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Blessings, Curses, Hopes, and Fears
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In this delightful book, the author enumerates and classifies the formulas Yiddish speakers use to express their emotions. It is a rarity among scholarly books, for it brings joy while it teaches; it makes us smile, sometimes roar with laughter, while it develops the most rigorous linguistic argumentation. The author analyzes the many kinds of Yiddish psycho-ostensives ranging from blessings and thanks to lamentations and curses. To a person who mentions something horrible youcan say: Zalts dir in di oygn, fefer dir in noz! (Salt into your eyes, and pepper into your nose!). Or to a child you might tenderly murmur: A gez nt dir in yeder Zyverl! (A health to all your little body-parts!). The author illustrates how these formulas can be used to fulfill social conventions, to keep away evil, to show off or even to deceive the listener.
Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Semantic subtypes of psycho-ostensive expressions 3. Bono-recognition thanks and congratulations 4. Malo-recognition: lamentation and sympathy 5. Petitive attitudes 6. Bon-petition 7. Malo-fugition: deliver us from evil 8. Psycho-ostensives relating to the dead 9. Allo-Mal-petition: curses 10. Swearing oaths 11. Conclusion and commencement 12. 'Epes an Epilog': the relevance of Yiddish psycho-ostensives to recent and future work in linguistics and other fields.

Reviews

"Don't be put off by the subtitle of this incredibly witty, informative, and entertaining analysis of the linguistic subtleties of Yiddish. In using the term "psycho-ostensive," the author refers to the heavy emotional baggage that Yiddish speakers carry around with them: their language is full of linguistic subtexts that mask, obfuscate, and hide the true feelings in the heart of the speaker." - Arnold Ages, Jewish Tribune "It may be said of Matisoff's treatise that it shows how Yiddish, through its linguistic delicacies, offered its speakers and listeners valuable therapeutic tools to cope with the perplexing world they encountered. Exploring that wolrd with Matisoff is a recreation, a joy, and "a gan Eden." That's Hebrew and Yiddish for paradise." - Arnold Ages, Jewish Tribune

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