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Basic Yiddish: A Grammar and Workbook

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Basic Yiddish: A Grammar and Workbook

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Basic Yiddish
A Grammar and Workbook
By Rebecca Margolis
Routledge Grammar Workbooks)
Routledge, (2011)
ISBN: 978-0-415-55522-7

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - March 21, 2012

Basic Yiddish: A Grammar and Workbook is one of the books in the Routledge Grammar Workbooks series and it is intended for use as a workbook by beginning students of Modern Yiddish and as a reference book by more advanced students. Written by Rebecca Margolis, an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, this workbook is suitable for use in a classroom setting, as well as by independent learners. Of particular interest to independent learners, an answer key to all the exercises has been included!

Basic Yiddish was designed to be used as a supplemental text to other Yiddish textbooks and it is ideally suited for uses alongside of beginning or introductory Yiddish textbooks such as Colloquial Yiddish by Lily Kahn, Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture by Sheva Zucker, or College Yiddish by Uriel Weinreich. It can, however, be used alone as an introductory text on Standard Yiddish if you are already familiar with the Yiddish alphabet and can already read printed Yiddish.

The purpose of this workbook is to give students a solid foundation in Standard Yiddish grammar, and to provide them with ample exercises to reinforce and test their knowledge of the grammatical points touched upon in this text and their primary Yiddish textbooks. Each chapter begins with grammatical lessons, followed by numerous examples that illustrate the points delineated in the lesson, along with a plethora of exercises based upon the information expounded upon in each chapter.

Throughout, the lessons are short, concise, and easy to follow. While a firm understanding of English grammar will be of help, Margolis provides enough information and uses jargon free terms that enable even those with a shaky grasp of English grammar to understand the material and to acquire a firm grasp of Yiddish grammar.

In all, there are twenty-five chapters in this short book. They start with the basics such as nouns and verbs, before moving onto more advanced topics such as Yiddish word order, cases, declensions of nouns and pronouns, past and future tenses, verb prefixes and noun suffixes, and much, much more... Vocabulary lists are not included, but most students will find that they have already acquired the necessary vocabulary from their primary textbook. If you come across a word you are not familiar with, you will find that the author has included a handy glossary of vocabulary used in this text, which you can refer to if necessary.

Basic Yiddish is a practical and edifying book that is a boon to Yiddish students at all levels of study, both in and out of the classroom who are looking to learn or review the fundamentals of Standard Yiddish grammar.

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