[Note: All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]
The inventors of the Romance languages and English used mostly that half of the Basque language which begins with vowel-consonant-vowel (VCV and VCCV), but the linguists making up Yiddish used the entire Basque vocabulary (CV and VC words), which allowed much more flexibility in word invention. Vowel linking was not always maintained. It turned out that all Yiddish words, supplied by Rosten, could be broken up into Basque roots, sometimes with surprising results. In many words the meaning thus obtained with the Basque dictionary was related to the translation shown in Rosten's book. A few of the Yiddish words in my translation include disagreeable language, however, that is no reason to omit them here.
What is surprising is the ease with which many Yiddish words were translatable via Basque, as shown below. Some words took more time or defied the decoding process entirely, which is understandable because, with popular use over centuries, words do change. Many of the Yiddish words were the same as in Hebrew or showed only slight changes in spelling. How old Yiddish is, is a good question, but it appears that Yiddish is older than German, possibly dating back to the time that the blond Khazars of the Lower Wolga region accepted Judaism, which would date the language to the 7th to 9th century. It may well be that the Benedictine linguists used Yiddish and Hebrew vocabulary and syntax to help them in the construction of the German language during the 9th and 10th centuries.
We can draw one firm conclusion from the following list of translations and that is that Yiddish was assembled out of the astonishingly versatile Basque language, which was distorted and manipulated. The list gives first the Yiddish word followed by the English translation in brackets as supplied by Leo Rosten. After this are shown the components of the word, separated by hyphens, and the Basque words these components represent with their translations. Any vowels and "h"s removed in the language invention process are shown as dots. The "sh" in Basque is spelled "x".
SOME YIDDISH WORDS DECODED WITH THE BASQUE DICTIONARY
The clearest manner in which to show the derivation of a word is:
However, when dealing with large numbers of words, this notation would take too much space, so the following shorthand notation is used.
am ha-aretz (ill-mannered person), am.-.ha-aretz: ama (mother, Priestess) ahalgegabe (shameless) arretzin (unacceptable): "The Priestess' shamelessness is unacceptable".
apikoros (skeptic, atheist), apik-iku-oroz: apika (perhaps) ikur (sign) orozale (ambition):
"Perhaps a sign of ambition".
Ashkenazim (Germany), ash.-kena-azim: axola (caring, worrying) kena (to take away, to loose) azima (character, identity): "Worried about loosing our
averah (unethical act), abera: aberats (wealthy):
aydem (son-in-law), aide-em: aidetu (to become a
relative of) eme (female):
"He became a relative of the female (member of the family)".
ayin harah (evil eye), aien-aharra: aiene (lament) aharra (disturbance):
"(We) lament the disturbance".
baalshem (Master of the Good Name), bala-shem: balakatu (to flatter) xeme (native son):
"To flatter the native born son".
badchanim (jester, entertainer), bad.-.ka-anim: badaezbada (eventual) akabu (death) anim (animal):
"The eventual death of the animal". (just what did that
balbatim (master of the house), bal.-.bant-im.: balaztatu (to control) abantaila (privileged) imatz (dwelling,
house): "Privileged to control the house".
balabatish (responsible), bala-aba-ati-ix: balaztatu (to control,
operate) abantaila (privileged) ateka (small door) ixi (quietly):
"Privileged to open and close the small door quietly".
baleboss (head of the household), bala-abots: balaztatu (to control) abots (voice):
"The voice controls".
balmalocha (craftsman), bal-.ma-aloka: baliarazu (to make
valuable) ama (mother) alokai (payment):
"He makes something valuable for mother for payment".
bar mitzva (man of duty), bar-imi-itz-.ba: ibarretshe (house in the
valley) imini (to place) itz (obligation) -aba (work):
"He has a work obligation at the house in the valley".
batlanim (misfit, lazy person), bat-lan-im: bat (one) lan (work) imatz (house):
"One for the work house".
behama (ignorant person), beha-ama: beha (to observe,
to stare at) ama (mother):
"He stares at mother".
