Yinglish in New York City, 100 years ago

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Wed Jun 12 16:41:11 UTC 2013

On 10 Jun 2013, at 07:44, Geoffrey Steven Nathan wrote:

> On the other hand, the sign is primarily not in Yiddish at all, but rather English. There are only a few Yiddish words.

I'm not sure I agree with that. The thing the sign reminds me most is conversations among non-English native-speaker scientists about their own field, in their native language. In my field, it would be completely unremarkable to have a German researcher say to another "Für den Leaf Area Index, der Output der Software ist Mist. Das ist mit Remote Sensing schwierig zu retrieven."

For me, this is a German sentence, though with somewhat excessive borrowing from English Jargon, because the speakers use English more than German to think, read and talk about their field. (I personally wouldn't use "Output" and "retrieven", but would probably be too lazy to figure out how to say "Leaf Area Index" in German and have a 50/50 chance of using "Remote Sensing" or "Fernerkundung".)

The prepositions, articles and general-purpose verbs on the sign are in Yiddish.



>  Chris's transcription is pretty accurate--there's only a couple of places where I would quibble.


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