‘And why,’ you might ask, ‘do I need to pepper my conversations with words, phrases, entire sentences and paragraphs in a language that almost nobody really knows anymore?’ ” asks Michael Wex in the introduction to his guide to Yiddish, Just Say Nu. His answer, “Why not?” comes straight out of the Borscht Belt, as [...]
This category includes full reviews of Michael Wex’s book Just Say Nu.
Did you come from one of those families where you walked off to kindergarten not knowing if you were speaking English or Yiddish? If the teacher held up a fork for identification, did you raise your hand and proudly — but wrongly — announce, “gupple”? How could gupple be wrong? It sounds just like “apple,” [...]
What’s Yiddish for double-dipping? With verve, élan and something only a non-Yiddish speaker would call chutzpah, Michael Wex returns to the linguistic mother lode that yielded “Born to Kvetch,” his brilliant cultural history of Yiddish. This time around, in “Just Say Nu,” he gets down to the everyday business of putting Yiddish to use. When [...]