On Language

The People of the Books

By Philologos

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

The Yiddish Quran

By Philologos

Philologos examines how odd it would be for an ultra-Orthodox Jew to read the Muslim holy book in a tongue so inextricably linked to Judaism.Read More

Neither a Niftar Nor a Nishperer Be

By Philologos

You never know what’s going to happen when Philologos delves too deep into his mail sack. This week, he discusses the problem of nishperers, who rummage around too much.Read More

Yoshke of Nazareth

By Philologos

Jews have many name for Jesus, not all of them nice. Some Yiddish speakers used a dismissive epithet translating roughly as Little Joe. Others call him son of Panther.Read More

How To Get a Haircut in Lvov

By Philologos

There are plenty of ways to tell a Jewish boy to get a haircut. In Yiddish, a mom uses three languages to send a mop-haired son to the barber, Philologos writes.Read More

Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.

By Philologos

A noodge is constantly nudging you to do something. The nudnik may simply want a listener. Thanks for clearing that up, Philologos!Read More

I've Been Thinking 'Bout the Railroad

By Philologos

The catchy Yiddish song ‘Di Ban’ depicts the reaction of Jews to the arrival of the railroads. Philologos says not everyone was happy with the technological advance.Read More

Strange Case of Daleds

By Philologos

The Hebrew letter daled comes from the word for door. But its name has changed in a linguistically unusual way. Our intrepid Philologos slams shut the debate.Read More

Sorcerer for the Goose and Gander

By Philologos

The Yiddish word for witch is a nasty word to use about your mother. It also provides sca-a-a-a-ry case study in the changing face of linguistics for Philologos.Read More

L'Chaim a Bad Grammatical Error?

By Philologos

Jews have been toasting with the expression ‘L’chaim’ for centuries. Philologos investigates a reader’s complaint that we may have been wrong for just as long.Read More

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