chapter  TWENTY
22 Pages

The Yiddish Dialect

WithLewis Herman, Marguerite Shalett Herman

As in the Irish, the Cockney, and the Swedish, the Yiddish lilt is one of the most important factors in the dialect. With the substitution of a few vowels and consonants, the use of a few variations in syntax, and the lilt, a Yiddish dialect can be portrayed quite successfully. The pitch of Yiddish speech is much higher than in American and the falsetto is reached many times, especially under the stress of emotion. The emphasis is also affected by another speech habit in the Yiddish dialect. Vowel sounds unaccented in American are often dropped from between consonants, as in "bUt'l" (bottle), "voom'n" (woman), "nid'l" (needle), "lEEd'l" (little), "mis'ls" (measles) and "'lAfn" (eleven). Although it is a practice common mostly to the Russian-Yiddish dialect, a number of people substitute "ts" for initial "t" when it is followed by a "w," as in "tsvAHis" (twice),"tsvAnyi" (twenty) and "tsvAlf" (twelve).