ben (son), ben: ben (honest,
bentsh (to bless), ben-tsh: ben (honest) tshalo (applause):
"Honesty is applauded".
berrieh (woman with remarkable energy), berri-eh.: berri (new) ehule (weaver):
besdin (house of judgement), bes-din: bestemunduku (exceptional) adin (judgement,
justice): "Exceptional justice".
bes midrash (house of study), bes-imi-ido-orraz: bestemunduku (outstanding) imitatu (to imitate, to
copy) idoro (to discover) orraztari (editor,
collection): "Outstanding copy of the discovered collection".
blintzeh (filled pancake), balintz-eh: balintz (requirement) ehotza (act of
eating): "Must be eaten" (come and get it!).
bnai brit (sons of the covenant), ben-.nai-barrit: ben (honest) anaiarte (brotherhood) barritu (to reform):
"Honest brotherhood (promoting) reform".
borderkeh (female boarder), border-ke: bordari (settler,
colonist) kementsu (energetic):
bonditt (bandit), bon-.dit: bonbon (lavish
spending) aditugabe (unheard of):
"Unheard of lavish spending".
cabala (tradition), kabal-la: kabal (cattle) -la (like):
chasidim (pious man), kasi-idi-im.: kasik (almost) idi (ox) imintziogabe
(expressionless): "Almost like an expressionless ox".
chassen (man-of-the-hour), kasu-un: kasu (circumstance)
chasseneh (wedding), kasu-une: kasu (pay
attention) une (a moment):
"Pay attention for a moment".
chaver (friend, comrade), kabe-er: kabe (without) eragozkor ((hindering,
obstruction): "Without obstruction".
chazzen (a seer), gaz-zen: gaz (with) zentzu (common
sense): "With common sense".
chedar (room), kedar: kedarketa (smoke
chevra (comradship), keb-bara: kebelar (tobacco) bara (slow):
chillul chashem (profaning God's name), chillul:
.kil.-.lu-ul.: akilarre (witch) alu (vulva) ule (hairy):
"The witch's hairy vulva". chashem: kash-em: kashkartu (to degrade
oneself) ema (prostitute):
chloppeh (to knock, to bang), kalo-ope: kalonje (priest) oper (time off,
away): "When the priest is away".
chmallyeh (severe blow), kamel-li-eh.: kamelu (camel) libratu (to set free,
to run away) ehizibilatu (to beat):
"To beat the run-away camel".
choleria (plague), kol-eri-a: koldar (coward) eri (illness) a (the):
"The coward's illness".
chollileh (God forbid that should happen), koli-ile: kolitza (belltower) ilintitu (To set on
fire): "Burning of the bell tower".
chometzdik (fermented), kome-etz.-.dik: komenigarri (beneficial) etzaldi (rest) adikor
(understandable): "That he needs beneficial rest is
understandable". (Needs to sleep it off).
chozzerai (junk, trash), koz-erai: koz (intended for)
disposal): "Intended for disposal".
chutzpa (audacity), kutz.-.pa: kutzaketa (profanity) apalatu (to
humiliate): "Using profanity to humiliate".
cockamamy (mixed up), kok-ama-mi: kok (bellyfull) ama (mother) mi (my):
"Bellyfull from my mother".
darshan (preacher), darj-anai: adarjo (to pull one's
leg, tease) anaia (religious
brother): "To tease the preacher".
dayan (rabbinical judge), dai-an.: daiteke (he can be) anaia (religious
brother): "He can be a religious brother".
diaspora (exile, dispersion), .di-as.-.po-ora: adibide (advice) asagotu (to go far
away) apokeria (filthy deed) oraintxe (right now):
"The advice is to go right now, far from the filthy deeds".
dovid ha Melech (expected Messiah), .do-obid/.ha/me-ele-ek.: adoratu (to worship) obidientzia (obedient) ahal (I hope) Mesias (Messiah) ele (story) ekarri (to bring):
"With obedient worship I hope to bring the story of the Messiah".
