Low Price Guarantee
We Take School POs
Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods
Contributor(s): Wex, Michael (Author)

View larger image

ISBN: 0061132179     ISBN-13: 9780061132179
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Retail: $17.99OUR PRICE: $13.13  
  Buy 25 or more:OUR PRICE: $12.05   Save More!
  Buy 100 or more:OUR PRICE: $11.51   Save More!

  WE WILL NOT BE UNDERSOLD!   Click here for our low price guarantee

Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: August 2006

Annotation: The entry for "kvetchn (the verbal form) in Uriel Weinreich's "Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary reads simply: "press, squeeze, pinch; strain." There is no mention of grumbling or complaint. You can "kvetch an orange to get juice, "kvetch a buzzer for service, or "kvetch mit di pleytses, shrug your shoulders, when no one responds to the buzzer that you "kvetched. All perfectly good, perfectly common uses of the verb "kvetchn, none of which appears to have the remotest connection with the idea of whining or complaining. The link is found in Weinreich's "strain" which he uses to define "kvetchn zikh, to press or squeeze oneself, the reflexive form of the verb. Alexander Harkavy's 1928 "Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary helps make Weinreich's meaning clearer. It isn't simply to strain, but "to strain," as Harkavy has it, "at stool," to have trouble doing what, if you'd eaten your prunes the way you were supposed to, you wouldn't have any trouble with at all. The connection with complaint lies, of course, in the tone of voice: someone who's "kvetching sounds like someone who's paying the price for not having taken his castor oil---and he has just as eager an audience. A really good "kvetch has a visceral quality, a sense that the "kvetcher won't be completely comfortable, completely satisfied, until it's all come out. Go ahead and ask someone how they're feeling; if they tell you, "Don't ask," just remember that you already have. The twenty-minute litany of "tsuris is nobody's fault but your own.
---from "Born to Kvetch
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Foreign Language Study | Yiddish
- History | Jewish - General
Dewey: 439.109
Physical Information: 0.8" H x 5.34" W x 8" L (0.56 lbs) 336 pages
- Ethnic Orientation - Jewish
Features: Glossary, Price on Product, Price on Product - Canadian, Table of Contents
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:

“An earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews. . . . This treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore offers a fascinating look at how, through the centuries, a unique and enduring language has reflected an equally unique and enduring culture.”--Publishers Weekly, starred review

The main spoken language of the Jews for more than 1,000 years, Yiddish offers a comprehensive picture of the mind-set that enabled them to survive a millennium of unrelenting persecution across Europe. Through the idioms, phrases, metaphors, and fascinating history of this wonderful tongue, Michael Wex gives us a moving and inspiring portrait of a people, and a language, in exile. From tukhes to goy, meshugener to bobe mayse (cok-and-bull story), Born to Kvetch offers a wealth of material, some that has never appeared in English before, on all elements of Yiddish life, including food, nature, divinity, humanity, and even sex.

Contributor Bio(s): Wex, Michael: -

Novelist, lecturer, and translator Michael Wex is one of the leading lights in the revival of Yiddish, and author of the New York Times bestseller Born to Kvetch and its follow-up, Just Say Nu.

Customer ReviewsSubmit your own review
To tell a friend about this book, you must Sign In First!