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Yiddish phrasebook

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Yiddish is spoken as a daily language in some parts of America, mostly in New York City, and in some parts of Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, and South America, as well as in Israel. It is slightly higher than standard German, with a large admixture of words of Hebrew, Slavic, or other origin. As Yiddish is roughly 75% Germanic in origin, German speakers can understand a large part of it.

Yiddish is written with the same alphabet as Hebrew, with a few additional letters, and is written from right to left.

Pronunciation guide

Yiddish has several dialects which differ in their vowel sounds and certain vocabulary items. Words of European origin are spelled out phonemically. On the other hand, words of Semitic (Hebrew and Aramaic) origin are written just as in the original Hebrew or Aramaic, without vowels. In many cases, you must learn how to pronounce these words in Yiddish on a word-by-word basis; you cannot necessarily work it out from their spelling, and they are mostly pronounced differently from Israeli Hebrew.

א shtumer alef 
silent; used before ו vov and י yud when they are vowels; e.g. איר (ir) you subj.
אַ pasekh alef 
father
אָ komets aleph 
orange
ב beys 
like bear
בֿ veys 
like volume; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
ג giml 
like gone
ד daled 
like dog
ה hey 
like harp
ו vov 
like or or tune
וּ melupm vov 
used in place of ו vov when it appears beside װ tsvey vovn
װ tsvey vovn 
like violin
ױ vov yud 
like boy
ז zayin 
like zebra
ח khes 
like the Scottish Gaelic loch, German ach, or as in חנוכּה (khanuke); used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
ט tes 
like tuck
י yud 
like yet (as a consonant) or internet (as a vowel)
יִ khirek yud 
used beside another vowel instead of י yud, to show that it is to be pronounced separately; e.g. ייִדיש (yidish) Yiddish
ײ tsvey yudn 
like bay
ײַ pasekh tsvey yudn 
like pie
כּ kof 
like keep; used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
כ ך khof 
like loch
ל lamed 
like leave
מ ם mem 
like mother
נ ן nun 
like never
ס samekh 
like some
ע ayin 
like set
פּ pey 
like upon
פֿ ף fey 
like free
צ ץ tsadek 
like boots
ק kuf 
like coo, but further back in the throat
ר reysh 
voiced gargle as in French, can be pronounced as root
ש shin 
'shoe
שׂ sin 
like seem; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
תּ tof 
like teeth; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
ת sof 
like smooth; only used in words of hebrew or aramaic origin

Phrase list

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.


Basics

Hello. 
שלום־עליכם (sholem-aleykhem)
Hello (in response to a "Hello") 
עליכם־שלום (aleykhem-sholem)
How are you? 
װאָס מאַכסטו? (Vos makhstu?) (informal) / װאָס מאַכט איר? (Vos makht ir?) (formal)
Fine, thank you. 
גוט, אַ דאַנק (Gut, a dank) גאָט צו דאַנקן (Got tsu danken) ברוך השם (Borukh Hashem)
What is your name? 
װי הײסטו? (Vi heystu? [informal])/ װי הײסט איר?(Vi heyst ir? [formal])
My name is ______ . 
איך הײס (Ikh heys ______.)
Nice to meet you. 
עס פֿרײַט מיר זיך צו קענען אײַך (Es frayt mir zikh tsu kenen aykh [formal]) עס פֿרײַט מיר זיך צו טרעפֿן דיך (Es frayt mir zikh tsu trefen dikh.)
Please. 
זײַט אַזױ גוט (Zayt azoy gut.)
Thank you. 
אַ דאַנק (A dank.)
You're welcome 
נישטאָ פֿאַרװאָס (nishto farvos)
Yes. 
יאָ (yo)
No. 
נײן (neyn)
Excuse me. (getting attention
ענטשולדיק (Entshuldik!)
Excuse me. (begging pardon
זײַט זשע מוחל (Zayt zhe moykhl! )
I'm sorry. 
Zayt mir moykhl (formal) זײַ מיר מוחל (Zay mir moykhl [informal].)
Goodbye 
זײַ געזונט (Zay gezunt) אַ גרוס אין דער הײם (A grus in der heym.)
Goodbye (informal
אַ גוטן (A gutn.)
I can't speak Yiddish [well]. 
(איך רעד נישט קײן אידיש (גוט (Ikh red nisht keyn Yidish (gut).)
Do you speak English? 
רעדסטו ענגליש Redstu English? (informal)/ רעדט איר ענגליש Redt ir English? (formal)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
איז עס דאָ עמעץ װאָס רעדט ענגליש Iz es do emetz vos redt english?
Help! 
הילף Hilf! גװאַלד Gvald!
Good morning. 
גוטן מאָרגן Gutn morgn.
Good evening. 
גאָטן אָװענט Gutn ovent.
Good night 
אַ גוטע נאַכט A gute nakht.
I don't understand. 
איך פֿאַרשטײ נישט (ikh farshtey nisht)
Where is the toilet? 
װוּ איז דער באָדצימער/דער װאַנעצימער Vu iz der bodtsimer?/ der vanetsimer?


Number

½ - halb

0 - nul

1 - eyn

2 - tsvey

3 - dray

4 - fir

5 - finf

6 - zeks

7 - zibm

8 - akht

9 - nayn

10 - tsen

11 - elf

12 - tsvelf

13 - draytsn

14 - fertsn

15 - fuftsn

16 - zektsn

17 - zebetsn

18 - akhtsn

19 - nayntsn

20 - tsvantsik

25 - finf un tsvantsik

30 - draysik

40 - fertsik

50 - fuftsik

60 - zektsik

70 - zibetsik

80 - akhtsik

90 - nayntsik

100 - hundert

200 - tsvey hundert

500 - finf hundert

1000 - toyznt

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