I Mumble in Mandaic.

Josh Tyra’s “I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist” is an absolute delight, illustrations included. Go watch it. (Warning: After it’s over, if you don’t click “Cancel” another video begins. I don’t know why this is the case with so many YouTube videos now, but it is.) Thanks, bulbul! (He also sent a link to “A sitcom (of sorts) in Yiddish,” YidLife Crisis, so for those of you who have been yearning for such a thing, there it is.)

Comments

  1. Both links are terrific!

    As to another video beginning on YouTube after the first one ends, there’s a button on the upper right that cancels the action.

  2. I know, and I suppose I’ll get used to it, but right now I’m used to just hitting Play and forgetting about it, so it’s dashed irritating.

  3. David Marjanović says:

    Playlists are set to play all videos in a row by default.

    The trick, which you seem to have discovered, is to cut the “&list=” part off of the URL.

  4. AJP Corvax says:

    Thanks, bulb.

    I don’t get this follow on, but I’m not ‘signed in’ at Youtube (and I don’t keep their cookies).

  5. YidLife Crisis is a compendium of clichés on the Yiddish language and culture. Besides the language of these skteches is often inconsistent.
    Read more: http://yiddish.forward.com/articles/181337/yidlife-crisis/?p=all#ixzz3CtMTp0KL

  6. Aren’t sitcoms always compendiums of clichés?

  7. It may be full of tired cliches, but to have Yiddish and Joual together in one video is my linguistic dream world.

  8. I didn’t know that Murray was a Biblical Philologist!

  9. Hmm. Two videos. The first speaks of a demonstration that the Philistines were “almost certainly” Canadian, and the second involves language contact between Yiddish and (gasp) Canadian French. Coincidence? DOS DENK IKH NIT 🙂

    P.S. If the above was not good Yiddish, just consider it another case of Canadian French-Yiddish language contact!

  10. motl,

    thank you for the link. As for your assessment, I’m with hat: YidLife crisis does (like most sitcoms) deal with cliches, but I find it does so cleverly and, most importantly, does so while being funny (unlike most sitcoms, especially those by Chuck Lorre). The visual gag at the end of “Great Debates” had me in stitches all morning, so the exchange “Jesus Christ … Eeeeer iz geven a Yid!”. Add that to the sheer pleasure of hearing Yiddish in a modern context AND occasionally mixed with Quebecois French and I, ever the nitpicky querulant, am happy.

  11. If bulbul is happy, I‘m happy.

  12. The trouble with this MMG parody, like most, is that it fails to represent the “turn” at the beginning of the third verse, in which the MG admits what he cannot do: it just goes on with what he can do. Kevin Wald’s Xena-flavored parody doesn’t have that problem, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.

  13. Points off for misspelling Mycenaean as “Mycenian” and rhyming it with parthenian (a word which does actually exist, in case anyone was, like myself, wondering: 1892 W. W. Peyton Mem. Jesus iv. 88 “Nature is not cheated of her rights when a parthenian birth takes place in the human family”).

  14. You’re going to complain about Mycenian when the Glorious Original has parabolous and adventury, to say nothing of the stress shift in General in the last stanza? Forced rhymes and rhythms and oddball words are part of the form of MMG parodies. Indeed, although quadratical and animalculous are both in the OED3, only three pre-Gilbert and one post-Gilbert quotation is given for each word, along with Gilbert’s own usage, of course, and of those ten quotations, four belong to comic verses:

    a1690 S. Jeake Λογιστικη Λογια (1696) 645 The Quotient shall be squaredly Quadratical.

    1690 W. Leybourn Cursus Mathematicus 343 To receive as many Cubical Points, as the Co-efficient doth Quadratical.

    1721 E. Hatton Intire Syst. Arithm. p. viii, I have shewed not only the Solution of Simple Equations and those by various Positions, but Quadratical and Cubical.

    1880 W. S. Gilbert Pirates of Penzance i. 54, I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical.

    1999 Energy & Buildings 29 286/2 The method leads only to quadratical convergence when the estimate is close to the solution.

    1772 N. D. Falck Treat. Venereal Dis. iii. iv. 387 An anthelmintic is any thing that will destroy worms, and animalculous vermin.

    1782 G. A. Stevens Songs, Comic & Satyrical (ed. 2) 137 Those Atoms of Clay which you see to and fro, Skip about on yon’ Globular Crust, Like the blue on a plumb are but Insects you know A mere Animalculous Dust.