dreck (wet dirt, crap), .d.-.re-ek.: adarka (goring) areztatu (to cover with
sand) eki (as much as
possible): "Cover the gore with sand as much as possible".
dresske (hand-me-down garment), dar-eske: darama (to take) eske (alms):
"Taking alms, begging".
elohim (YHVH), elo-ohi-im: elorritsu (troublesome) ohitu (to be
accustomed to) imitapen (imitation):
"He is accustomed to troublesome imitation". (He is jealous: Exodus
eppes (a little, something), epe-ez: epe (time limit) eza (shortage):
"Shortage of time".
eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel), eretz-Israel: eretz (on the side
of): "On the side of Israel".
farbissen (unpleasant), .far-bizi: ifar (north) bizi (to live):
"To live in the north".
farblondjet (wandering aimlessly), .far-.bel-ond.-jet: ifar (northern) abel (herdsmen) ondo (harvest
colored) jetshi (descend):
"The strawhaired northern herdmen descend (on us)".
farchadat (dizzy, confused), .far-kada-at.: ifar (northern) -kada (to hit) -at (direction,
from): "Northern storm hits us".
farshtinkener (all stunk up, farting), .far-tink-ener: ifar (north) tinkatu (to press, to
push) ener (when):
"When the north (wind) pushes, blows".
flayshedig (meat of all sorts), .f-.lai-shede-ig: afa (happy) alai (rejoicing) shede (to reach the
goal) iges (shelter);
"Happy rejoicing when the shelter is reached".
folks-mensh (man of the people), bolk-men-sh: boladak (groups of
people) men (power) sh (little bit):
"A little bit of power to the people".
fress (to gorge, devour), .fa-arrez: afa (happy) arrezkero (from then
on): "Happy from then on".
frosk (slap), .f.-.rotz-k.: afa (happily) arrotsu (jovial) -ko (slap):
"Happy jovial slap".
frum (pious), .f.-.ru-um.: afa (happy) arrunt (simple) ume (child):
"(Like a) simple happy child".
galitzianer (Jew from Galicia), gali-itz-ia-ner: gali (wheat) itz (promise) iaio (cheerful) onera (maturing):
"The cheerful promise of the maturing wheat".
galut (exile), gal-ut: galdos (pasture
ground) utzi (to leave
behind): "To leave the pasture ground behind".
Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), gan-eden: gandoa (pasture) eden (poison);
"Pasture of poison".
ga'on (genius), ga-on: garai (outstanding) onbide (example):
gelt (money), geld: geldi (little by
little): "(Saving) little by little".
gesundheit (health), gizond.-haiet: gizondu (to grow up, old) haietara (to them): "Good growing old to you".
get (divorce), ge-et: gehitu (to reproduce)
eten (to cut):
golem (shapeless), gol-em: golo (goitre) emendatu (to enlarge):
"The goitre enlarges".
goniv (thief), ganib: ganibetada (knifing):
"Stick-up with a knife".
gott (god), gotor: gotor (support,
strength): "Support and strength".
goy (nation), goi: goian (in heaven, on
high): "On high".
gozlin (swindler), goz-lin: gozagaitz (disagreeable) linburtu (flatterer):
graub (uncouth), g.-.raub: gabe (without) araubide (discipline):
habdala (separation), abe-edala: abere (brutal) edalari (alcoholic):
haftarah (end, conclusion), af.-.tera: afa (happy) atera (to pull out):
"Happily (to have been) pulled out".
haggadah (tale telling), aga-ada: agariz (publicly) adarjo (to make fun
of): "Publicly made fun of".
haimish (home), hei-im-ish: hei (shelter) imatz (woven
branches) ishi (quiet):
"Quiet shelter of woven branches".
halakha (law), ala-aka: alabear (destiny,
fate) akabu (ultimate):
halevai (I wish I had), aleba-ai: alebanatu (to shell out
grain) ai (grief,
suffering): "Give out grain to ease the suffering".
