how do i learn yiddish?

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    I never learnt yiddish and i am always lost when hearing shiur in yiddish- does anybody have any tips how/where to start to build up?


    google it and see what is available to you and best suits your availability etc.


    You could try taking a class, but to really master all the nuances, hang out with yiddish speakers. Pick the dialect that best fits your background, and give it 6 months.

    Let me give you the 1st line to get you started. Ask someone; Vus iz neis? (which means whats new?)

    But be sure to pronouce it: vus e’nayies, so they know what you’re talking about.

    Dr. Pepper

    Do a Google search for “learn yiddish vidlit”.

    There is a beginner video there.

    Sorry but I don’t think we’re allowed to post external links. 🙁


    spend a weekend in Monsey


    I never learned it either. I have a bunch of vocabulary that I taught myself in 8th grade. So I can mostly understand what’s going on. But that’s it.

    Just a few days ago I was trying to get my grandparents to explain to me what “kayn” means as in:

    “Kayn mool nisht”

    “foorin kayn America”

    I thought kayn means “none”, but that doesn’t work in the second one. In that case “kayn” looks like it means “to”. But apparently, even though “tzi” means “to” you can’t say “foorin tzi America”.

    Then you have:







    I still don’t know which is the correct one:

    mir gait arois

    gait min arois

    mir vellen arois gain

    mir vellen aroisgegangen

    So I just gave up.



    Yiddish has multiple dialects.


    Which just makes it more difficult to learn.


    English also has multiple dialects. Almost any language does.


    go to a Yiddish speaking elementary school. I just told someone that I know yiddish and he was laughing so hard- he said its so not my type….I guess thats what happens when you go to a yiddish speaking elem school


    Check out He is having a 50%off summer sale if you’d like to sign up. I used him and highly recommend him. He teaches the chassidish or litvish dialect. You can also sign up there to receive a yiddish expression each week. Check out the site & most of your questions should be answered. Good luck.


    Just to let you know the word kayn has more than one meaning. It means “none” as well as “to”

    Usually when you use the word kayn for “none” it goes together with the word nisht a double negative.

    The word Kayn “to” also intechanges with the Yiddish word in “to”

    You can say

    Mir zenen geforn kayn New York or

    Mir zenen geforn in New york

    meaning we travelled to NY

    The correct sentence you were lookin for is

    Mir veln aroys’geyn

    We will go out

    In the Yiddish system many words have prefixes or sufixes added on to the stem and it changes the entire meaning.

    Where in English you would have 10 different words in Yiddish it can be the same stem with different prefixes added to it.

    Yiddish is a fascinating and very expressive language and not extremely difficult to learn


    Mir zenen geforn in New york

    But why not “mir zenen geforen tzu New york”?

    minyan gal

    Do a Google search for “learn yiddish vidlit”.

    There is a beginner video there.

    Thanks. Dr.P. That certainly was my laugh for today. Kind of reminds of when my daughter was in kindergarten. At that time there were 2 day schools here – one was Hebrew, the other was Yiddish. While I knew that I wanted her educated at the Hebrew school, I chose to send her to the Yiddish school for kindergarten as their teacher was far superior. I knew that we were in for an interesting year when I took her to the public library and she saw a school friend there and from across the room she yelled: Mashelah how are you? Then came the day that I was the “Shabbas Mother” which meant that I had to bring a challah and could sit and watch the class for a couple of hours. They were learning “arithmetic readiness” in Yiddish. The teacher had a felt board with cutouts of ducks on it. She took one and placed it beside another with the narration: “ein katchke v’ein katchke is tzvel katchkelech.” It still makes me laugh as I came from a Hebrew speaking background and to see a youngster speaking Yiddish struck me as odd. The sad part is that eventually the 2 schools had to amalgamate and eventually the Yiddish program was phased out.



    I gotta say that for someone who ostensibly doesn’t know Yiddish, your Yiddish is pretty darn good.


    It definitely doesn’t seem like it in my head. My grandparents give me vacant stares when I try. The only reason I knew the “kayn” thing was because I read some story in Yiddish in a pamphlet that my grandfather had about someone named Rachamim who wanted to go to America to earn money.

    After that, everything is just one big confusion.


    I wish I knew Hebrew like some people know Yiddish!


    Zigt “shygetz aross!”

    All the rest is commentary :)))!


    Seriously, get hold of the Avraham Fried Yiddishe Oitzros (or Reb Yermia Damen’s Ehrliche Niginim if you davka want to learn Galitzianer Yiddish), and Lipa’s tapes. Lipa sort of speaks/raps a lot of his songs and he is not hard to understand. The original Yom Tov Ehrlich albums may be a little hard to hear which is distracting.

    Ein kotschke mit nuch ein kotschke iz Pekingische Kotschke far fir!

    And look out for the YouTube debut of Nishtgeferliche Niginim – Niginei Creedmoor – the song “Fudshtemps Far Alle Yeedn” is in very easy to understand Americanized Yiddish.


    If you want to know whether Yiddish lessons are any good, ask whoever gives them how to say “a livelihood” or “income” in Yiddish.

    IF he says “parnusseh” or “parnosseh,” forget it. The correct word is “Velfare!”


    You want to learn Yiddish quickly? Ah nechtiger tag!


    @600 Kilo Bear: cute.

