[Mendele] Mendele Volume 18.019

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Fri Feb 20 15:09:26 EST 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 18.019
February 18, 2009

1) ashlekh (Brigitte Brandes)
2) pitsaritsa (Larry Friedman)
3) greenhorn (Miriam Stein)
4) Luftmensch (Tom Putnam)
5) gelinkte terink (Stephen Berr)

Date:  February 1, 2009
Subject: ashlekh

Ashlekh is a special kind of onion called in French "échalote." It is
derived from Latin "escalonia, from Ascalon (Ashkelon). So, the Yiddish
word comes also from Latin. In Polish onion is "cebula "or "cebulka," in
Yiddish "tsibele." In Russian the word is completely different.

Brigitte Brandes

Date: January 31, 2009

My aunt, who speaks a very good Yiddish, has asked me to survey the group
and see if anyone knows the expression "pitsaritsi." Her father, who was
from Odessa, used the expression as a derogatory description of a "very
skinny lady who thinks she's really something." Is anyone else familiar
with this, and does anyone know the derivation?

Ironically, I was sitting in a movie theatre yesterday with my sister and
her husband and telling them about our aunt's question. I couldn't quite
remember it and said it had something to do with pizza. At that point, a
lady sitting in front of us turned around and said, "You mean 'pitsaritsa'.
My father used to call me that." She was hardly skinny, but we all laughed,
and I said I would ask this group. Such is life in south-east Florida!

Any information would be appreciated.

Larry Friedman

Date: February 14, 2009
Subject: greenhorn

What is the derivation of the word "greenhorn"? Our Yiddish club was
reading the Sholem Aleichem story, "Mir arbetn in shop," in which the word
is often used. The question came up of how the word began to be used. None
of us knew.

A sheynem dank,

Miriam Stein

Date:  February 2, 2009
Subject: Luftmensch

One of P.G. Wodehouse's favorite characters, Stanley Featherstonehaugh
Ukridge, was a luftmensch but not, obviously, so called in the stories. I
wouldn't have understood Ukridge so well without having come to know
Menakhem-Mendl. A difference between them is that Ukridge is often up to
mischief to obtain his dream; he may be less gullible than Menakhem-Mendl.

Most sincerely,
Tom Putnam

Date: February 11, 2009
Subject: gelinkte terink

A friend of mine asked me if I knew or heard of the term "gelinkte terink."
He said this was something that his father would call him. As best as I
could, I have transcribed the words into Latin letters. I am sure that the
first word refers to someone who is left- handed, but I could not find
anything like "terink" in Uriel Weinreich's dictionary.

A sheynem dank,

Stephen Berr
End of Mendele Vol. 18.019

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