Yiddish phrasebook

Yiddish (ייִדיש / יידיש / אידיש, yidish/idish) is spoken as a daily language in some parts of America, mostly in and around New York City, and in some parts of Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, and South America, as well as in Israel. It developed out of Middle High German but also has a large number of borrow words of Hebrew, Slavic, French or other origin, making it not fully intelligible to native German speakers. As Yiddish is roughly 75% Germanic in origin, German speakers can understand a large part of it.

Yiddish is written with the same alphabet as Hebrew, with a few additional letters, and is written from right to left.

. . . Yiddish phrasebook . . .

Yiddish has several dialects which differ in their vowel sounds and certain vocabulary items. Words of European origin are spelled out phonemically. On the other hand, words of Semitic (Hebrew and Aramaic) origin are written just as in the original Hebrew or Aramaic, without vowels. In many cases, you must learn how to pronounce these words in Yiddish on a word-by-word basis; you cannot necessarily work it out from their spelling, and they are mostly pronounced differently from Israeli Hebrew.

א shtumer alef 
silent; used before ו vov and י yud when they are vowels; e.g. איר (ir) you subj.
אַ pasekh alef 
father
אָ komets aleph 
orange
ב beys 
like bear
בֿ veys 
like volume; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
ג giml 
like gone
ד daled 
like dog
ה hey 
like harp
ו vov 
like or or tune
וּ melupm vov 
used in place of ו vov when it appears beside װ tsvey vovn
װ tsvey vovn 
like violin
ױ vov yud 
like boy
ז zayin 
like zebra
ח khes 
like the Scottish Gaelic loch, German ach, or as in חנוכּה (khanuke); used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
ט tes 
like tuck
י yud 
like yet (as a consonant) or internet (as a vowel)
יִ khirek yud 
used beside another vowel instead of י yud, to show that it is to be pronounced separately; e.g. ייִדיש (yidish) Yiddish
ײ tsvey yudn 
like bay
ײַ pasekh tsvey yudn 
like pie
כּ kof 
like keep; used only in words of Hebraic or Aramaic origin
כ ך khof 
like loch
ל lamed 
like leave
מ ם mem 
like mother
נ ן nun 
like never
ס samekh 
like some
ע ayin 
like set
פּ pey 
like upon
פֿ ף fey 
like free
צ ץ tsadek 
like boots
ק kuf 
like coo, but further back in the throat
ר reysh 
voiced gargle as in French, can be pronounced as root
ש shin 
shoe
שׂ sin 
like seem; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
תּ tof 
like teeth; only used in words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin
ת sof 
like smooth; only used in words of hebrew or aramaic origin

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

. . . Yiddish phrasebook . . .

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. . . Yiddish phrasebook . . .