Born To Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods (Google eBook)
As the main spoken language of the Jews for more than a thousand years, Yiddish has had plenty to lament, plenty to conceal. Its phrases, idioms, and expressions paint a comprehensive picture of the mind-set that enabled the Jews of Europe to survive a millennium of unrelenting persecution: they never stopped kvetching---about God, gentiles, children, food, and everything (and anything) else. They even learned how to smile through their kvetching and express satisfaction in the form of complaint.
In Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex looks at the ingredients that went into this buffet of disenchantment and examines how they were mixed together to produce an almost limitless supply of striking idioms and withering curses (which get a chapter all to themselves). Born to Kvetch includes a wealth of material that’s never appeared in English before. You’ll find information on the Yiddish relationship to food, nature, divinity, and humanity. There’s even a chapter about sex.
This is no bobe mayse (cock-and-bull story) from a khokhem be-layle (idiot, literally a “sage at night” when no one’s looking), but a serious yet fun and funny look at a language that both shaped and was shaped by those who spoke it. From tukhes to goy, meshugener to kvetch, Yiddish words have permeated and transformed English as well.
Through the idioms, phrases, metaphors, and fascinating history of this kvetch-full tongue, Michael Wex gives us a moving and inspiring portrait of a people, and a language, in exile.
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Review: Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its MoodsUser Review - Mattie - Goodreads
Oy, did I love this book! Serious exploration of how Jewish culture, particularly Ashkenzic Jewish culture, is reflected in the Yiddish language. The scholarly stuff is good. But what makes this book ... Read full review
Review: Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its MoodsUser Review - Chris - Goodreads
Highly entertaining as well as educational. Key phrases, etymology, situational use, personal stories, and humor throughout. Definite winner for anyone with an interest in Yiddish language or culture. Read full review
YIDDISH IN ACTION
THE RELIGIOUS ROOTS OF YIDDISH
YIDDISH AND THE FORCES OF DARKNESS
THE YIDDISH CURSE
MAZL MISERY AND MONEY
YIDDISH AND NATURE
FOODKOSHER AND TREYF
YIDDISH LIFE FROM BIRTH TO BAR MITZVAH
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE
SEX IN YIDDISH
DEATH IN YIDDISH