Linda Keenan over at Huffingtonpost has put together a nicely written, tongue-in-cheek article on the – inevitable – anti-Semitic comments that ensued when Sarkozy’s proposal of every French fifth-grader “adopting” a Holocaust victim hit the news. For all those that have missed that story, Sarkozy suggested that – to encourage remembrance of the individual victims – every child in France should become “godparent” for a person that died in the Holocaust. Needless to say, this proposal has been controversially discussed in France.
I cannot help but love Linda’s sense of humour. The only thing I’d like to add is: it’s “farka[c]kt” not “fercockt”. 😉

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froylein

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  • hey! this is linda keenan. give a nice irish catholic girl a break. havent i done enough for the jewish people today? this comment is ferkokt. or whatever it is. i DID google it. i thought it was spelled right. now im embarrassed. i also left the de out of tout de suite. but that was on purpose. – linda keenan

  • Hey Linda, I’m greatly sympathetic to Irish Catholics and got my green outfit ready for 17th March. As for the spelling, it’s a phonetic transliteration, so it’s somewhat free, but since the word is derived from German “Kacke” (= poop), ‘farkackt’ does it more justice. Don’t worry about the ‘de’; French usually talk too fast for anybody to notice its existence.

  • You don’t need to go all the way to France for anti-Semitism, there’s plenty of it at Huffingtonpost, by contributors and commenters alike. I applaud Linda for trying to add some balance there. I still don’t understand why Jews would want to associate themselves with that site or DailyKos though.

  • Dang, for fun, I went into the lion’s den and I looked at Linda’s post which was indeed well written. As soon as I got to the comments section, I was instantly struck, but not surprised by the level of Jew hatred, bias, and anti-semitism in them. Then of course, there was a Jew or an objective person who tried to debate or correct one of the haters. I instantly thought of Sisyphus. What a futile task it has to be a liberal Jew on a liberal blog and try to help your other idiot liberal co-commenters see your point. Good luck with that. It’s why I stopped identifying with liberals after college. Please, do keep up the good fight and elect Obama and/or Hillary and convince us later that they were good for Jews and Israel. 🙂

  • hello there, this is linda keenan, the writer. i agree it is sisyphian. it is impossible to have rational discourse on the topic. the commentary to that first sarkozy story really disturbed me. it might interest you to know that the comments on my story (not the original news piece) had 14 comments at one point and then went down to 7. im guessing a moderator stepped in to patrol hate speech but that is purely a guess.
    cheers to all – linda k.

  • Linda, well, I appreciate that you are keeping up the good fight. More power to you and good luck. I do not envy you.

    TM, funny, I’d say over the years of reading this blog, I’ve felt my views were closest to yours and probably more to CKs, especially during those stints over at Kabombfest when I trying to do what Linda is in engaged in over at huffpo. However, since I see that your contribution to this discussion has consisted of assistance with Yiddish and trying to be funny, (that was what you were trying to be, no? :)), I’ll thank you for pointing out that I was, in fact, using the now deprecated term of “liberal”. I completely forgot that after the 04 elections, liberals decided to drop that moniker and “re-frame” themselves as “progressives” as if that had any better connotations. So, in order to make sure I can better relate to you, I am reposting my comment with the new terminology. I’ve even removed “idiot” from it so as to make it more objective and less insulting to you; if that is what I did, as it was not intended.

    “Dang, for fun, I went into the lion’s den and I looked at Linda’s post which was indeed well written. As soon as I got to the comments section, I was instantly struck, but not surprised by the level of Jew hatred, bias, and anti-semitism in them. Then of course, there was a Jew or an objective person who tried to debate or correct one of the haters. I instantly thought of Sisyphus. What a futile task it has to be a progressive Jew on a progressive blog and try to help your other progressive co-commenters see your point. Good luck with that. It’s why I stopped identifying with progressives after college. Please, do keep up the good fight and elect Obama and/or Hillary and convince us later that they were good for Jews and Israel.”

    So, now with the proper nomenclature intact, do you have anything to add besides that I used the same term 4 times and that I’m known to be verbose?

  • The spelling of the prefix as “fer-” would only do the pronunciation justice if the reader perceives as phonetically regular; the average English speaker though gets a better idea of the pronunciation of the word with the prefix spelled as “far-“.

  • Alex, you are verbose! And you reminded me of those old and now thankfully gone (at least for me) Kaboomfest days. Fortunately for both of us, while I have a soft spot in my heart for “liberals,” I can’t stand “progressives,” so insult away.

    I do have one question for you. When somebody writes a paragraph and uses the term “neo-cons” multiple times, with the intent to mean a “bad” group of people with right-wing leanings, don’t you just tune that person out automatically? I do. I have the same reaction to similar use of “liberal” (though not “progressive” because progressives are known to be the vilest of the vile and even worse than gentile neo-Cons when it comes to running governments).

