"In Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex looks at the ingredients that went into this buffet of disenchantment and examines how they were mixed together to produce an almost limitless supply of striking idioms and withering curses (which get a chapter all to themselves). Born to Kvetch includes a wealth of material that's never appeared in English before. You'll find information on the Yiddish relationship to food, nature, divinity, and humanity. There's even a chapter about sex." "This is a look at a language that both shaped and was shaped by those who spoke it. From tukhes to goy, meshugener to kvetch, Yiddish words have permeated and transformed English as well." "Through the idioms, phrases, metaphors, and fascinating history of this kvetch-full tongue, Michael Wex gives us a portrait of a people, and a language, in exile."--BOOK JACKET.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Kvetch Que C'Est? : the origins of Yiddish
2. Six feet under, baking bagels : Yiddish in action
3. Something else to kvetch about : Yiddish dialects
4. Pigs, poultry, and pampers : the religious roots of Yiddish
5. Discouraging words : Yiddish and the forces of darkness
6. You should grow like an onion : the Yiddish curse
7. If it wasn't for bad luck : Mazl, misery, and money
8. "Bupkes means a lot of nothing" : Yiddish and nature
9. Making a tsimmes : food - kosher and treyf
10. A slap in the tukhes and hello : Yiddish life from birth to bar mitzvah
11. More difficult than splitting the Red Sea : courtship and marriage
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