IN MOYL ARAYN.

That’s how I’d transliterate the Yiddish title, אין מױל אַרײַן, of a delightful blog I just ran across, using the Lithuanian pronunciation I’m familiar with, but the URL uses the spelling inmolaraan, which leads me to suspect the blogger, the chocolate lady, uses the Polish dialect. At any rate, the name means ‘into the mouth,’ and the blog features עסן און װערטער [esn un verter] ‘eating and words’: what could be better? Don’t be alarmed if you follow the link and see a sea of Yiddish; just scroll down and you’ll find English entries as well, of which this is a fine sample:

A sakh zmires un veynik lokshn (Lots of hymns and just a little pasta) is a Yiddish expression meaning great effort expended for a disappointing result—a long run for a short slide. Zmires are the para-liturgical hymns sung at festive meals, and lokshn (noodles) are especially associated with the Sabbath in Ashkenazic tradition.
For much more on lokshn in the Yiddish language and Jewish life see the hilarious dialogue “Lokshn” [pdf file] by the eternally amazing Noyekh Prilutski. Yet more on lokshn, including a Romanized version of Prilutski’s “Lokshn” can be found in The Mendele Review Special Lokshn Issue, parts one and two. Have a look at A. Almi’s poem about Prilutski while you’re there…
I’ve taken some of the sidebar titles from John Evelyn’s Acetaria: a discourse of sallets. I really like that he has a chapter called “Of composts, and stercoration, repastination, dressing and stirring of the earth and mould of a garden” (all punctuation is in the original), so I’ve used this for my compost entry, even though I have no immediate plans to write any further about compost. For the Yiddish title of this category I used the saying “emes vakst fun der erd aroys” “The truth grows out of the earth.”

I had to look up stercoration (the action or act of manuring with dung) and repastination (the action or process of digging over again).
In Jewish practice, when you first taste a new kind of fruit or vegetable, or taste it again for the first time in a new season, the blessing “Shehekheyonu ve kiyemonu” (“who has kept us alive and sustained us”) expresses thanksgiving for having remained alive to experience this time. Think of those first crunchy apples in the fall. These words, along with John Evelyn’s “A garden deriv’d and defin’d; its dignity, distinction and sorts” are the titles for the category of posts about the delights and curiosities of the plant world.

I think that blessing is appropriate also for the experience of first encountering this tasty new blog.

Comments

  1. Hi, I came here via lurking at Metafilter. I’m just interested in what books you’d recommend in the field of linguistics. I’m an avid reader and noticed you didn’t like what Chomsky or Pinker had to offer in that field so I’d like to hear what you’d recommend instead. Thanks.
    Brett.

  2. Lithuanian, Yiddish, eating: this reminds me of the delicious kybyn (kibinai) I had in the Lithuanian city of Trakai in summer. This dish is traditional for the Jewish Karaim community in Trakai.

  3. Brett: There are good short lists here and here; I don’t know most of the books, but I haven’t been keeping up with the field for the last 25 years or more, so the books I do know are pretty ancient: Bloomfield, Hockett, etc. Since the books I do know on these lists are good, and they don’t have any Chomsky, I figure they’re OK. Oh, and I highly recommend Jim Quinn’s American Tongue and Cheek; it’s not a linguistics book as such, but it’s a very sharp look at various controversial points of English usage informed by sound linguistic reasoning, plus it’s funny as hell. He’s a true populist and my kind of guy.

  4. The blog reminds me of the following joke:
    What is Jewish history in less than ten words?
    They tried to kill us. They lost. Let’s eat.

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