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Yiddish phrasebook

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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 Eastern Europeand South America,as well as in Israel. It is slightly higher than standard German, with a large admixture of words of Hebrew, Slavic, or unknown 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, and is written from right to left.

Pronunciation guide

The Hebrew alphabet consists entirely of consonants, though some are used as vowels in Yiddish. Hebrew words in which these are consonants are spelled with them as consonants in Yiddish. A few of the vowel points are used in Yiddish to distinguish e.g. a and o.

Yiddish and Ashkenazi Hebrew have some differences from Sephardi and Israeli Hebrew: some a became o (German as well as Hebrew words, e.g. vos "what", olom "world, age"), and th became t in Sephardi, but s in Ashkenazi (beys "house").

In contrast to Hebrew which indicates the stop allophone of בגדכפת with a dot, Yiddish indicates the fricative allophone with a horizontal line.

Five letters (מנצפכ) have a different form at the end of a word (םןץףך, respectively). These are named by adding סופית (sow-FEET) "final" to the name of the letter, e.g. נון סופית.

א aleph 
father, sort, or silent
ב beth 
like bear or maven
ג gimel 
like gone
ד daleth 
like dude
ה he 
like harp; silent at the end of a word, unless it has a dot in it
ו vav 
like violin; also or or tune when used as a vowel
ז zayin 
like zany
ח cheth 
voiceless gargle, i.e. like the scotish loch
ט teth 
like tuck
י yod 
like yet; also say or honey when used as a vowel
כ ך kaph 
like keep, or halfway between keep and heap
ל lamedh 
like leave
מ ם mem 
like mother
נ ן nun 
like never
ס samekh 
like some
ע ayin 
as in set or listen
פ ף pe 
like upon or loofa
צ ץ tsadi 
like boots
ק qoph 
like coo, but further back in the throat
ר resh 
voiced gargle as in French
ש sin, shin 
like shoot or seem
ת tav 
like teeth or juice

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.


sholem-aleykhem. (שלום-עליכם)
Hello (to you) (in response to a "Hello"). 
aleykhem-sholem (עליכמ־שלום)
How are you? 
Vus makhstu? (informal)/ Vus makht ir? (formal)
Fine, thank you. 
Gut, a dank
What is your name? 
Vi heystu? (informal)/ Vi heyst ir?(fomal)
My name is ______ . 
Ikh heys ______.
Nice to meet you. 
Zayt azoy gut (lit: Be so good as to...)/ Ikh bet dir (lit:I beg of you)
Thank you. 
A dank.
You're welcome. 
yo (יא)
neyn. (נײן)
Excuse me. (getting attention
Excuse me. (begging pardon
I'm sorry. 
Goodbye (informal
I can't speak Yiddish [well]. 
Ikh ken nisht reden Yidish (gut).
Do you speak English? 
Redstu English? (informal)/ Redt ir English? (formal)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Good morning. 
Guten morgen.
Good evening. 
Guten ovent.
Good night. 
Good night (to sleep
A gute nakht.
I don't understand. 
Where is the toilet? 
Vu iz dos bodtsimer?/ dos vanetsimer?