Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 29 12:19:44 UTC 2009

Of course, Mel Brooks took full advantage of this in Young Frankenstein. ;-)
--> @5:45; 9:19
--> @0:00; 1:09; 4:50++

Also note @7:39 of the second clip (or just watch the whole thing ;-)


Wilson Gray wrote:
> Way back in radio days, it was a standard ploy for the comic-relief
> Jewish character - Jack Benny was Jewish, but, on his radio show, he
> wasn't a Jewish *character*, or even Jewish at all, if you gnome sane
> - to "mishear" the surname of Billy Eckstine [-staIn] (a black singer
> of *very* distant Jewish ancestry) as "Epstein" [-stin], causing the
> C-R JC to mistake him for a Jew.
> This always struck me as odd, since, if Saint Louis's probably now
> long-defunct Rabbi Eckstine Hebrew School is any indicator, "Eckstine"
> as it stood was already Jewish enough for government work.
> One of my high-school classmates was named "Epstein" [-staIn]. Since I
> didn't know from Jews till much later in life, being black on the one
> hand and Catholic on the other, it has never occurred to me till now
> to wonder whether he might have been Jewish.
> -Wilson
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:40 PM, Mark Mandel<Mark.A.Mandel at> wrote:
>> I haven't seen anyone mentioning the influence of German loans. "ei" is
>> standardly [aI] in German and in English loans from German. I would also
>> include surnames in the possible influences; the only class of exception
>> that comes to mind is the variation between [i] and [aI] in final "-stein",
>> e.g., some Epsteins are /'EpstaIn/s and some are /'Epstin/s.
>> Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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