fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Nu, Reb Wex?

I just finished reading Michael Wex's Just Say Nu, which is the follow-up to Born to Kvetch. This is intended to be more of a Yiddish textbook than the first volume was, but it's pretty seriously flawed for the simple reason that Wex's transliterations are damn near unreadable. Admittedly, most of the problem is that his dialect is significantly different from mine. But, really, who writes "tshoolnt" for what any sane person calls "cholent" or at least "tcholent" if they're making it clear it's the "ch" sound of "cheese" and not the guttural Germanic one?

And just for the record, a glass of tea is "a glayzele tay" not "a gloyz". This is as bad as listening to my parent's argue about how to pronounce "muhn" (poppy seeds, the filling of hamentashn and linguistic debate in my childhood.) Wex would probably write "min" or some similar abomination.

YIVO's transliterations aren't obscure. They're linguistic notation for good proper Litvish Yiddish.

What can you expect from somebody whose section on liquor includes cherry heering but not a mention of slivovitz?

Born to Kvetch was fairly enjoyable, despite the transliteration problem. This follow-up was notably weaker. I like to encourage books on Yiddish, but I'm thinking we need a Litvak counterpoint to this one.
Tags: books, yiddish

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