[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 26.003

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Fri Mar 31 07:18:39 EDT 2017

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 26.003
March 30, 2017

1) hobn/hubn (Martin Jacobs)
2) vi di kats fun mitvokh (Johanna Kovitz)
3) Newly Discovered Yiddish Folk Songs (Norbert Hirschhorn)
4) vind mir (Maurice Wolfthal)
5) Yiddish-inflected protest sign (Amy Kaufman)
6) Meanings of "A bronch kopf" and "...samelejda" (Darren King)
7) In hafen fun Hayfa (Paula Grossman)

Date: 13 October 2016
Subject: hobn/hubn

If memory serves me correctly, in Southern Yiddish "hobn" has two forms,
"hobn" and "hubn", one form for the infinitive (tsu hobn) and one for the
plural of the present tense (mir/zey hobn). I cannot, however, remember
which is which, which the infinitive and which the plural. Can anyone
please enlighten me?

Thank you.
Martin Jacobs

Date: 1 November 2016
Subject: vi di kats fun mitvokh

Does anyone know the origin of the phrase “vi di kats fun mitvokh” as found
in the expressions listed below? They are all taken from Nahum Stutchkoff’s

arn vi di kats fun mitvokh
frum vi a kats fun mitvokh
hobn seykhl vi di kats fun mitvokh
visn vi a ku fun mitvokh / fun montik

How does one understand the preposition “fun” in these examples? How might
one translate the expressions literally? I realize that the meaning of the
phrase is “not at all,” but I would like to understand the underlying

Thank you,
Johanna Kovitz

Date: 10 January 2017
Subject: Newly Discovered Yiddish Folk Songs

The 'Henonville Songs' (Henonville, France) collected by Dr. David Boder in
a DP camp in 1946.  The history of the recordings, their discovery last
year, along with several clips, are given here: https://

A listing of some of the songs can be found here, from Archives of History
of American Psychology, Winter 2016 Issue: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__drive.google.com_open-3Fid-3D&d=DwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=hgSCSvtHqNOp40iT6T4uKyOHqvQreUPfVso-KO1Kgto&m=ebdgCX6leyAs5w4QciQ7GQgoxIZn7QVQ9OxO6TbF4fc&s=hHM6wa3A6JjncAPSiOlINqriRLaCijnamT98CZckNiU&e= 

Kindest regards,

Norbert Hirschhorn

Date: 10 February 2017
Subject: vind mir

Does someone know the origin of the phrase "vind mir?"  The tree in Itsik
Manger's "Oyfn veg shteyt a boym" laments, "Vey iz mir un vind mir."

Maurice Wolfthal

Date: 10 February 2017
Subject: Yiddish-inflected protest sign

A sign was seen at one of the Women's marches here in the US that said,
"Oy, again with the fascism?"

What makes this sound so Jewish (besides the "oy")? Is it the use of the
word "the"? Is it the "again with (the)"? What is it, and is it from

A sheynem dank in advance for your thoughts
Amy Kaufman
Massachusetts, US

Subject: Meanings of "A bronch kopf" and "...samelejda"
Date: 19 February 2017

I am in the process of translating an account, written in Czech, by former
residents of a Czech colony in Ukraine (Volhynia). In this book, the Czechs
record memories of their Jewish former neighbors. They mention a few
Yiddish phrases that they recall their Jewish neighbors using. These have
been recollected after 75 years, and then transliterated into Czech
orthography, so I am having a little trouble figuring out what the actual
words are supposed to mean (I have a fairly good working knowledge of

The first phrase is "A bronch kopf," which they explain meant "a dimwit." I
am trying to figure out what Yiddish word is meant by "bronch." Since the
orthography is Czech, I assume the "ch" represents a kh sound, and not ch,
but I can't really think of a Yiddish word like this. I'm wondering if it
could be a garbled form of "gebrokhn"?

The other phrase they record is "Kis mir in tuches, samelejda." They
translate this as Kiss my...., madman." The "Kis mir in tuches" is
self-evident, but I can't figure out what the word "samelejda" is supposed
to be. I assume it's of Slavic origin, and at first tried looking in
Russian/Ukrainian/Polish dictionaries under words starting with "samo-"
("self-," "auto-,"), but didn't find anything similar. I then wondered if
the "same-" might be something like the Russian "suma-" or "s uma-,"
meaning "out of your mind," but again got nowhere. Just for kicks, I tried
googling samelejda in Cyrillic to see if it showed up in any colloquial
speech online, and did find a few places where the word "sumaleda" was used
in chat, but I can't figure out the meaning or context. Any help,
especially from any native Russian/Ukrainian/Polish speakers out there
would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Darren King

Subject: In hafen fun Hayfa
Date: 20 March 2017

I heard the following song as a child:

In hafen fun Hayfa shvimt a krokodil.(2)
Oy vey, oy, vey, er veyst nisht vos er vil.
In hafen fun Hayfa shvimt a krokodil.

Does anyone know anything about this song? The pronunciation is
daytshmerish, and I wonder if it was originally so, or if it was changed
and sung that way by people who didn't know Yiddish well?

Paula Grossman

End of Mendele Vol. 26.003

Please do not use the "reply" key when writing to Mendele. Instead, direct
your mail as follows:

Material for Mendele Personal Notices & Announcements, i.e. announcements
of events, commercial publications, requests to which responses should be
sent exclusively to the request's author, etc., always in plain text (no
HTML or the like) to:

   victor.bers at yale.edu (in the subject line write Mendele Personal)

Material for postings to Mendele Yiddish literature and language, i.e.
inquiries and comments of a non-commercial or publicity nature:

    mendele at mailman.yale.edu

IMPORTANT:  Please include your full name as you would like it to appear in
your posting.  No posting will appear without its author's name.

Submissions to regular Mendele should not include personal email addresses,
as responses will be posted for all to read.  They must also include the
author's name as you would like it to appear.

In order to spare the shamosim time and effort, we request that
contributors adhere, when applicable, as closely as possible to standard
English punctuation, grammar, etc. and to the YIVO rules of transliteration
into Latin letters. A guide to Romanization can be found at this site:

All other messages should be sent to the shamosim at this address:

mendele at mailman.yale.edu

Mendele on the web [interim address]: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__sites.google.com_site_&d=DwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=hgSCSvtHqNOp40iT6T4uKyOHqvQreUPfVso-KO1Kgto&m=ebdgCX6leyAs5w4QciQ7GQgoxIZn7QVQ9OxO6TbF4fc&s=ifW110BTvMIdwWi0cOgkGH_X1TZDz_EGpgkj_LGKUyE&e= 

To join or leave the list: http://mailman.yale.edu/mailman/listinfo/mendele

More information about the Mendele mailing list