[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 18.205

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Mon Apr 20 09:50:46 EDT 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 18.025
April 19, 2009

1) "longer than my teeth" (Cheryl Tallan)
2) pitseritse (Freda Hodge)
3) "cash cow" (Cedric Ginsberg)
4) gliebes (Jan Jonk)
5) gliebes (Jack Berger)
6) gliebes (Simon Neuberg)
7) greencard (Saul Drajer)
8) greenhorn/greencard (John Burke)
9) Bennett Muraskin's article (Larry Rosenwald)

Date: April 2, 2009
Subject: "longer than my teeth"

Do you know how I would say "longer than my teeth" in Yiddish (actually 
meaning "older than my teeth")?
Thanks and happy Pesach.

Mit a sheynem grus,
Cheryl Tallan

Date: April 17, 2009
Subject: pitseritse

My father too came from Odessa, and he used "pitseritse" to describe any 
woman who was obviously vain and conceited. He applied the term to such 
women regardless of their size.
Freda Hodge

Date: April 3, 2009
Subject: "cash cow"

A friend has asked me how one would render the phrase cash cow into 
Yiddish. A "cash cow," as I understand it, is a business or a venture 
which produces an easy cash return - one does not have to work very hard 
at earning the income.

I thought of mezumen-brunem or brunem-mezumen or in a more slang vein a 
latke fabrik (my father frequently euphemistically referred to cash as 

Any ideas?
Cedric Ginsberg

Date: April 3, 2009
Subject: gliebes

Faith Nomi Jones asks the meaning of gliebes. Perhaps the meaning of 
gliebes is armful. In Lithuanian "glebys sieno"  means armful of hay. In 
Gorshman's text "gliebes heytsung" could mean armfuls of firewood.

A sheynem grus,
Jan Jonk

Date: April 2, 2009
Subject: gliebes

Gliebes is probably from the Russian "gliba," meaning a lump or a clod.

Jack Berger

Date: April 2, 2009
Subject: gliebes

Faith Nomi Jones fregt vegn vort glyebes in Shire Gorshmans a dertseylung, 
vu Alte un yunge froyen, geboygene unter zek kartofl un gliebes heytsung 
zenen undz antkegngekumen.

dos vort gefint zikh in Oytser z. 29, ershter shpalt in der 
grupe:[farsheydns] horme, hurme, hurbe, hoyfn, brile, GLEBE, piramide, 
barg, klump(n), koyp, kupe, kuge, kutshe, burt, pak, paket, [...]gemeynt 
do, vayzt oys, hoyfns/kupes bren-materyal

Simon Neuberg

Date: April 2, 2009
Subject: green card

Two small Spanish spelling errors slipped in Aaron Kaplan's clever letter 
[about greenhorn]."Verde carta" must be written as "Carta verde." The 
literal English translation of "Verde Carta" would be "Card Green," which 
sounds senseless.  Articles in Spanish (as in German) have a gender. 
"Momento" is masculine and therefore the correct expression is "Un 
momento" and not "Una momento."
Saul Drajer
Date: April 2, 2009
Subject: greenhorn

Merriam-Webster gives the definition as
an inexperienced or naive person; a newcomer (as to a country) 
unacquainted with local manners and customs and the derivation as 
Etymology:obsolete greenhorn animal with green or young horns.

The earliest recorded usage in this sense is from 1682;the extension to 
mean newcomer is surely more plausible than Mr. Kaplan's imaginative, but 
unsupported, suggestion.

A Web search finds the following:The green card is officially known as the 
Alien Registration Receipt Card. The first green cards were white and were 
the product of the Alien Registration Act of 1940.

The Immigration Service (now USCIS) web site formerly had an article 
titled "Why isn't a green card green?" This has been temporarily removed 
while the site is being redesigned.

The likelihood that this sense of green could have been the basis of 
early 20th-century Jewish immigrants' adoption of greenhorn to mean 
newcomer seems to me to be zero.
John Burke

Date: April 6, 2009
Subject: Bennett Muraskin's article

A hasty comment on Bennett Muraskin's article:  1) a hartsikn dank, yasher 
koyekh! Muraskin has done an astonishing amount of work and brilliantly 
compressed it; anyone interested in this subject has to be grateful to 
him. I'm certainly very grateful to him.  2)  What his work makes easier, 
and what I'm wishing someone would write, is a history of how translation 
of Yiddish into English has been done.  I've written a little bit about 
this, in the Mendele Review and in the Pakn-Treger, and it's my clear 
sense that the ideas and practices of translation in play have changed 
significantly from the beginning of the period covered by Muraskin's 
article to the present moment.   In what I've written I've been an 
advocate for some ideas and practices, a sharp critic of other ideas and 
practices, and I remain both advocate and critic in this area; but what 
I'm imagining here is an account that's not so much a case for one 
viewpoint or another as a real history, trying to see all the translators, 
all the ideas and practices, from the inside.

Best, a zisn peysekh alemen,
Larry Rosenwald

End of Mendele Vol. 18.025

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