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Say It In Yiddish

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Say It In Yiddish

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Say It In Yiddish
Edited by Uriel Weinreich and Beatrice Weinreich
Dover Publications, New York: 1958
ISBN: 048620815X

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - December 25, 2008

Say It In Yiddish is a handy, pocket sized phrase book, written by one of the leading experts in Yiddish education, Uriel Weinreich. This book is organized much like any phrase book that you might use when traveling to France, or Mexico, or China. This book covers the basics from general travel expressions and ordering in a restaurant to shopping and to dealing with health issues. Along the way you are introduced to the breadth and beauty of the Yiddish language.

Expressions and words in this handy guide are presented in English and Yiddish, and each is accompanied by a phonetic transliteration into English that allows even the most novice of Yiddish speakers to sound like a pro. Throughout standard Yiddish is used, allowing users to be understood across the many different dialects and regional variations of Yiddish.

While the words and phrased are organized into thematic sections such as greetings and social conversation, sightseeing, sports, school, business, the post office, and the seasons, they are also throughly indexed so that you can easily find, and locate any word or phrase that you might need. Information about the Yiddish alphabet and how the letters are pronounced is also included, enabling you to quickly learn how to pronounce Yiddish correctly. In total this handy guide book includes more than 1,000 phrases and useful words, to enable you to 'get by' in almost any travel type situation. In the process, you will gain a sizable working Yiddish vocabulary and learn some phrases that you might never have imagined seeing or hearing in Yiddish, such as "Can you help me get my car off the road?" and "Where can I see a chiropodist?"

Yiddish is a vibrant, and still a language very much in use. In addition, in recent years there has been a tremendous revival in interest in Yiddish, and new plays, books, and other literary works are quickly gaining in popularity, as is interest in older works. Say It In Yiddish will surely wet your appetite to learn more about Yiddish, and for those with an academic interest in Yiddish, I recommend: And, for those just looking to dip their toe a little deeper in the water, I recommend:

  • Drek: The Real Yiddish Your Bubbe Never Taught You, by Yetta Emmes.

  • If You Can't Say Anything Nice Say It In Yiddish: Say It In Yiddish, by L. B. Epstein.

  • Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do), by Michael Wex.

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