hamantash (pocket), amanta-ash: amantal (apron) ashola (caring,
collecting): "Collecting apron".
haskalah (education, knowledge), aska-ala: askar (bright) alabear (future,
destiny): "Bright future".
hatikva (the hope, national anthem), .atik-ba: batik (special) abagadune (occasion):
hok a tshynik (to talk nonsense), oka-tshai-nik: oka (bubbling
over) tshaire (air) onik (harmless):
"Bubbling over with harmless air".
hotzeplots (God only knows where), hotz-pilotz: hotz (cold) pilotz (plenty):
Jehova (YHVH, YHBH), YHaBaliH/ihabali (to be afraid
of): "To be afraid of".
judesmo (Ladino Jew), jud-esmo: judas (traitor) esmoil (cruel):
kabotz (to beg), kabe-otz: kabe (without) otzan (shame,
humility): "Without shame".
kaddish (holy), kad-itz: kada (blow, hit,
killing) itzi (denounce):
"Denounce the killing".
kalikeh (cripple), kali-ike: kalifikaezin (unknown) ikergai (topic of
investigation, cause): "Unknown cause".
kalleh (bride), kale: kaleratu (to throw out
into the street): "Throw her out into the street!"
kaporeh (forgiveness), .ka-apo-ore: ekandu (to be used
to) apokeria (insult) orrelako (like that):
"He is used to insults like that".
kasheh (difficult), kash-eh: kashako (abandon) ehi (hunt):
"Abandon the hunt".
kibbutzim (collective), .kip-utzi-im: akipen (exhausted) utzi (to leave) imatz (home):
"Too exhausted to leave home".
kibbitzim (criticizing), aki-itzi-im: akipen (exhaustion) itzi (to denounce) imintzio (gesticulating,
arm waving): "Denounce the exhausting arm waver".
kiebitz (lapwing, meadow bird), ki-ibitz: kidetu (to be alike) ibitzale (fond of
walking): "(Male and female) look alike and are fond of walking".
kibosh (nonsense), ki-ipo-oz: akipen (exhaustion) ipo (little
fellow) ozar (insolent):
"Insolent and exhausting little fellow".
kiddush (sanctification), kid-dutsh: kidetu (to be like
one of us) dutsha (shower,
dunking): "A dunking to become like one of us".
kinder (children), aki-indar: akigabe (tireless) indar (vitality):
kinderlach (little children), ki-indar-lak: akigabe (tireless) indar (vitality) laket (pleasure
giving): "Pleasure giving, endless vitality".
klezemer (musical instruments), oke-elez-emer: oke (plentiful,
lots of) elezun (adulation) emer (woman who
recently gave birth): "Lots of adulation for the young mother".
klutz (bungler, oaf), .k.-.lu-utz: aka (ultimate) alu (vulva) uts (useless,
faulty): "The ultimate useless vulva".
knish (small dumplings), k.-.nitz: kako (little turds)
"Many little turds".
kochalayn (room with cooking), koka-alai-in: kokaldi (bellyfull) alai (joyous) indar (vitality):
"Bellyful gives joyous vitality". (Compare with name of Irish hero:
kohen (Hebrew priest), .ko-ohe-en.: okolu (pasture next to house) ohe (bed) ene (my): "My
bed is in the pasture".
kosher (proper), ko-sherra: koilarakada (spoonful) sherra (little
bites): "Spoonfuls of little bites".
koved (honor, glory), .ko-obe-ed: uko egin (to refuse) obe (preferable) ederrak hartu (to be
defeated): "I refuse; it is preferable to be defeated".
krechtz (grunt, moan), .k.-.rek-tz: akabu (the end) arek (that one) tz (suffix):
"It's the end for him".
krenk (sick), .k.-.renk: akatz (defect) arrenka (limping):
"Some defect makes him limp".
