3 Universites - 1 Degree - Fake?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by JasonMBA, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    You folks who know Latin boggle my mind. The only Latin I know is law school Latin, which means I know a smattering of phrases here and there and absolutely no grammar whatsoever--the functional equivalent of someone who picked up a translation book and now as a tourist in some foreign land knows just barely enough to get themselves in serious trouble, like this poor schmuck.

  2. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    He he! I needed a good laugh! :)
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Maybe Hungarian might work for you, FTF -- or maybe not - but I think you just got yourself in a bit of a bind with Yiddish. "Schmuck " is literally penis - or sometimes just that portion which is removed during circumcision - and the word has been "regarded as so vulgar as to be taboo." https://www.etymonline.com/word/schmuck The late comedian Lenny Bruce said he was once arrested for using the word on the West Coast in his comedy routine. It's sometimes euphemized as "Shmoe" (5 Guys named Shmoe?) and was the source of the Shmoo - a creature invented by Al Capp in Li'l Abner.

    Yiddish is such a fertile language - there are so many words for that body part! Three others come immediately to mind - putz, petzl & shvantz (Attorneys-at-law?) and there have to be at least half-a-dozen more I can't think of right now. They don't all have the secondary meaning of "jerk" or "hapless incompetent," though. For that specific description you really need schlemiel (general jerk) or schlimazel (hard-luck guy, everything happens to him) or maybe shmendrick (ineffectual, foolish person.)

    Then there's Shmegeggy. A shmegeggy is the low-order guy who gets to clean up the soup the Schlemiel spilled on the Schlimazel! Yiddish is a wonderfully expressive language - and I don't mean just the bad or insulting words. I first heard it when I was about 15 and studying German in school. The owners of a local clothing store were speaking Yiddish to each other and I found I could understand about half through my couple of years of German. Reading, etc. in Yiddish is a bit more demanding, as it's written in a modified Hebrew alphabet. Luckily, I had an amazing first Latin teacher in 1955, when I was about 12, who taught us about language families and alphabets - including the Phoenician, Greek and Hebrew ones. I've been hooked languages ever since his introduction.

    Anyway, no harm done, FTF. You've just proven your own point - it's easy to get in trouble relying on phrasebooks etc. So... zei gezunt! (I wish you well - lit. be healthy).
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  4. Michigan68

    Michigan68 Active Member

    Nice Laverne and Shirley reference.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Never saw that episode. The schlemiel /schlimazel thing is part of Jewish folklore. Google it and you get many, many results. Good retelling by Menachem Feuer here: https://schlemielintheory.com/2014/05/06/the-schlemiel-as-essentially-existential/
    Good show, Laverne and Shirley. I remember Lenny and Squiggy - I think they'd qualify as nudnicks in Yiddish. I went to high school with a couple of guys like them -- and met many more later, at work ... you know how it is.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  6. frkurt

    frkurt New Member

    Huzzah for use of the word nudnicks! I've not seen that in ages.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Another word I learned indirectly from Al Capp (Li'l Abner) when I was about 10-11 years old (1953-54) and new to Canada (from England). In the comic strip, there was a kind of wise-kid who lived in Al's Lower Slobbovia (i.e. the Soviet Union) named "Little Noodnik." I didn't put it all together until I learned the term "nudnick" in Yiddish about 4 years later, in my teens. I was learning German in school and found it a useful key to a good bit of the Yiddish I heard in stores around town. Al knew how to have fun with Yiddish - e.g. the "shmoo" described above.
  8. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I remember Li'l Abner comic strips when I was little!
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    As a kid, I learned a lot from that strip - including how Americans had a tendency to look down on other Americans, as well as people from other countries. Just like back home in England. And just like plenty of Canadians, for that matter.

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