Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Farshtaist? (Do You Understand?)
Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don't farshtaist, A bisseleh maybe here and there, the rest has gone to waste.
Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist,
My Bubbeh spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht. So och un vai as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir,
Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it's familiar to my ear.
And I'm no Chaim Yonkel , in fact I was shtick naches,
But, when it comes to Yiddish though, I'm talking out my tuchas. Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don't know it better
(Though it's really nishtkefelecht when one needs to write a letter)
But, when it comes to characters, there's really no contention,
No other linguist can compete with honorable mentshen: They have nebbishes and nebechels and others without mazel,
Then, too, schmendriks and schlemiels, and let's not forget schlemazel.
These words are so precise and descriptive to the listener,
So much better than "a pill " is to call someone 'farbissener'. Or - that a brazen woman would be better called chaleria,
And you'll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.
I'm not haken dir a tsheinik and I hope I'm not a kvetch,
But isn't mieskeit kinder, than to call someone a wretch? Mitten derinnen, I hear Bubbeh say, "It's nechtiker tog, don't fear,
To me you're still a maven, zol zein shah, don't fill my ear.
A leben ahf dein keppele, I don't mean to interrupt,
But you are speaking narishkeit.....And A gezunt auf dein kup!"
Glossary of Terms
Farshtaist = (Do You?) Understand
Bisseleh = A little
Tsemisht = Confused or mixed up
Och un vai = Alas and alack
Oi vai iz mir = Woe is me
Pisk = mouth
Naches = Joy, Gratification
Shandeh far di kinder = A pity/shame for the children
Nishtkefelecht = Not so terrible
Nebbishes = A nobody or simpleton
Nebechels = A pititful person or playing the role of being one
Schlemiel = Clumsy bungler, an inept person, butter-fingered; dopey person
Schmendrik = Nincompoop; an inept or indifferent person; same as chlemiel
Schlemazel = Luckless person. Unlucky person; one with perpetual bad luck
(it is said that the shlemiel spills the soup on the Shlimazel!)
Farbissener = Embittered; bitter person
Chaleria = Evil woman. Probably derived from cholera.
Farklempt = Too emotional to talk. Ready to cry.
Haken dir a tsheinik = Don't get on your nerves
(Lit., Don't bang your teapot!)
Kvetch = Whine, complain; whiner, a complainer
Mieskeit = Ugly
Mitten derinnen = All of a sudden, suddenly
Nechtiker tog! = He's (it's) gone! Forget it! Nonsense!
(Lit., a night's day)
Zol zein shah! = Be quiet. Shut up!
Leben ahf dein keppele = Words of praise like; Well said! Well done!
(Lit., A long life upon your head.)
Narishkeit = Nonsense