kurveh (prostitute), .ku-urbe: uku (gone bad,
stinking) urbelar (scum):
kvell (pride, swell), kabe-el.: kabe (without) ele (words):
kvetsch (to sqeeze), kabe-ebatz: kabe (without) ebatzaile (bruising):
kvitch (to yelp, to sqeal), kabe-itsh: kabe (without) itsharo (trusting):
ladino (familiar with), .la-adino: alabehar (destiny) adinaro (attaining
full rights): "Our destiny is to attain full rights".
latke (pancake), .lat-ka: alatu (to eat) kalda (hot):
"Eat while they are hot".
l'chayim (here's to life!), ele-ekai-im: ele (story) ekai (job, accomplishment)
"Story of an exemplary accomplishment".
letz (life of the party, wit), laitz: laitzin (in front of
everybody): "Stand-up comic".
levaya (funeral), le-ebanja: ele (story,
speech) ebanjalari (preacher):
litvak (pedantic type), li-ito-obak: eli (to nourish) ito (quick) obakuntza (improvement):
"Nourishment resulted in quick improvement".
loch in kop (hole in the head), lok-in.-kope: alokari (renter) inozo (stupid) kopetadun (shameless):
"Shameless stupid renter".
loksh (skinny person), lok-sh: lokarri (rope) sh (diminutive):
lox (salmon), (German: lax), lok-is: lokaldi (spawning) izokin (salmon):
"The salmon are spawning".
luft (air), ulu-ufat: ulu (howling) ufatu (to blow):
mairev (evening prayer), .ma-aireb: maiz (often) aireberritu (to expose to
air, open air): "Often in the open air".
maggid (teacher, preacher), ma-agi-id: maisugoko (pertaining to teaching) agian (I hope) idatzi (to write):
"I hope to learn to write".
mah nishtana (distinguishes), .ma-aniz-tan-na: mazaltasun (decency) anitz (many) -tan (times) nahi (desirous):
"Decency is many times more desirous".
marrano (secret Jew), marra-ano: mara mara (quietly) anonimo (anonymous):
matzes (unleavened bread), ma-atzez: mahai (table) atzezka (face-up, good
side up): "Good side up on the table".
mavin (expert), ma-abi-in: maixu (expert) abiadan (fast) indartsu (strong):
"The expert is fast and strong".
mazel (luck), .ma-aze-el: ama (mother) azentuata (to emphasize,
often repeat): ele (story):
"Mother often repeated the story".
mazik (clever child), ma-azik: ama (mother) aziketa (upbringing):
"Mother's upbringing (did it)".
mechaiek (pleasure), .me-ekai-ek.: eme (female,
woman) ekarkortasun (fecundity) ikertu (to explore):
"To explore the woman's fecundity".
mechule (finished), me-eku-ule: eme (female) ekuru (quiet) ulerketa
(understanding): "The woman's quiet understanding".
medina (country), medi-ina: medio (by means of) inarrosketa (agitation):
"By means of agitation".
melchik (milky), me-elki-ik: emeta (gently) elki (to empty) ik (you):
"You (must) empty it gently", i.e. (milking).
menorah (candalabrum), men-ora: menpegabe (emancipated, free) orregatik (because of, in appreciation of): "In
appreciation of our freedom (or emancipation)".
meshogge (crazy), me-esho-oge: eme (woman) exotiko (exotic) oge (bed):
"An exotic woman in bed".
metsieh (find), me-etsi-ehi: mendizain (forest ranger) etsi (to abandon) ehi (hunt):
"The forest ranger abandoned the hunt".
midrash (to study), .mit.-.raz: imitapen (to copy) arrazoi (to be right, correct): "Copy it correctly".
Hundreds more could be added but this will suffice to prove that Yiddish is basically distorted Basque and an invented language.
For further detail, please refer to:
Nyland, Edo. 2001. Linguistic Archaeology: An
Introduction. Trafford Publ., Victoria, B.C., Canada.
Nyland, Edo. 2002. Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A
Bronze Age History of Scotland Trafford Publ., Victoria,