Bill Le May blemay0 at MCHSI.COM
Fri Jan 9 19:35:00 UTC 2004

> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Lois Nathan <LBNath88545112 at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: shofarsogut
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------
> There 's one I don't get:  Deja nu.  I know the French "deja
> vu," but why
> "nu"?  Is it to be considered "new," "knew,"?  The French "nu"
> doesn't seem
> to me to work?  Help.

A quick Google of Nu indicates that this word has a lot of meanings.  A
review of "The Joys of Yiddish" says in part "Where else can you learn all
the nuances of the 29 different ways to say 'Oy!' (which, of course, is not
a word, but a vocabulary), the 19 different meanings of 'Nu?'..."

Another page
( has

     * "Nu?"
       This is an exclamation used in the same sense as "well" "eh" and
       "hey." [Y] It could be used in the Hebrew/Yiddish translation of
       any of the following:
         1. Well, do you want the egg roll or the knish?
         2. Hey! Stop throwing paper airplanes in class.
         3. My experimental tofu-liver-garlic cholent tastes good, eh?
         4. So, Becca, I hear you and Izzy went out last week. Well?
         5. A rebuke (on small kids): "Nu, nu, nu, you spiled all the
         6. To express doubt: "I heard that Rabin met Asad. Nu."
         7. When the news ain't new no more: (see #7; the change is in
            the tone of the "nu").
         8. As "come on": NU BEMET.
         9. When one can't talk (i.e. in the middle of Shmone-Esre, after
            Netila before Hamotzi, etc.)

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