On Language

Spelling Trouble: 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali won this year?s Scripps National Spelling Bee and uncorked a linguistic debate.

Heading Into the 'I' of the Knaidel

Did Arvind Mahankali spell ‘knaidel’ correctly or not? The problem lies not with Yiddish, the New York Times or a 13-year-old boy. Philologos says it is the English language.

Seeing Stars and Pasta: In the early part of the 20th century, poet Abraham Liessin used the expression fafl un lokshn to refer to the American flag.

A Very Yiddish Take on the Star Spangled Banner

Most people look at the American flag and see stars and stripes. But some Yiddish speakers, particularly the late poet Abraham Liessin, saw noodles and pasta.

Language Mobster: James Gandolfini helped to popularize ?Fuhgeddaboudit? on ?The Sopranos,? but the phrase may be more common in Hollywood than in real life.

How Do You Say 'Fuhgeddaboudit' in Yiddish?

‘Fuhgeddaboudit’ certainly originated in New York, and most probably in Brooklyn’s criminal underbelly. Philologos delves deep into the underworld annals to get to its roots.

First Cut Is The Deepest: Among some Jews, it is traditional for a boy to have his first haircut on his third birthday.

Redemption of the First Shorn

Some Jews cut a boy’s hair for the first time when he turns 3. There is more to the ceremony of the opsherenish than meets the scissors.

A Nebbish Is Born

We all know what a nebbish is. But it takes Philologos to track down its roots in nebekh, a Yiddish word with many, many meanings.

Oh God, You Abbreviator: Writing ?the Holy One Blessed Be He? as HKB?H is just one example of many abbreviations the Jewish language utilizes.

Abbreviate This!

One of our readers would like to know the origins of the word nebekh. He’ll have to complete a crash course in the lively art of Yiddish abbreviation first.

On The Steps of the Phallus: Salvador Dali?s ?The Two Towers?

When To Call a Schmuck a Schmuck

There are many words for idiot. But few have the same ring as ‘schmuck.’ We offer a look at the word through the lens of Yiddish — and pop culture.

Beautiful Faces: Andy Warhol?s many punims of Marilyn Monroe

The Sheynest Punim of Them All

The word ‘punim’ has worked its way into the Yinglish lexicon. But you’ll still need plenty of chutzpah to try and use it as a Scrabble word.

Speak Nisht Evil: Sometimes, our ancestors? language befuddled those who tried to eavesdrop on them.

How To Confuse a Gentile

Shhh Daber nisht! The phrase, which is a mix of Hebrew and Yiddish, was one of a few used by Jews in Europe to keep gentiles from listening to their conversations.

The People of the Books

An old Yiddish prayer book created only for women is experiencing a revival of interest, especially in ultra-Orthodox ciricles. Philologos explains why.