Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Yenem ist meshigga

Mrs. Ritchie is about to start singing in Yiddish.
Dor tzu voinen ist a fergenegen.....A karnatzaleh? A meshuggineh oysvorfeneh kurveh!
It's rather hard to rock in Germanic languages (Sie Liebt Dich notwithstanding), and of course Yiddish is largely Germanic and Slavic, with a bit of Hebrew in the mix. Hebrew itself is a bit tougher to rock in, but in the wildest coincidence the prayer Adon Olam can successfully be chanted to Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" (with the delicious side effect of seeing clergy flummoxed). 
However, Yiddish is also a cultural thing, and has a pretty wide variation in pronunciation. People from Bialystok would say the word genug ("enough") with a different inflection than someone from the Galicia area of Poland (I've heard Galitzianers pronounce the word  almost like "geneeg"). It's a very expressive language, and not exactly one you just pick up. There's a reason why it's referred to as "mama loshen" - it's a language spoken at home with parents and friends. While almost everyone knows a few words in it, it's not something you just suddenly start doing dance numbers in, unless you're singing "Rumania Rumania" to some seniors in a Florida condo.


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