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The Yiddish Teacher: A Method for the Study of Yiddish

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The Yiddish Teacher

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The Yiddish Teacher
A Method for the Study of Yiddish
By Hyman E. Goldin
Hebrew Publishing Company, 1993
ISBN: 0-8842-687-2

Reviewed by Herbert White - January 29, 2010

First published in 1939, H. E. Goldin's classic text, The Yiddish Teacher: A Method for the Study of Yiddish is still as relevant and useful today, as when it was when it was first published. The Yiddish Teacher is an enlarged and expanded edition of the Der Yidisher Lerer which was first published in 1924. The expanded edition includes explanations and directions in English, and also a Yiddish-English / English-Yiddish glossary containing all the vocabulary words introduced in the text.

The Yiddish Teacher assumes no prior knowledge of Yiddish or the Hebrew alphabet, which is used to write Yiddish. As such, this book is ideal for beginning students as it explains the intricacies of the Yiddish alphabet and how to pronounce Yiddish. At first glance, this appears to be a very brief book, but once you start working through the material you will find that Goldin packed a lot of information into a mere 140 page textbook!

In all the book contains 63 lessons. Most of the lessons in this book begin with, well, a short lesson. In the beginning, these lessons focus on introducing the student to the Yiddish alphabet and then more into issues of grammar, conjugating verbs, what happens when a p-sound occurs at the end of a word, and other essential aspects of Yiddish. Each lesson also includes a vocabulary list keyed to that lesson that includes the vocabulary words in Yiddish, and in English translation and Yiddish transliteration. This is the only place in the text where transliteration is used. Following the vocabulary list, Goldin moves right on to the exercises which consist primarily translating text from Yiddish in English, and from English into Yiddish. Although an answer key is not provided, diligent students will quickly get a feel for the correctness of their own translations.

The Yiddish Teacher is a serious text, for serious students, and it provides an excellent introduction to the Yiddish language. It is suitable for use by both high school students and adults, and it provides you with a solid foundation upon which to continue your Yiddish studies, either in a classroom setting or on your own.

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