. Charlotte, if I ever welcome anyone to my house like the hoarders and say, "this is my living room" and point to a trash mountain, I'll know I've lost it!

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  31. Absence - I agree that there's something very special about "shraying." A lunatic element, a hysterical note to the screaming, right? Just the kind of thing that Yiddish gets just right! And about "loch in kopp," I've never heard it used as a threat before, but, hey, why not? :)

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  32. Miz, what's really sad is that all the Yiddish talk that existed in my life as a kid slowly disappeared, either by us moving to Arizona or Yiddish speakers like my mother passing away. And wouldn't you just know, now I've really come to appreciate it!

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  33. Michelle, you're right about Hoarders. How much do I need before it's too close to home or too disgusting to watch? And very funny about how the Yiddish phrases still ring in your head!

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  34. Joely, I love your combinations of words! My roomate for two years in college was Greek and I put a Yiddish/Jewish twist on all her words. Her mother used to come down to Tucson with a baked bread called a "Hoppy Bishop," which I, of course, christened a "Hoppy Rabbi." Always obnoxious!

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  35. Aging Mommy, wow. I can't believe you're that organized! You're now officially my hero - from my favorite position, laying on my bed watching "Say Yes to the Dress" and not cleaning at all! I keep telling my husband that if we're not going to have a cleaning person we need to be organized about this - clean the house on a schedule. But he prefers more of a frenzied approach, or maybe he just wants me to do everything...

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  36. Mommymommymommy, oy gavult, it was hard to link all those Yiddishe words together! I'm famisht!

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  37. oh, I have things lying around...and I have things that make my speech colorful, but that I am trying to get rid of....terms like f*ck a duck.
    I have been using a new term for the times my road rage is too much. My nine year old gave it to me....I am supposed to call bad drivers
    'hobknockers"
    sounds bad, but really means nothing. I love it.

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  38. Chris, driving is a real problem, especially because, somehow, everyone on the road is extremely stupid except me (right?) Or, at least, they drive too slow! I'll talk to my daughter about creating a custome "frustration exclaimation" for me to use while driving!

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