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A Yidisher Pop

Snooki, Levi, and a lesson in Yiddish

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This week’s installment is about being and having, tanning and loving, new mammals and irate mothers-in-law. Let’s get right to it:

A Yidisher Pop

זי איז שיין, זי איז קלוג, און אַ ביסעלע מעוברת. וואָס איז אַזוי שלעכט, פֿאָקס?

Transliteration: Zi iz sheyn, zi iz klug, un a bisele meuveres. Vos iz azoy shlekht, Fox?

Meaning: She is beautiful, she is smart, and she is a little pregnant. What’s the problem, Fox?

A Yidisher Pop

זיי טרינקען, רייכערן, ברענען זיך — אַ מלאכה! פֿאַר געלט באַקוּמט מען אַלץ אַָבער ניט קיין שכל.

Transliteration: Zey trinken, reykhern, brenen zikh–a melokhe! Far gelt bakumt men alts ober nit keyn seykhl.

Meaning: They drink, smoke, and tan–what a job! For money you get anything, except for brains.

A Yidisher Pop

קענט איר אויסזען ווי איך? ניין, זאָגט ער. קענט איר שמעקן ווי איך? יאָ, זאָגט ער. אָבער, מיר פֿרעגן אייַך: ווער וויל טאַקע שמעקן ווי אַלטע געווירצן?

Transliteration: Kent ir oyszen vi ikh? Neyn, zogt er. Kent ir shmekn vi ikh? Yo, zogt er. Ober, mir fregn aykh: ver vil take shmekn vi alte gevirtsn?

Meaning: Can you look like me? No. Can you smell like me? Yes. But we ask you: Who wants to smell like old spices?

A Yidisher Pop

סוף-כל-סוף, אַ פֿייַנע משפּחהלע! ליוואַי, געדענק אַז דייַן באַוווּסטע שוויגער האַלט אַ ביקס אין האַנט.

Transliteration: Sof-kol-sof, a fayne mishpokhele! Levi, gedenk az dayn bavuste shviger halt a biks in hant.

Meaning: Finally, a nice little family! Levi, remember your famous mother-in-law has a shotgun.

A Yidisher Pop

אין סכּנה… אָבער אַז מען לעבט דערלעבט מען! געטראָפֿן דעם שלאַנקן-פּיצעלע-לאָריס. קוּקט אויף זייַנע אויגן: ער וווּנדערט זיך מער אויף אוּנדז.

Transliteration: In sakone…ober az men lebt derlebt men! Getrofn dem shlankn-pitsele-loris. Kukt af zayne oygn: er vundert zikh mer oif undz.

Meaning: Endangered…but eventually one sees it all. We found the slender, little Loris. Look at his eyes: he’s more surprised than we are.


Two basic verbs that will come in handy when we learn past tense next week: to have האָבן and to be זייַן.

With the Jersey Shore girls in mind:

I have clothes — איך האָב קליידער
You have cigarettes – דוּ האסָט פּאַפּיראָסן
She has jewelry – זי האָט צירוּנג
We dislike them – מיר האָבן זיי פֿייַנט
You love them – איר האָט זיי ליב
They have made fools of themselves – זיי האָבן זיך באַנאַרעשט

And the verb “to be”? As Mr. Old Spice may put it:

I am handsome – איך בין שיין
You are jealous – דוּ ביסט מיר מקנא
He is half-naked – ער איז האַלב-נאַקעט
We are taken – מיר זייַנען פֿאַרכאַפּט
You are not modest – איר זייַט ניט באַשיידן
They sell Old Spice and they’re happy – זיי פֿאַרקויפֿן אָלד ספּייַס אוּן זייַנען צוּפֿרידן

Want a bit of homework? Look for Yiddish words borrowed from Hebrew; they’re pronounced a bit differently, but you can easily find them…

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iris says:

it is one of the most wonderfull thoughts.
it gives me a great joy to read and learn yiddish through tablet .
i am waiting every week for that chapter.
what can i say-א אימיסער נעכס
well done.

gill katz says:

LOVE it!

Rachel says:

Superb! I’m a total fan.

Just a minor quibble: מעוברת
is really Hebrew. The Yiddish word for pregnant, AFAIK, is

Adina and Alyssa says:

Delighted to receive mail from our readers! We can unfortunately not address all comments… but here a little note:
For our first reader today: emeser nakhes is the
correct transliteration of this expression. For our third reader: Yiddish incorporates many Hebrew words; while shvangern is correct, our choice is indeed used widely in Yiddish to imply a more ironic tone. One could
also use trogn, by the way.
Please keep writing…we enjoy your notes.

Who could have imaginet a YIDDISHER POP? Only Tablet and it´s writers! I am delighted and grateful.

Who could have imagined a YIDDISHER POP? Only Tablet and it´s writers! I am delighted and grateful.

Can Susy say “redundant” in Yiddish?

Shim says:

Dus is a fargenign!

Rachel says:

So much fun! Looking forward to next week already.

elyeh says:

It would be nice to have a link to the previous ones. A dank.

Yes Jay,you are wright. It was a mistake, sorry!
Redundant in Yiddish means,”Iberick¨.

Daniel says:

Thanks for giving me a chance to practice the little Yiddish I still remmeber and learn new ways to use it.
Great work!


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A Yidisher Pop

Snooki, Levi, and a lesson in Yiddish

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