Friday, April 29, 2016

#atozchallenge: Yinglish

Yinglish =
Yiddish + English


Remember these commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

The same thing happens when languages collide: there’s some transfer of words, phrases, and expressions between the two languages. In the case of Yinglish, this would be Yiddish speakers with the English language and vice versa. Lots of words and expressions have crossed over from Yiddish into English, such as bagel, shlemiel, oy gevalt, mazel tov, and yenta. Expressions like, “what am I, a doctor?”, “on you, it looks good,” and “all right, already!” maintain the Yiddish word order, but use the English words. And some words have crossed over from English and become part of the Yiddish language. Leo Rosten, who wrote the book The Joys of Yinglish, calls those words Ameridish, a portmanteau of American and Yiddish.

You see other portmanteaus to describe the combinations of other languages with English…

Spanglish: Spanish and English
Franglish: French and English
Hinglish: Hindi and English
Denglish: German (Deutsch) and English
Dunglish: Dutch and English
Chinglish: Chinese and English


English is a mutt of a language anyway, based in Anglo-Saxon and borrowing words from Latin, Greek, Arabic, Gaelic, and practically all the other languages on earth. This should come as no surprise. There are those who believe that languages should be pure and exhibit very little influence of other languages. I’m not sure that’s possible, or desirable. What do you think?


from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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