    1871 M. F. Squier tr. A. Morelet Trav. C. Amer. vi. 239 The pores of the skin will speedily be invaded by a host of animalculous tigers.

    1879 W. S. Gilbert Pirates of Penzance i. 14 I’m very good at integral & differential calculus, I know the scientific names of beings animalculous.

    1923 Phi Gamma Delta May 782/1 Chemistry, calculus, Germs animalculous, Stems philological, Subjects hodge-podgical.

    I have to think that 1999 is a simple error.

  15. I call to your attention the first of the Notes:

    [1] Actually, “Mytilene” would properly be accented on the third syllable; Gabrielle always did have trouble with rhymes. […]

    I assume ex silentio that the author was unaware of the correct spelling and pronunciation of Mycenaean. I may, of course, be wrong, in which case I am puzzled as to why he felt a note to be needed in the one case and not in the other.

  16. True. But ex silentio (why not e silentio, while we are picking nits?) is not a safe assumption with Kevin Wald. (In addition to what’s linked there, I draw your attention to “For Ant of a Nail”, a fanfic about Xenwa, Warrior Wprincess (as Nick Nicholas calls her), and the letter ϝ.) No, I think it’s just Wald being plucky and adventury.

  17. Trond Engen says:

    John Cowan: I have to think that 1999 is a simple error.

    How? It sounds quite contemporary to me. And the title of the quoted publication even more so. But that doesn’t mean it’s good, idiomatic contemporary English. There are lots of non-natives’ English in modern scientific publications, and I for one am often at loss when trying to decide whether to add an al or an ally. Or nothing.

  18. Well, Google says it’s 90% “quadratic convergence”, 10% “quadratical convergence”, so I think the editor of Energy and Buildings (an Elsevile journal) should have changed it. But yes, English is irregular about this stuff: there is no particular reason why we say separate not *separe and prepare not *preparate, or why postpone is universally accepted whereas prepone is still specific to the Indian subcontinent.

  19. David Marjanović says:

    I think the editor of Energy and Buildings (an Elsevile journal) should have changed it

    The so-called editors of scientific journals are not paid to edit the manuscripts they receive. Their job, usually unpaid as well, is merely to organize peer review and make a decision about accepting or rejecting the manuscript. To say “I have trouble understanding that, rewrite it” is part of the unpaid job of the reviewers, not generally the editors.

    Some journals are still copyedited, but most are not.

    Anyway, I’m going to steal “Elsevile”. ^_^

  20. I first heard it from Dorothea Salo, who’s a geek, librarian and open-access advocate, long before I went to work there (on the LexisNexis side, not the journal side).

  21. Stephen Bruce says:

    why not e silentio, while we are picking nits?

    If we’re really picking nits, we might note that ex was more common than e in classical Latin, even before consonants!

    From the OED, it seems that Mycenaean, with stress on the penultimate, arose in the 18th century when the word was reformed from Latin and Greek. Before then, Mycenian or Mycenean was common, with stress on the antepenultimate, e.g. in Pope:

    Thus from the rage of Jove-like Hector flew
    All Greece in heaps; but one he seized, and slew:
    Mycenian Periphes, a mighty name,
    In wisdom great, in arms well known to fame;

  22. From the OED, it seems that Mycenaean, with stress on the penultimate, arose in the 18th century when the word was reformed from Latin and Greek. Before then, Mycenian or Mycenean was common, with stress on the antepenultimate, e.g. in Pope

    I’ll be damned — thanks, I am now more educated than before!

  23. Regarding Yiddish, I allow myself to consider that although linguists or philologists you are not aware that you play yourself and complacently conventional attitudes of minorisation of the Yiddish language and culture.
    Your reaction would certainly be different if anyone would massacre (in a sitcom or elsewhere) by ignorance the Slovak language or some other language of significance for you.

  24. Trond Engen says:

    massacre (in a sitcom or elsewhere) by ignorance the Slovak language or some other language of significance for you.

    I’m not sure if you object to the authenticity of the language, its purity or some measure of stylistic quality. I have no way to judge it on either scale, but as I understand the linguists above, they love it because it presents Yiddish as a contemporary, colloquial, living language in Quebec, rather than as some sort of sacred gem never to be touched by unworthy human tongues again. If it’s about purity, the whole idea of applying the concept of a “pure” language to Yiddish is ridiculous, owing as it does its whole existence to centuries as a minority language.

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