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").

א shtumer aleph 
pasekh aleph 
komets aleph
ב beys 
like bear
ג gimel 
like gone
ד dalet 
like dog
ה hey 
like harp
ו vov 
like or or tune
וו tsvey vovn 
like violin
ז zayin 
like zebra
ח khes 
like the Scottish Gaelic loch German ach; used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
ט tes 
like tuck
י yod 
like y'et or internet as a vowel
כ kav 
like keep; used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
ל lamed 
like leave
מ ם mem 
like mother
נ ן nun 
like never
ס samekh 
like some
ע ayin 
like set
פּ pe 
like upon
פֿ ף fe 
like free
צ ץ tsadi 
like boots
ק kuf 
like coo, but further back in the throat
ר resh 
voiced gargle as in French, can be pronounced as root
ש shin
שׂ sin 
like seem
תּ tav 
like teeth
ת sav 
like smooth

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, Got tsu danken, Borukh Hashem
What is your name? 
Vi heystu? (informal)/ Vi heyst ir?(fomal)
My name is ______ . 
Ikh heys ______.
Nice to meet you. 
Es frayt mikh aykh tsu kenen (I am happy to make your acquaintance)
Zayt azoy gut/ Ikh bet dir
Thank you. 
A dank.
You're welcome. 
yo (י)
neyn. (נײן)
Excuse me. (getting attention
Excuse me. (begging pardon
I'm sorry. 
Zay gezunt, A grus in der heym
Goodbye (informal
A gutn
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 
A gute nakht.
I don't understand. 
Where is the toilet? 
Vu iz dos bodtsimer?/ dos vanetsimer?