Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 6 05:43:14 UTC 2011

I am assuming you're jesting on both A and B (I take it, it's meant to
be a parody on Yiddish jokes).

I don't know from Yiddish jokes. I wouldn't try to parody them. What I
posted was a sketch of an actual conversation. You've gone off the
deep end, Victor, reading into this far more than there is. As you
know, there's no word-final stress in Polish, abstracting away from
borrowings. So, a person with only the most trivial knowledge of
Polish and with a once-reasonable command of Russian and some
acquaintance with Slavic linguistics - your humble correspondent -
would, upon being told by a Polish-American friend that the friend's
new kitten was named "Kishka ['kiSk@]," might easily jump to the
conclusion that the kiitten's pereklichka was merely an anglicization
of Polish _kiszka_, cognate with Russian __kishka_, as is, indeed, the
case. The postion of stress in Russian is irrelevant in this case, as
you know. Said person, aware that the words are cognate, then
erroneously made the unwarrented assumption that the two words, qua
cognate, necessarily had the identical reading in both languages.

And, naturally, being a cat-lover, this writer was shocked! SHOCKED!
that a fellow cat-lover could name the world's cutest little kitten
"Intestine"! What up with that?!

It was then explained to me - by a person much surprised that anyone
would think that the word means "intestine" - that _kiszka_ is the
Polish word word for "sausage."

Likewise, correspondent is aware of the relationship between Russian
_kolbasa_ and Polish _kielbasa_ (FWIW, the latter word is in everyday
use for the snackfood of choice among the Ukainian-Americans and
Polish-Americans of Northeast Pennsylvania. Locally, the word is
regarded as ordinary American, like "vodka" or "champagne.") His
working assumption is that, perhaps, _kiszka_ is a subset of
_kielbasa_ or, perhaps, there are regional dialects of Polish in which
the name of the part - the casing - has become the name of the whole
or, maybe, it's slang. I don't know. Likewise, WRT there being any
other meaning for this word in English other than "sausage."

My schoolmate didn't say that _kiszka_ was a word for either "cat" or
"kitten" nor did I interpret anything else that he said as implying
that the Polish word might have such a meaning.

-Wilson, writing with tongue in cheek (I have a friend who, in the
relevant circumstance, literally sticks his tongue into his cheek.
Whether there was a time when this gesture was univeral among
European-Americans, hence his use of it, or whether, familiar with the
phrase, he puts his tongue into his cheek as his little joke I don't

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

"Sausage" is "kie[l]basa" and diminutive for "cat" is "kicia", not "kishka".
The Russian diminutive for "cat" is "kisia", which is pronounced
nearly the same, or "kiska", which is
> > similar, but not identical to "kishka". Neither has any connection to
> > "kishka" (Russian) or "kiszka" (Polish), other than one's gut is used
> > for various purposes (e.g., strings for musical instruments) and the
> > other is wrapped in gut. As such, my sense of humor fails me with
> > respect to this fanciful dialog. Perhaps it's the amount of sleep I got
> > last night with cats jumping all over me... or the kie=C5=82basa I ate
> > earlier...
> >
> > VS-)
> >
> > On 10/4/2011 8:55 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> > > On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 8:41 PM, Victor Steinbok<aardvark66 at>
> >  wrote:
> > >> "kishka" is Slavic>>Yiddish for "gut" or
> > >> "intestines".
> > > A. "Kishka'?! Why have you named your kitten "Intestine"?
> > > B. It's not named "Intestine." "Kishka" means *sausage" in Polish.
> > > It's named "Sausage," because it's such a fat little thing."
> > >
> > >   "Un faux ami," as the French say.
> > >
> > > --
> > > -Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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