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The Joys of Yinglish: An Exuberant Dictionary of Yiddish Words, Phrases, and Locutions ...

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  442 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Leo Rosten has created a sweeping survey of that delicious amalgam of Yiddish and English that has made such an enormous impact wherever English is spoken or understood.
Hardcover, 584 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by McGraw-Hill Companies (first published 1968)
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W.B.
I had never read this before! The perfect bathroom/bathtub book! Very funny! I hope to assimilate at least half of the words in here.
Jules Vilmur
A dictionary to fall in love with: I never wished I'd studied Linguistics as badly as I did while reading this book. In the preface, Rosten writes "I think Yiddish a language of exceptional charm ... a tongue that never takes its tongue out of its cheek." and then he goes on to demonstrate that charm and cheekiness for 500 some-odd pages.
David
Yes, it's a dictionary, but the best definitions ever! If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a schlemiel and a schlamazel, or the grades of 'oy' (oy, oy vey, oy gevalt!) this is the book for you. Lots of practical examples and real-life usages. There's even a few serious entries. A great reference to have around.
Duzzlebrarian
This is the only dictionary I have ever read cover-to-cover, and the only dictionary I'd call a must-read. I read it, and came to an earth-shattering conclusion: all the people I know who think they're Afrikaners are actually, secretly, deep in their bones, Yiddish. And the reverse is probably true, too.
tiffany
this is a reference/dictionary of yiddish sayings, etc. and is a fun factual book for looking up things that you hear and may or may not have know the root of. i would say fun for both jewish and non jewish alike.
Marilyn Hartl
Vat can I say...I was in love with a Vonderful Jewish man...I read everything I could to keep up with all the crazy things he said. It was a funny, fun book. It was a long time ago. Life goes on.
The Library Lady
The book I turn to whenever I am writing about Yiddish. Not only a language book--there are wonderful classic Jewish jokes here as well.
Arthur Gershman
No one can say it better than Leo Rosten whose subtitle to "Joys" reads: "A relaxed lexicon of Yiddish, Hebrew and Yinglish words often encountered in English, plus dozens that ought to be, with serendipitous excursions into Jewish humor, habits, holidays, history, religion, ceremonies, folklore, and cuisine, the whole generously garnished with stories, anecdotes, epigrams, Talmudic quotations, folk sayings and jokes-from the days of the Bible to those of the beatnik."
Written in 1968 and an inst
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Ben Peters
I tried to not enjoy this book but couldn't help myself. It is a romp of a good time rolled up into a reference book. A summary of Leo Rosten's points and a small sampling of anecdotes and aphorisms follow. I find it personally odd that I had to leave New York for a year in Jerusalem before I discovered this book. One of my colleagues here said the volume was like sacred scripture for him growing up in Brooklyn.

A reference built for lovers of language, culture, and laugh-out-loud witticism, The
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Koen Crolla
Rosten is, at this point, an uncomfortable anachronism both religiously (e.g. in his hostility to Reform Judaism) and politically (casual misogyny being his most obvious and frequently indulged vice, though belligerent parochiality is another), but Bush corrects most of his flaws in notes if not in the actual text—including, usually, Rosten's sometimes truly bizarre choices in orthography.
I don't speak a lot of Yiddish myself—I know one song, and that's about it (my German is passable, though)—a
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Chuck
Very useful and informative book, especially for the uninitiated (enjoyable and colorful, too). Unfortunately one cannot read it without reflecting on the obliteration of the vibrant centers of Yiddish culture in central and eastern Europe in the middle years of the 20th century. Terrible loss for humanity.
Shoshi
This is an absolute, funny and hilarious book. A joy to read. I couldnt stay away from reading the anecdotes, jokes and little stories. The famous humor from the Jewish people. Yiddish is a combination of German, mixed with Eastern languages and some Hebrew. Its a dying language. Highly recommended !
Joy
For some reason my parents, mid-western blue collar Catholics, enjoyed books about Yiddish and the Jewish experience. I remembered the joke about the moyel (moehel?) for about twenty years before I understood it. So I still remember it. Look it up.
Ellen
I've owned this book for about 20 years, and I still pick it up and browse through it periodically. With his fabulous sense of humor Rosten takes the reader through a history of Yiddish and common words and phrases, explaining them with in a really witty way. I can remember my grandparents and parents using some of these words and phrases, but as they were all born in America they weren't fluent speakers of Yiddish.

