Monday, October 04, 2004

Calling all 'lobbeses'

I am embroiled in fierce correspondence in the columns of the London 'Jewish Chronicle' ( , but articles etc only accessible to subscribers). In an idle moment in the summer I wrote suggesting, with some support from the mighty Oxford English Dictionary, that there were a few words ('porge', 'congregant' and 'lobbes', for example) that were micro-linguistically unique to English Jews, and constituted unique Anglo-Jewish contributions to the English language. Were there any others, I wondered? No-one has suggested any others, but my claim about 'lobbes' has been seriously challenged. This Polish word, meaning a litlle rascal or mischievous boy, is extremely common in English-Jewish speech. Over many years in Israel, the USA and Canada (the latter having strong Yiddish speaking communities) I have found it unknown to most Yiddish speakers. Are you reading this? Where are you from? Are your family from a Yiddish speaking background? Have you ever heard the word 'lobbes'? Please help!

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