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#32031 - 06/13/01 08:25 AM  
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Max Quordlepleen Offline
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#32032 - 06/13/01 12:31 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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well tsuwm's knowledge of Yiddish is most likely better than mine, and since i tend to contribute from work (where i have no need of a shelf of reference book on language, even if i want to carry all of them in to the office!) I am hazzarding a guess.
-- that "schmatitude " is a made up word-- and like many other expressions is doubled rhymed pair. (zig- zag, rollie -pollie, eeny-meeny) for emphisis. the "schm" has a nice yiddish feel to it-- and the right sound value..

So-- yes, it's just an idiom-- an emphatic way of saying "I don't care what you think--do it any way" .


#32033 - 06/14/01 05:14 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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I've used the prefix schm-- with hundreds of different words in the same context, Max. I grew up by and around New York, so it was a common way of ridiculing a word or idea...just add that prefix. Attitude/schmattitude!; anger/schmanger!; wonderful/schmunderful!...wherever it would fit comfortably as that type of device. And I add the exclamation point because, for me, it was always an expression of exclamation!!!

The whys and wherefores, the linguistic origins (Yiddish or otherwise) I never explored...though I always supposed it was Yiddish.


#32034 - 06/14/01 05:48 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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I too use this a lot, and I grew up in little old Oz. Does anyone else use it in the middle of words, eg embarrassment emschmarrassment, or intoxicated, inschmoxicated?

And for that matter, what is the protocol when two (or more) words are involved? Does "Yellow Pages" (struggling to find examples) become "Schmellow Schmages"? And would "A Word A Day" become "A Schmird A Schmay"?

Not that I'm intending to ridicule or belittle AWAD in any way.

[wonders-if-he'll-escape-unscathed-e]


#32035 - 06/14/01 11:04 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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doc_comfort [wonders-if-he'll-escape-unscathed-e]

There was back in the old days a thing that made the rounds, in whatever way things made the rounds before email and the internet, that was, I am sure, meant to ridicule the final group mentioned (and possibly the first group, too). It stated that there were three kinds of people; those who watch things happen, those who make things happen and those who wonder why things happen. I would classify the likes of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and now, thanks to your post, doc_c, you in the third category.


#32036 - 06/14/01 03:24 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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this too shall pass
although I wonder why ot would look to me {tsuwm being, I have come to discover, a Hebrew word meaning to fast} for Yiddish expertise, I would throw out this fwiw: the Yiddish word shmata (or shmatteh (or schmata?)), meaning a rag, hence anything worthless (now worthless... this I know :); so, shmata => shmattitude, worthless attitude, etc.?

or it could be coincidence... shmoincidence.

#32037 - 06/16/01 03:23 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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<<{tsuwm being, I have come to discover, a Hebrew word meaning to fast}

I would throw out this fwiw: the Yiddish word shmata (or shmatteh (or schmata?)), meaning a rag, hence anything worthless (now worthless... this I know :);

or it could be coincidence... shmoincidence.>>

In reverse order:

I vote schmoincidence. People around her stick "schm" onto almost anything (as a carnie did, recently, "Try your luck, schmuck"). But seriously...

"Schmata" rag, yes. Hence, it is also a derragotory term for the kerchief a woman wears to hide her hair from all men but the one she married.

I don't have a Hebrew dictionary, but the word I remember for "fast" (noun form) is Tainus/Tainut (depending whether you come from Northern Europe or Northern Africa). A "Tsee-um," ( the "u" > or < like that in the ger. "unter") on the other hand, is the small ceremony noting the completion of a portion of the Talmud, for example, or the whole thing (a much bigger event). How is "Tswum" used--outside the law?


#32038 - 06/16/01 04:45 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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this too shall pass
>How is "Tswum" used--outside the law?

I do not know Hebrew, but ycliu. try googling tsuwm (note spelling), those hits that are not my estimable self are Hebraic references, such as Strong's Index:
http://www.johnhurt.com/htmlbible/kjvstrongs/STRHEB66.htm



#32039 - 06/18/01 10:36 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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One of the Israeli prime ministers was strongly criticized for saying Shmorocco in a debate: and he would have been speaking Hebrew rather than Yiddish, so either it has been taken up into Modern Hebrew from Yiddish, or it was Hebrew to begin with.

I don't know of any basis for it in Ancient Hebrew. That is, I can't think of a grammatical explanation for it: it looks like a sound-symbolic thing. There are so many variously derogatory terms in sh + consonant (shlemiel, shnook, shlepper, shlemozzle, shnozzola, shmuck, shmoe, etc. etc.) that it looks like a prefix. I don't know enough Hebrew to see whether there's any common pattern in forming these.

One thing. The Biblical relative pronoun is 'asher, but there was apparently a short form sh. I've never seen it in the Bible so perhaps it was a later formation, a contraction of 'asher. In Modern Hebrew it forms a possessive 'of' when combined with l- 'to': i.e. the prefix shl- 'of' comes from 'which-is-to-'. This suggests that the sound-symbolic sh- forms might have arisen in a similar way.

Afterthought. I gather Begin (or whoever it was) just said Shmorocco instead of Morocco, i.e. no reduplication. It was this departure from the familiar Yiddish idiom that attracted my attention.

#32040 - 06/18/01 11:35 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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no reduplication

What - he didn't beginagain?


#32041 - 02/13/02 04:11 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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God forbid I should resurrect such an old thread, but someone asked the Straight Dope about the X, schmX question. Give a solid answer they didn't, but it is a nice little discussion about Yiddish in English.

You want a link, here it is: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/myiddish.html


#32042 - 02/13/02 04:25 PM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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from the link: during WWII, my father-in-law was in the American army, in one of the advance units moving into Germany. He was the translator when his unit encountered German civilians, because he spoke Yiddish--as close to German as his unit was going to get.

When my parents traveled in Europe (not Germnany) in the 1960's and would try to communciate with folks who spoke no English, they quickly discovered that my mother's french was far less useful than my father's yiddish.


#32043 - 02/17/02 09:32 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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When my parents traveled in Europe (not Germnany) in the 1960's and would try to communciate with folks who spoke no English, they quickly discovered that my mother's french was far less useful than my father's yiddish.

Oh? Where was that? While I know absolutely nothing about Yiddish, I understand that it incorporates a lot of German or at least Germanic words. I can accept that it would probably be well-known in predominantly Jewish communities throughout Europe. But the French are so xenophobic about language that I find it very hard to believe that Yiddish would have been more useful in France than French!



The idiot also known as Capfka ...
#32044 - 02/17/02 11:30 AM Re: Help! Schmelp  
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Where? I specifically recall them commenting on incidents like that in Italy, Greece and Turkey. I personally saw it while with them in Greece.

You're quite right, Kiwi, the point did not apply to France: when there, the french language was the more useful.

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