    😉

  • Urgh, Middle, “fer” – just as you used it above – pronounces with a sound called “shwa” in phonetics (didn’t I tell you I had to study phonetics and phonology?). It does not convey the /e/ sound in the German – and Yiddish – prefix “ver-“. German’s only got a two-way distinction in the pronunciation of f-sounds (/f/ and /v/ as opposed to English /f/, /v/, /w/), so the phonetic value of the German /v/ would correspond to /f/, the phonetic value of the German /e/ in prefixes not starting with “Ge-” is closest to the phonetic value of the English /a/ followed by “-r” in prefixes not derived from the single-morpheme word “far”. More here…

  • (I looked up that word in an online Yiddish/English dictionary and couldn’t find it. I have no idea what shvirig/shveerik means. If it means “handsome,” than the answer to your question is that it’s all in the genes.)

  • Alex,

    Don’t be miffled by the irrelevant comments of the middle.

    Instead of attacking the concepts that you write he focuses on words.

    What are you gonna do? thats how some folks deflect arguments…

  • maybe someone here will know this: my best friend, jewlicious, always uses this term, i have no idea how to spell it but here goes: goyishe-cup that’s how he pronounces it. but my friend whose dad’s first language was yiddish has no clue what it is. it means tacky christian things. like you look at the items in a home and he’ll say ‘that’s so goyishe-cup’
    any clue what that is?

  • The arguments over the spelling of a transliteration of a word that is pronounced numerous ways are absurd. Galicianers pronounce yiddish differently from Litvaks who pronounce differently from Transylvanians who pronounce differently from Russians.

    Linda,
    Goyishe-cup (comes from kopf like head in German) is a pretty strong insult meaning gentile brains, i.e., a dumb gentile (sort of a redundant insult. 🙂

  • DeisCane, have them all pronounce the German prefix “ver-“, and you’ll see what you’ll get. This is not about a distinction between Litvish and Poilish but pretty much about the pronunciation of a prefix the vowel sound of which pronounces the same in West Yiddish, Litvish, Poilish and klal sprakh.

    And please leave it to Middle and me to argue about things we enjoy arguing about. Thanks.

  • froylein,

    In my family, you can’t even hear the r, so I find worrying about the vowels–which tend to be pretty darn fluid in Yiddish–a waste of time.

  • DeisCane, if you can’t hear the “r”, then you’ve got an Anglicized pronunciation there as the “r” in Yiddish is distinct. The phonetic value of vowels is pretty distinct as well and its varying application among the dialects is pretty distinct, too. Any introductory book to Yiddish phonetics could tell you that. If you consider Middle’s and my discussing this a waste of time, feel free not to comment on it.

  • Phew. I’m glad that’s cleared up. I never would have understood that if you didn’t speak to me as if I were an 11 year old orphan.

  • Are you trying to set some sort of condescension record here? I think I should call the folks at Guinness.

  • oh man. my best friend uses goyishe cup all the time! ill will have to chastise him for his hate speech. – linda keenan

  • Linda, you could reply, “Gey in dr erd.” (= Go into earth. means, “Go to hell.”) It’s not quite as harsh as the English expression, yet it brings a definite point across. 🙂

  • I was referring to your correction of the original article. For her usage, which was driven by transliteration, not phonetics, the vowel changing was unimportant at best. If anything, it was the use of the consonant “c” that was more troublesome from a phonetic perspective.

  • From a phonetic perspective, the “c” didn’t have any impact at all as its phonetic value preceding a k is /k/ as well and the entire “ck” combination is preceded by a short vowel sound, which only gets stressed by the “ck” as used in the German original. Transliteration from one alphabet system to another is initially always driven by phonetics; YIVO tried to standardize transliteration by introducing rules that were trying to diminish Yiddish’s Middle High German origin, but klal sprakh, however, has never been seriously successful among native speakers of Yiddish. Since the spelling of the prefix as Middle suggested it does not reflect the Yiddish pronunciation of the German prefix “ver-” to English-speaking people as it assigns a decidedly different phonetic value to the vowel, I provided some additional explanation. Nobody’s either been forced to read this thread or to comment on Middle’s and my conversation. Complaints about me may be directed straight to ck. I bet he’ll be amused.

  • The “c” to which I was referring was after the “r,” and the family I was referring to aren’t likely to have been impacted an “Anglicized pronunciation,” as they’ve lived their entire lives in Hungary.

  • “C” before back vowels always has the phonetic value of “k” in the English language, so no need to be worried there. And Hungarians not capable of pronouncing an “r” where it belongs? My bf is of Hungarian descendance and happens to speak Hungarian fluently. Most of my friends in the US are native speakers of Yiddish. Try to sell that bridge to somebody else.

  • Hungarians are great, but sometimes that Anglicized Yiddish pronounciation of theirs is so..so…goyishe cup! After a while it really gets to me, and I’m pretty tolerant.

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