Beth Myre via Unicode unicode at
Sun Nov 11 22:28:01 CST 2018

Hi All,

I wanted to clarify how I got this:

*Wir sind uns dessen bewusst, dass von Seite der Gegenpartei weder Reue(?),
noch Einsicht zu erwarten ist und dass sie die Konsequenzen
dieser rabbinischen Gutachten von sich abschüttelen werden mit der
Motivierung, dass:*

As a (non-native) German speaker who knows the Hebrew alphabet, I looked at
the text, and then wrote the text contained in it using conventional German
spelling.  I spelled abschütteln wrong.  I didn't change the word order or
vocabulary.  The translation into English was also my own.  The spelling of
the word 'Reue' surprised me and one of the letters looked odd, so I put a
question mark after it.

I wasn't transliterating letter-for-letter, which wouldn't be possible
because certain letters written next to each other produce specific
sounds.  For example, the Hebrew letters yud-yud make the German sound
'ei,' and the letters vav-vav make the German sound 'w.'  The Hebrew
alphabet just provides different material to work with than the Latin
alphabet.  Speaking of, it will soon be Chanukah/Hanukkah/Hanukah!  :)

The transliteration created by a computer program in one of the previous
emails makes the text look more Yiddish-y than it is, probably because it
was expecting Yiddish.  It also made several clear errors.  A few examples,
some of which Mark mentioned:
- The Hebrew letter aleph was always transliterated as 'a.'  However,
whenever it had the small vowel symbol that looks like a 'T' underneath it,
it should have been an 'o.'  And in several locations it's a 'shtumer
aleph' (a.k.a. silent aleph) that's basically just carrying the letter used
for 'u,' so it shouldn't be included at all.
- It was inconsistent in how it transliterated the Hebrew letter 'yud,'
sometimes making it an 'i' but more often a 'y.' The 'y' makes it look like
Yiddish, but they're both valid.  It's also used in other parts of the text
for the German 'j.'
- It skipped the 'n' in 'Gegenpartei,' although it's definitely present in
the text.  There's also an 'h' after the 't,' so the word is basically
spelled "Gegenparthei."
- It missed the difference between the 'f' sound and the 'p' sound, which
is represented in the text by the presence or absence of a small line over
the same Hebrew letter.

Mark, you asked why I brought up the question of whether this is Yiddish or
German.  They're two separate but related languages, and I thought this
text was really interesting because it turned out not to be what I was
expecting.  I'm not a scholar, and I didn't realize that anyone ever wrote
in German using Hebrew letters.  It's a struggle for me to understand
Yiddish and my Hebrew is limited.  Being able to understand entire
paragraphs written in Hebrew letters is a rare treat for me.


On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 8:31 PM Asmus Freytag via Unicode <
unicode at> wrote:

> On 11/11/2018 4:20 PM, Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode wrote:
> On 11/11/18 4:16 PM, Asmus Freytag via Unicode wrote:
> On 11/11/2018 12:32 PM, Hans Åberg via Unicode wrote:
> Wir sind uns dessen bewusst, dass von Seite der Gegenpartei weder Reue(?),
> noch Einsicht zu erwarten ist und dass sie die Konsequenzen dieser
> rabbinischen Gutachten von sich abschüttelen werden mit der Motivierung,
> dass:
> vir zind auns dessen bevaust dass fon zeyte der ge- gefarthey veder reye ,
> nakh eynzikht tsu ervarten izt aund dast zya dya kansekventsen dyezer
> rabbinishen gutakhten fon zikh abshittelen verden mit der motivirung ,
> dass :
> This agrees rather well with Beth's retranslation.
> Mapping "z" to "s",  "f" to "v" and "v" to "w" would match the way these
> pronunciations are spelled in German (with a few outliers like "izt" for
> "ist", where the "s" isn't voiced in German). There's also a clear
> convention of using "kh" for "ch" (as in English "loch" but also for other
> pronunciation of the German "ch"). The one apparent mismatch is "ge-
> gefarthey" for "Gegenpartei". Presumably what is transliterated as "f" can
> stand for phonetic "p". "Parthey" might be how Germans could have written
> "Partei" in earlier centuries (when "th" was commonly used for "t" and "ey"
> alternated with "ei", as in my last name).  So, perhaps it's closer than it
> looks, superficially.
> I think that really IS a "p"; elsewhere in the document they seem to be
> quite careful to put a RAFE on top of the PEH when it means "f", and not
> using a DAGESH to mark "p".  There definitely does seem to be usage of
> TET-HEH for "th"; in the Hebrew text at the beginning it talks about the
> אורטה׳ community—took me a bit to work out that was an abbreviation for
> "Orthodox".
> From context, "Reue" is by far the best match for "Reye" and seems to
> match a tendency elsewhere in the sample where the transliteration, if
> pronounced as German, would result in a shifted quality for the vowels
> (making them sound more Yiddish, for lack of a better description).
> That word is hard to read in the original, hence the "?" in the
> transliteration.  It isn't clear if it's YOD YOD or YOD VAV and the VAV is
> missing its body (the head looks different than it should if it were a
> YOD).  Which would match your "Reue" fairly well—except that they generally
> use AYIN for "e", not "YOD".
> "abschüttelen" - here the second "e" would not be part of Standard German
> orthography. It's either an artifact of the transcription system or
> possibly reflects that the writer is familiar with a different spelling
> convention (to my eyes the spelling "abshittelen" looks somehow more
> Yiddish, but I'm really not familiar enough with that language).
> The ü is, of course, not in the text in the original; it's just "i".
> German ü wound up as "i" in Yiddish, in most cases.
> I agree with Beth that the text reads like a transcription of a standard
> German text, not like a transcription of Yiddish, small infidelities in
> vowel/consonant renderings notwithstanding. These are either because the
> transcription conventions deliberately make some substitutions (presumably
> there's no Hebrew letter that would directly match an "ü", so they picked
> "i") or because the writer, while trying to capture standard German in this
> instance, is aware of a different orthography. The result, before Beth
> tweaked it, would resemble a bit a phonetic transcription of someone
> speaking standard German with a Yiddish accent. The fact that there are no
> differences in grammar and the phrasing is absolutely natural for written
> German is what confirms the identification as German, rather than Yiddish
> text.
> Just because Yiddish is closely related to German doesn't mean that you
> can simply write the former with standard German phonetics and have it
> match a text in standard German to the point where there's no distinction.
> I think the sample is long enough and involved enough to give quite decent
> confidence in discriminating between these two Germanic languages. Grammar,
> phrasing and word choice are in that sense much better indicators than pure
> spelling; just as people trying to assume some foreign accent will give
> themselves away by faithfully maintaining the underlying structure of the
> language - that even works if the "accent" includes a few selected bits of
> "foreign" word order or grammar. In those artificial examples, there's
> rarely the kind of subtle mistake that a true non-native will make.
> A./
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Unicode mailing list