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Difference between revisions of "Yiddish phrasebook"

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Yiddish phrasebook

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(Not Yiddish but Hebrew)
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; I don't understand. : איך פֿאַרשטײ נישט (ikh farshtey nisht)
; 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?
; Where is the toilet? : װוּ איז דער באָדצימער/דער װאַנעצימער Vu iz der bodtsimer?/ der vanetsimer?
Left: Sefarad - Right: Askhenaz
½ - halasikh ( halb + hetsi ) / halbeh
0 - nelfasah ( null + efes ) / nullah
1 - enkhath ( eins + ahat ) / ennah
2 - zwashtaym ( zwei + shtayim ) / zwash
3 - dreykhshalom ( drei + shalosh ) / dresh
4 - wekharbaakh ( vier + arbah )  / wakh
5 - fihamash ( fünf + hamesh ) / fish
6 - sekhesh ( sechs + shesh ) / sekh
7 - sibwanzakh ( sieben + sheva ) / sibwah
8 - asseksamonah ( acht + shmoneh ) / assah
9 - nuythtakkah ( neun + tesha ) / naih
10 - zehasar ( zehn + eser ) / zaah
11 - elfakth'asiran ( elf + ahatesreh ) / alah
12 - zwalfhah'shtam-asiran ( zwölf + shtamesreh ) / zweshah
18 - assahn'shmonkh-asiran ( achtzehn + shmonahesreh ) / aszeh
20 - zwashzeh'askhiram ( zwanzig + esrim ) / zweshukh
25 - fihamashan-zwashzehu'askhirammah ( fünfundzwanzig + esrimwehamesh ) / fishunzweshukh
30 - draykzeh'saloshiram ( dreizig + sloshim ) / droshah
40 - wekharzeh'arbaakhim ( vierzig + arbaim ) / wakzyah
50 - fikhzeh'hamaskam ( fünfzig + hameshim ) / fizkhah
100 - khundmeeyah ( hundert + meah ) / khundard
200 - zweshundarkh'matyah ( zweihundert + matayim ) / zweshundard
500 - fikhundarkh'hamashmeeytkh ( fünfhundert + hameshmeot ) / fishundard ( or "fiysundard" )
1000 - dawsaf ( tausend + elef ) / tawseh

Revision as of 23:16, 14 October 2009

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 pronounciation is different from German or Israeli Hebrew. Words of European origin are spelled out, similar to most European languages, and can be said as they are spelled. 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; you cannot necessarily work it out from their spelling, and they are mostly pronounced differently from Israeli Hebrew.

Take note that most native speakers do not use most of the diacritical marks. For example, both "אַ" and "אָ" are usually written as "א". While "ײַ" is almost always written as "ײ". In the latter case, this makes sense, as words represented here as "ey" or "ay" are often pronounced slightly differently from dialect to dialect.

Furthermore, "פֿ" is almost always written as "פ", because there is a dot in "פּ" to distinguish it.

The dots used to distinguish "ייִ" from "ײ" are often replaced with an "א" as in "װאו" rather than "װוּ" which is somewhat clumsy visually.

All these differences represent standardised YIVO orthography versus the more widely employed "Modern Standard", other variations exist.

א shtumer alef 
silent; used before ו vov and י yud when they are vowels; e.g. איר (ir) you subj.
אַ pasekh alef 
אָ komets aleph 
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 
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.


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.)
זײַט אַזױ גוט (Zayt azoy gut.)
Thank you. 
אַ דאַנק (A dank.)
You're welcome 
נישטאָ פֿאַרװאָס (nishto farvos)
יאָ (yo)
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].)
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?
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?