Page 27 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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— Y
idd ish
e x ico g r a ph y
Yiddish orthography, the variety of pronunciation. A Ukrain ian
Jew, he favors the Southern pronunciation of Yiddish.
Spivak and Yehoash’s Yiddish dictionary, published in New
York in 19 11 , is again limited to Hebraisms. Apparen tly, it was
this element in Yiddish that caused difficulty. The authors lay
stress on the correct pronunciation of these Hebraisms. They are
punctuated. In cases where the Yiddish pronunciation differs
from the Hebrew pronunciation, that difference is indicated,
e.g. shaleshudes and sholosh seudos.
A lexander Harkavy’s Yiddish-English Dictionary appeared in
New York in 1898. The book was an instant success and went
through several editions. It is interesting to note that whereas
the first edition is free from Americanisms, the later ones include
such adoptions as boss, policeman, pocketbook, pedlen and
peddler, and scores of others.
In 1940 the Academy of Science of the W h ite Russian Institute
for L iterature and Languages in Minsk published a Yiddish-
Russian dictionary by S. Rochkind and H. Shklar. A fa ir idea
of the character of this dictionary may be gained from the
authors’ preface. It reads: “Words reflecting the old pre-revolu­
tionary conditions are given in the dictionary in a minimal
num be r .. . . Confined to a minimum are also the words deriving
from the religious sphere. W e did not deem it possible to exclude
altogether these words. First, these words are frequent in the
pre-revolutionary Yiddish literature. Second, many of them are
utilized even now for purposes of anti-religious propaganda.
Third , many such words are frequently used in an ironical sense.
W e have therefore included some words of this kind in our
dictionary, indicating in parenthesis that they are religious words
or used in an ironical sense.”
Avak ’s Yiddish-Hebrew dictionary appeared in Paris, 1939-
1941, in two volumes. This dictionary’s outstanding quality is
the wealth of adages and popular sayings, garnered from all areas
of Yiddish writing and speech, and translated into idiomatic
Hebrew. The French ambience is reflected in the inclusion in
Yiddish of such words as boutique, raison and the like.
Nahum Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language, pub­
lished by the Yivo (New York, 1950), includes among others the
entire colorful spectrum o f Americanisms that has found its
way into Yiddish speech in America. Alongside of business and
school are boychik and boychikl and nekstdoriker and a host of
others, reflecting successive stages of Jewish acculturation in
America. The Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language is a work of
impressive scope. It lists 620 categories of Yiddish words and