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Maven, schmooze, schlock, kvetch, nosh: they're just a few of the Yiddish-origin words that have made their way into American dictionaries. Tracing the history of the Jewish lingua franca not only from a linguistic perspective, but from a cultural, religious and societal viewpoint as well, this spirited and informative reference offers readers a foundation for understanding the myriad facets of Yiddish culture. (The title, the authors say, means a "crazy-quilt guide to Yiddish," not to mention a Yiddish bestiary.) There are entries on shtetl life, Yiddish proverbs and blessings, klezmer and Yiddlish (words that sound Yiddish but aren't), as well as traditional Yiddish recipes and a slew of Yiddish jokes interspersed throughout the more factual segments describing Yiddish theater, literature and music. The authors, who "love this strangely beautiful language full of humor and pathos," are enthusiastic guides, and this motley exposition is a fun and entertaining crash course in everything it means to be Yiddish.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Simon & Schuster
August 25, 2002
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