How sneaking fears may be connected to grammar

I have a sneaking fear that I made a serious mistake. In the very title of this blog. Oy gevalt! It is possibly not supposed to be “di goldene medine” but rather “der goldener medine”. This brings back to me the headache of my youthful German studies when I had to engage in a great deal of thinking when determining whether to put the noun in dative, accusative or nominative.

Now, the years have already erased a great deal of German grammar intricacies from my mind. What is still sticking to my subconsciousness confirms to me that Yiddish grammar is a great deal simplified compared to today’s German.

Like in German – and Norwegian – all nouns have genders. Masculine nouns receive “der” as the definite article. What can possibly be more masculine than “der mann”. Feminine nouns receive “di”. “Di mame” (the mom). Neuter nouns receive “dos” – “dos kind” (the child). And like in German, one is quite unable to explain why “the girl”, “dos meydl”, is neuter and not feminine. And finally plural: “di kinder” (the children).

A meydl is not necessarily feminine.

And like German, Yiddish has four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. Yiddish has decided to make life easier for us by for instance determining that all prepositions are followed by a noun in dative. While the Germans are keeping us in agony by giving both accusative or dative as possibilities after a preposition. Depending of the preposition and whether the preposition is creating a movement or not (or something like that)… I just could go on and on here, but who wants to read about grammar really (I just write about it to prove that I am a serious student, who is not only watching movies). So, for the sake of simplicity, I took a picture of my notebook page with the nominative/accusative/dative table, for definite articles and adjective endings. Just to give you an impression.

Go figure!

Just to prove that I have understood it, I’ll give you a couple of sentences:

Ich hob lib dem gutn tatn (I love the good daddy – whom is finding himself in an accusative state)

Der guter tate leygt dos shvere buch af dem grinem tish (The good daddy – who is now nominative – lays the heavy accusative book on the green table – a dative table).

a griner tish

About goldenemedine

Student of the glorious Yiddish language
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