    Alternatively, you could just learn German (e.g. via Rosetta stone) and modify it slightly:

    (1) “a” becomes “o” or “u”

    (2) “o” becomes “oy” or “ey”

    (3) “ei” becomes “ai”

    (4) “ch” is always guttural like khof or ches

    (5) 5-15% of other words get replaced with Hebrew/Aramaic derivatives

    and you have something that will pass for Yiddish.

    Protip: learn Viennese or Franconian German and (1)-(4) are unnecessary.

    (BTW I am being sarcastic, but only slightly)

    !???? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ???, ???? ??? ???? ???


    By the way, there is not a single “Chassidishe” Yiddish either. The “Ingarisch” (Lipanese) dialect spoken in Skvere, Satmar, Vizhnitz etc is different from Galitzianer or “Poylishe” Yiddish of Ger, Belz, Bobov etc. I hear the difference more in loshon hakoidesh: Hashem (Ingarisch) vs Hashyme (Poylish) is the most pronounced difference. Probably, the difference in Yiddish is really heard more in words that come from loshon hakoidesh.

    And then there is the regional Litvish difference between “oy” and “ay”.


    Well, one of my grandfathers is Ger the other is Vizhnitz. So I guess I should start saying Hasheyme.


    If you’re grandparents are Ger and Vizhnitz, how were you left out of Yiddish knowledge?


    No just my grandfathers. My grandmothers are Muncacz and Skulen.

    My mother’s Yiddish isn’t 100%, and my parents really only spoke it when they didn’t want us to understand. So now I’m Yeshivish with a chassidishe background. Short jacket with gartel. They should have a label for it.


    move to bp, Willi, Sqver…


    Derech HaMelech: They do have a label for it: Heimish.


    droid- i was thinking that!

    derech- lol i found someone like me for a change


    Here is a story written in Yiddish, phonetically and translated


    ?? ?????? ????? ???? ????

    a nomen gebn dos kind

    Naming the child

    ?’??? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ????????????? ??? ???? ????

    siz geven a mol a shuster vos iz nit a’durkh’gekimen mit zayn froy

    There was once a cobbler that was haggleing with his wife

    ??????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???????? ?????, ????? ?? ????

    voser nomen tzu gebn zeyer kind vos vet geborn vern, oyb es vet

    what name to give their child, that will be born, should he be a boy.

    ???? ?? ?????. ?? ???? ???? ???????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ????


    zayn a ying. er hut davka gevolt az dos kind zol heysn nokh zayn foter

    He insisted the child be named after his father

    ??? ?? ???? ??? ??’????’? ???? ???? ??? ??????. ??? ????? ???

    un zi hut zikh ge’akshent davka nokh ir foter. Zey hubn zikh

    and she stubbornly demanded to name the child after her father.

    ???????’????’? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ??

    arum’getaynet a lengre tsayt biz zey hubn makhlit geven tzu geyn tzum

    They squabbled over it for a long time, until they decided to go to the

    ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ????, ??? ????? ?? ???? ????’???? ????? ???? ????.

    Rov, un vos er vet paskenen azoi vet zayn.

    Rabbi and whatever ruling he will give, they will adhere to it.

    ?????? ??????? ??? ??, ????? ?? ??? ????

    beyde gekumen tzum Rov, fregt er dem man

    Both came to the rabbi, he asked the husband:

    “?????”, ???? ?? ?????????




    ???? ????, ???? ????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ???,

    dos kind Yakov, dos heyst Yankl un dernokh vet men shoyn zen,

    the time being let the child be named Yacov, I mean Yankel, and

    ????? ?? ???? ??????????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ????? ????? ????? ???

    oyb er vet oysvaksn a shuster vet er heysn nokhn zeydn fun

    then we wait and see, If he will grow up to be a cobbler

    ??? ??????? ??, ??? ????? ?? ???????, ????? ????? ??? ?? ??????

    dem foters tsad un oyb a shnayder, nokhn zeydn fun di muters

    he will be named after the grandfather from the father’s side and if

    he’ll be a tailor he’ll be named after the grandfather from the mother’s side……


    Droid: That’s what I thought it was called, until one of the many “let’s discuss what a tunabeigel thread is, and other labels” where people were saying that heimishe means less frum or something like that. So I thought I was wrong.

    Another problem that I have, is that the little bit of Yiddish I picked up at home was with a chassidishe havara and then in my later yeshivah/beis medrish years, they speak with a Litvish havara.

    So not only do I get confused, but I sound confused too.


    DhM, where did you learn? I thought Yiddish was gone from the Litvish world except in EY.

    tracht gut

    Yiddish!! The first one of the four languages i’m fluent in…

    Private lessons anyone?


    I would love to do this but haven’t had time. Find an older person who speaks both Yiddish and English that would enjoy teaching you Yiddish and would love the company and feeling of being needed.


    VeryHeavyBear: I am talking about the regular words that come up in Yeshivah.

    I wouldn’t say Yiddish is completely gone either. The Mir has a shiur in Yiddish. Rav Tzvi Kaplan gives a shiur in Yiddish I believe. Yerushalmis still have Yiddishe chedarim.


    🙂 By the Mir I take it you mean the Mir in EY? I was wondering if Yiddish (as opposed to Yeshivishe Reid, Yeshivishe Shprach) is still used in Litvish yeshivos in the US (or Gateshead for that matter).


    Oh. I don’t know what they do in America. I think there’s a yeshivah in Long Island that has a shiur in Yiddish


    to learn Yiddish go to , theye have an online program . If you contact them they’ll also give private lessons . It’s run by a kollel guy in Yerushalayim.

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