Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dievas davė dantis, Dievas duos duonos*

(*Lithuanian proverb: God gave teeth, God will give bread)

Over the holiday, my father pronounced the plural of yontef (yom-tov) as yomteivim ([jǝm'tejvǝm] yum-TAY-vim).

We also discussed the makhzeirim ([max'zejrǝm] makh-ZAY-rim) that we needed to bring to shul.

But of course, the premier Lithuanian holiday isn't for another few weeks. On Heiŝanǝ Rabǝ, we take ǝrǝvǝs and thwhack them against a chair or the fire escape, and say keil mivasser mivasser vi'eimer.


Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

if i recall it was more like
K-ahEL mehvassayer mehvassayer veh'Ah'mer

or at hakofos

t'cha'vay ya'shoe'ace Yan'kif

10/06/2005 4:55 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...


What's with the hyphen in the middle of your transliteration of the word קול?

10/06/2005 7:41 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

I love a lithuanian accent, it reminds me of my Bubby.

I also love Hoshana Rabbah, it's my birthday- my father has a picture of me smacking those aravos on my birthday every year from age 1-10 if not longer.

10/06/2005 9:20 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

The remnants of my family's Litvak accent have been thoroughly Americanized, although i don't know how it would have been stressed back in the old Northeastern Ashkenazic zone.
When my father says it, it sounds just like English:
"kale" "miVAHsser" "miVAHsser" "vee-AY-mer".
All "-er"s are like in American English 'runner', 'singer', etc.

My birthday is Pesahh Sheini — the holiday for impure, distant and/or lazy people (just like me) ;-) .

10/07/2005 7:06 AM  
Blogger Shifra said...

My bubby's accent is also very Americanized. But still rare enough that I think of her when I hear it.

I think you are a little hard on yourself with that assesment don't you?!

10/07/2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

While my description of Pesahh Sheini's purpose is mostly meant to be humorous, i am definitely lazy. And i'm not ashamed of it. Well, maybe a little. ;-)

10/07/2005 8:59 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I didn't know a single word in Lituanian until now. Me, the grandson of Lithuanian immigrants.

10/07/2005 12:58 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


Did they actually speak Lithuanian? I was/am under the impression that if Jews in the Russian empire spoke any language other than Yiddish, it'd've been Russian (or maybe German), not one of the local languages like Lithuanian, Latvian or Ukrainian.

My father said that when his mother wanted to learn Russian in school, her father objected on the basis of "we left that place because they didn't like us, why would you want to learn their language?"

The one word of a Non-Jewish vernacular that i got passed down to me from my ancestors was from my one [maternal] grandmother who came to the USA from Czechoslovakia (my other grandparents were already born in the States): ticho (sounds like "tyih-khaw"), Czech for "silence!" ;-) .

10/07/2005 1:21 PM  
Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

I think my great-grandfather spoke Russian, but he was apparently a bit of a linguist--learned Italian in New York for business purposes. At home they spoke Yiddish.

10/08/2005 9:52 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Only very few Jews knew Lithuanian, mostly those who lived on the countryside and had to do business with Lithuanians. Also, in cities like Vilne, there was no need, because there were hardly any Lithuanians there, as opposed to Jews, Poles and Russians.

10/09/2005 4:03 PM  

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