Page 25 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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— Y
idd ish
e x ico g r a ph y
is ausnosen* ‘to go out—ausholekhn, ‘to suffer’—ausomedn, ‘to
suffer much’ is harbe ausomedn, ‘to discover’—yodea verdn. These
Hebraisms are generally forced into a German form and some­
times violence is done to them in the process. If ‘good’ is tov,
‘better’ is tover and ‘the best’ is der toveste. Similarly, i f ‘much’
is harbe, ‘more’ is harbener. A fisher becomes a dogimer, a m iller
—rekhayimer, a scribe—kasvener, a shoemaker—minalemer and
a beloved woman—ohevshe. Frequently these Hebraisms are
mechanical translations from the German, showing u tter dis­
regard for Hebrew syntax or for the spirit of the Hebrew lan­
guage. Thus a ‘neckerchief’ is zavarbeged, a ‘man’s garment’—
ish malbush and ‘hard money’—koshe moes.
Hebraisms in Yiddish
In 1750 appeared W . C. J . Chrysander’s Judisch-Teutsche
Grammatik (Leipzig and Wolfenbiittel), a small booklet, ha lf of
which is devoted to a list of Hebraisms in Yiddish. Here, too,
the large number of Hebraisms no longer in current Yiddish is
striking. ‘To baptize’ is mayimen and ‘apostate’ is gemayimter,
‘to deal honestly’ is holekh tomim zayn and ‘to persist in
righteousness’ is omed bezedek zayn. The list of words he char­
acterizes as “German words current only among the Jews” ac­
quires special significance. Here are the words fam iliar to us from
the translation of the Pentateuch in the heder, such as gevinen
(to give b i r th ) , geveltign and kenign (to rule), nayert (only)
and others. Presumably, then, these words, which were later
confined to use in heder, had been in current usage among
German Jews in the 18th century. A lthough a professor of
philology, Chrysander’s scholarship had its limitations. K rie
ilber einen reissen he renders Ach und Weh iiber einen rufen.
Patently, he derived krie from the Romanic crier. Tolmedschen
he derived from talmud or talmid.
More at home in Hebrew-Aramaic and Yiddish was Gottfried
Selig, an apostate. His knowledge of German, however, was
inadequate. Some 50 years after the publication of his Lehrbuch
zur griindlichen Erlernung der jildisch-deutschen Sprache (Leip­
zig, 1792), Friedrich Ave-Lallement declared that this deficiency
rendered the book practically useless for the German desiring
to acquire Yiddish. Like his predecessors, Callenberg and Chrys-
ander, Selig concentrated on the Hebraisms in Yiddish, to which
he devoted over 200 pages in the appended dictionary. (The
other space was given to abbreviations.) It would appear from
this book that the Hebraisms constituted nearly one-half of the
Yiddish of the German Jews toward the end o f the 18 th century.
And so it may well have been. Some fifty years later, when the
* I am not entirely sure about the pronunciation of these words.