..."an earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews, which has roots reaching back to the Hebrew Bible and which continues to thrive in 21st-century America. Canadian professor, translator and performer Wex has an academic's breadth of knowledge, and while he doesn't ignore your "bubbe's tsimmes, he gives equal time to the semantic nuances of "putz, "schmuck, "shlong and "shvants. Wex organizes his material around broad, idiosyncratic categories, but like the authors of the Talmud (the source for a large number of Yiddish idioms), he strays irrepressibly beyond the confines of any given topic. His lively wit roams freely, and Rabbi Akiva and Sholem Aleichem collide happily with Chaucer, Elvis and Robert Petrie. . . . 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 "Wise, witty and altogether wonderful.... Mr. Wex has perfect pitch. He always finds the precise word, the most vivid metaphor, for his juicy Yiddishisms, and he enjoys teasing out complexities. "
---William Grimes, "The New York Times
"Wise, witty and altogether wonderful...." -- New York Times
"Required reading." -- New York Post
Required reading. --New York Post
"Wise, witty and altogether wonderful...."--New York Times
"Required reading."--New York Post
Wise, witty and altogether wonderful.... --New York Times"
Required reading. --New York Post"
A humorous history of the Yiddish language from the middle ages to today traces the origins of numerous everyday terms, citing events throughout the past one thousand years that contributed to Jewish European communication practices.