I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about Yiddish and incor
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University of Chicago Magazine
Leo Calvin Rosten, PhB'30, PhD'37
Author
Heather Maryson
A wonderful book whether you are Jewish or not. Funny and enlightening Leo Rosten's typically Jewish self depricating humour makes you laugh out loud and also gives insight into this culture.
Anyone with an interest in Jewish culture will enjoy I am sure.
Rhonda Keith  Stephens
Whether you get the older or the newer edited version, if you like language you must have this on your shelf. Leo Rosten, the original writer/editor, lists Yiddish words and their definitions, but also adds cultural explanations, stories and jokes, to explain the sense of the words in depth. Essential for anyone who wants a better understanding of the contributions of Yiddish to English. You can dip into it anywhere to learn and enjoy.
Crystal
This was a fantastic book, filled with jokes and anecdotes that had me laughing out loud. Having studied some German, I thoroughly enjoyed all the linguistic trivia, as well as Rosten's decided opinions of which words should (or shouldn't) be used. The book took me much longer to read than anticipated since it reads a bit like a dictionary, but it was well worth it in the end.
Keith Slade
Enjoyable book about the Yiddish language which is a mixture of German and Hebrew. It was spoken by the Eastern European Jews (like Tevya in the Fiddler on the Roof), many of whom came to the U.S. We have fun words from this language like schlemiel and kitsch.
Jay Ginsburg
This isn't a book you 'finish.' When a question comes up, you pull out the book, try to find the word you heard, and then you keep on in Rosten's world of insight, stories, etc. I probably prefer his original, but I look at all 3 of the books we have.
Retrovold
This author is a man I like coming back to since my mum instoruced me to Mr. Kaplan who is just a brilliant man. Joys of Yiddish is filled with most amazing anecdote's that would just lighen up everyone even Snape perhaps.

Judith
Yiddish is such fun, bubeleh! And we use it all the time without knowing it.

Leo Rosten is hilarious but so snobby ("Mother would never...") and not
culturally-sensitive. Was it the '60s or just the way he was?
Michael
Actually, I twice read the earlier, unrevised version, but Goodreads' searcher didn't find that one. Anyway, it's a fun read and I learned a bunch of words I will probably never have occasion to use.
Bill Sweet
Only get the first edition, which is a beautiful primer on Jewish history and humor. The revised edition reduced it to yet another cutesy lexicon of Yinglish.

Yiddish is a real, living language.
Dottie
Somehow or other I've had a word or two or three of Yiddish become part of my vocabulary in a way which seems they were forever -- and I find myself adding more as years pass. And so -- this book.
Jason
Ever wondered about the meaning of words like mensch, oy, bagel, and farklempt? Here's a hilarious dictionary of Yiddish, with definitions, humor, stories, and cultural commentary.
Ellen
A wonderful book; I've decided that Yiddish is the language of humor and insults, and Rosten's witty prose style makes this book read more like entertainment than reference.
Shirley
I read this book many years ago. Pulled it out recently for my husband to use for research. I love Leo Rosten and this book is both entertaining and informative.
Sandra
Jul 12, 2008 Sandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any wordsmith; and interest in yiddish
Recommended to Sandra by: My very good friend Sandy.
Great little book. Nice dictionary and lots of great parables and jokes that help to define the yiddish meaning. Some things are undefinable. Easy and fun to read
Meltha
This is the one I own, although I actually prefer the un-updated version as this one is rather less funny and more serious than the original.
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Leo Calvin Rosten (April 11, 1908 - February 19, 1997) was born in Lodz, Russian Empire (now Poland) and died in New York City. He was a teacher and academic, but is best known as a humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism and Yiddish lexicography.
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