Yeshivish Mainstreams!

The New Yorker, that venerable favorite of generations of East Coast literati, has apparently decided to weigh in on the recent Cross-Currents discussion regarding the use of proper and nuanced English. It may be the first major publication to fully embrace the use of Yeshivish in common discourse.

David Remnick writes therein about Avrum Burg’s [expletives deleted] screed against Israel, Defeating Hitler. Among others, he cites former ambassador Dore Gold, who sums up Burg’s work as “crum pshat.”

I want to be moidia the oilam, however, that there is a groiser tous in the spelling. Dr. Gold mistomo has been hanging around maskilisher chevra, and ahzoi forgot the heimisher derech of how to spell “krum.”. Every bar bei rav dechad yoma knows that a “crum” is something you sometimes find on top of a Dunkin’ Donut, which a geviser mas of the modernisher are known to eat, rachmana litzlan, even though it is not cholov yisroel.

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12 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    For other outsiders who don’t know what krum pshat means (like I didn’t), here’s the relevant portion of the article:

    Conservatives like the former Likud adviser Dore Gold said that Burg’s analysis was “dead wrong: what we used to call crum pshat—twisted interpretation—in the Yeshiva world.”

  2. S. says:

    The maskilishe chevre, of course, would spell it krum peshat, not “pshat.” Come to think of it, probably qerum peshat.

  3. Dr. E says:

    —Every bar bei rav dechad yoma knows that a “crum” is something you sometimes find on top of a Dunkin’ Donut, which a geviser mas of the modernisher are known to eat, rachmana litzlan, even though it is not Cholov Yisroel.—

    Every bar bei rav dechad yoma should know that it’s not just the Modernisher who indulge in Dunkin’ Donuts–altz the heter of powedered milk makes it not only muttar for der yeshivisher oilam, but it shoffs a chiyuv.

  4. Danny Rubin says:

    :-)Now that Yeshivish is in the New Yorker perhaps we can declare it a language and receive government funding for teaching it 🙂

  5. Nachum Lamm says:

    R’ Adlerstein, I’m glad you were able to find something funny in what was a very, very troubling article. (Oh, and I loved Remnick’s line about how many more Palestinians are killed by the IDF in Gaza than Israelis are killed by terrorists. Lovely. V’Lamalshinim…)

  6. Yisroel Moshe says:

    Very Good.

    As for Burg, all I can say is: Loy U’laiynu, elef alfie havdalos from the Sheker Mamush of this Rasha Gumuur.

  7. Aaron says:

    Yeshivish creeping into the mainstream troubles me. If those who speak yeshivish jargon — which, as most jargon, is designed to immediately identify those who didn’t grow up around it — could turn it off, I’d be more impressed. Most can’t and the dirty little secret is that we KNOW we’re aggressively crippling the English of our student-age children in order to prevent their easy blending in. Nonetheless, if you were born and raised in this country and can’t easily write English prose worthy of a business letter or a letter to the editor, that’s criminal. If your accent is so thick that people often ask you to repeat yourself on the phone, you’re part of the problem.

    A professor who can’t turn off academese when addressing those outside his department is engaging in pompous selfishness. Ditto those who cloister themselves with exclusionary dialects.

    We should endeavor to minimize regional accents. If someone who lives an hour’s drive from you can’t easily understand you, you are the source of needless extra effort and gneivas zman that could have been saved if one had spoken clear English in a manner that a foreigner taught English wouldn’t struggle too hard to compare to the English in which he was instructed.

    A good rule of thumb is to speak in the dialect most easily understood by the person in your audience who hails from the location most distant. EVERYONE understood Johnny Carson’s or Ronald Reagan’s accents.

    In other words, I’m not thrilled with yeshivish expanding into vicinities or publications that have folk who aren’t wearing black hats any more than I want more Spanish taught in the local public schools. You want to speak Spanish at home, whoopee. Don’t make me do a double-take due to your pronunciation, and especially so with words that did not exist before I was born.

    Don’t get me started on Californians who pronounce my name identically with the girl’s name Erin. There is no “eh” sound in “Aaron”. Nor is there an “eh” sound in the first syllable of the word “carrot” which should not rhyme with “ferret”.

  8. Baruch Horowitz says:

    Ah! There is nothing that will bring a smile to my face like a discussion b’inyan “Yeshivishe Reid”(even though as mentioned in the comments, the Burg article is a sad one).

  9. Seth Gordon says:

    Personally I think we should just call the dialect “Judeo-English” and write it in Hebrew characters. דער מאדערנישע חעברה קאן ריד דע ווערדס אוט לאוד אין סעפאראדית אנד דער הימישע קאן רידאיט אין אשכנזית.

  10. Bob Miller says:

    Aaron (July 27, 2007 @ 5:47 pm),

    Are you now demanding an end to Californish, too? Which state is up to your standards?

  11. Aaron says:

    Bob, NO regional accent is beneficial. Aim for a newscaster’s “vanilla”. The issue is that people were probably taught short and long vowels correctly as described in a dictionary but then threw it all out when speaking colloquially.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    “Bob, NO regional accent is beneficial.”

    I look at regional accents (and I’ve lived in several regions) as the spice of life. Nearly always, someone who tries can understand. Two engineers in my department at work are from Scotland and I can deal with that, too. In any event, no one is about to take anyone’s dictation in this matter.

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