Yiddish is a language with words derived primarily from German, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
When someone wants to know if you speak Yiddish, sometimes, they just say, "Do you speak Jewish?"
Many of the Yiddish words are popular and have become commonplace in our communications now-a-day.
One of my friends used to say, "Jokes are always funnier in Yiddish."
And sure enough, there is something about Yiddish words, pronunciations, and nuances that make getting a point across very potent and at the same time, quite humorous.
Take the words on this eduational Yiddish poster--it's like the Yiddish words just sound like and makes perfect sense for what it is (see how many you recognize):
- Bagel - Bagel
- Chazar - Pig
- Chootspah (chutzpah) - Gall
- Gonif - Thief
- Imglick - Luck
- Klutz - Clumsy
- Kvitch (kvetch)- Complainer
- Macher - Big shot
- Mishugina (mashugana) - Crazy
- Noodnik - Annoying
- Pipik - Belly Button
- Shlep - Lug
- Shmootz - Dirt
- Shnops (schnapps) - Liquor
- Shvigger - Mother-in-law
- Trafe - Unkosher
- Tsooris - Problems
- Yenta - Talker
- Zoftig - Fat
There is one more word not on the list here that is probably recongizable and that is a "shmuck," which refers to a contemptable person, but literally refers to a man's private parts--ah, maybe that's why it's not on the picture poster. ;-)
(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)