Americanisms

ROSLYN rosgross at bigpond.net.au
Fri Jan 21 01:43:46 EST 2005


Katie wrote:

> To those of you who mentioned Yiddish accents in talking about dialects 
> and the like, do you have any advice on how to speak with a Yiddish 
> accent?  I am supposed to learn a Yiddish accent to play Fannie Brice in 
> my high school's musical review The Melody Lingers On.  This is funny, 
> because Brice herself did not have a Yiddish accent, and put it on to play 
> her roles.

You have to do a Yiddish accent? Oy vey!

My husband grew up speaking Yiddish and his Aussie English still sounds a 
little different from the norm (whatever that is), but when we first met, it 
had a distinctly Yiddish feel, even though the accent itself was probably 
not a Yiddish one. It was more in the inflections--that kind of questioning, 
upwards tone--and the way he sometimes placed the verb in the Yiddish 
position in sentences; his English sentences wer constructed a little as if 
they were Yiddish. Not in a really obvious way, but slighly askew. The 
trouble is I can't think of an example right now. He still sometimes use an 
English word in a Yiddish manner--like saying "hand" when he means "arm", 
because the Yiddish word "hent" refers to both arm and hand.

I grew up in a bilingual household as well, only when my grandparents spoke 
Yiddish to my brothers and me, we'd answer in English...

All that was perhaps a bit too subtle for your purposes, but if you say 
everything as if you're asking a question (and sound martyred while you're 
doing it:-), use "nu" a few times, and replace "w" with "v", it'll be a 
start...:-)

Ros 

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