[Note:† All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]
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†††††††††† An ancient language form that originated in the North African area of our most ancient civilizations has been studied by Nyland (2001).† He found that many words used to describe names of places and things in Yiddish seem to be closely related to the ancient language, which Nyland called Saharan, and which later was predated by the Igbo Language of West Africa.† Fortuitously, the Basque Language is a close relative to the original Saharan.† Following is a discussion of this relationship:
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††††††††† The originators 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 Nylandís (2001) translation include disagreeable language, however, that is no reason to omit them here.
††††††††† It is surprising the ease with which many Yiddish words were translatable from 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.
††††††††† One firm conclusion may be drawn 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".
Nyland (2001) suggested that the clearest manner in which to show the derivation of a word is:
However, when dealing with large numbers of words 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 identity".
averah (unethical act), abera: aberats (wealthy): "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 "jester" do?)
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
baleboss (head of the household), bala-abots: balaztatu (to control) abots (voice): "The voice
balmalocha (craftsman), bal-.ma-aloka: baliarazu (to make valuable) ama (mother) alokai (payment): "He makes something valuable for mother for
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
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
ben (son), ben: ben (honest, trustworthy): "Trustworthy".
bentsh (to bless), ben-tsh: ben (honest) tshalo (applause): "Honesty is applauded".
berrieh (woman with remarkable energy), berri-eh.: berri (new) ehule (weaver): "New 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
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): "Energetic settler".
bonditt (bandit), bon-.dit: bonbon (lavish spending) aditugabe (unheard of): "Unheard of lavish spending".
cabala (tradition), kabal-la: kabal (cattle) -la (like): "Like cattle".
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) une (moment): "Momentary 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 stained): "Smokestained".
chevra (comradship), keb-bara: kebelar (tobacco) bara (slow): "Smoking slowly".
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): "Self-degrading 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) erain (scattering, 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
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
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
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 34:14).
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)
"When the north (wind)† pushes,
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
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
galut (exile), gal-ut: galdos (pasture ground) utzi (to leave behind): "To leave the pasture ground
Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), gan-eden: gandoa (pasture) eden (poison); "Pasture of poison".
ga'on (genius), ga-on: garai (outstanding) onbide (example): "Outstanding 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): "Cut reproduction".
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):
gozlin (swindler), goz-lin: gozagaitz (disagreeable) linburtu (flatterer): "Disagreeable flatterer".
graub (uncouth), g.-.raub: gabe (without) araubide (discipline): "Without discipline".
habdala (separation), abe-edala: abere (brutal) edalari (alcoholic): "Brutal 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): "Ultimate fate".
halevai (I wish I had), aleba-ai: alebanatu (to shell out grain) ai (grief, suffering): "Give out grain to ease the
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): "Plenty cold.
Jehova (YHVH, YHBH), YHaBaliH/ihabali (to be afraid of): "To be afraid of".
judesmo (Ladino Jew), jud-esmo: judas (traitor) esmoil (cruel): "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
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
kinder (children), aki-indar: akigabe (tireless) indar (vitality): "Endless 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) anitz (many): "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: Cuchulainn).
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
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): "Stinking scum".
kvell (pride, swell), kabe-el.: kabe (without) ele (words): "Without words".
kvetsch (to sqeeze), kabe-ebatz: kabe (without) ebatzaile (bruising): "Without bruising".
kvitch (to yelp, to sqeal), kabe-itsh: kabe (without) itsharo (trusting): "Without trusting".
ladino (familiar with), .la-adino: alabehar (destiny) adinaro (attaining full rights): "Our destiny is to attain full
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) imitagarri (exemplary): "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): "Preacher's sermon".
litvak (pedantic type), li-ito-obak: eli (to nourish) ito (quick) obakuntza (improvement): "Nourishment resulted in quick
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): "Thin rope".
lox (salmon), (German: lax), lok-is: lokaldi (spawning) izokin (salmon): "The
salmon are spawning".
luft (air), ulu-ufat: ulu (howling) ufatu (to blow): "Howling wind".
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): "Quietly 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
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".
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