Yinglish in New York City, 100 years ago

Geoffrey Steven Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed Jun 12 16:49:16 UTC 2013

I realized as soon as I actually worked through the transcription/translation that I was wrong about the nature of the language--Chris is right that this is Yiddish with lots of borrowings. His analogy with scientific conversations is quite correct. 
Engage brain before putting fingers in gear.... 


Geoffrey S. Nathan 
Faculty Liaison, C&IT 
and Professor, Linguistics Program 
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT) 

Nobody at Wayne State will EVER ask you for your password. Never send it to anyone in an email, no matter how authentic the email looks. 

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Chris Waigl" <chris at LASCRIBE.NET>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:41:11 PM
> Subject: Re: Yinglish in New York City, 100 years ago

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET>
> Subject: Re: Yinglish in New York City, 100 years ago
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

> 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

> PS:

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

> Thanks!

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