You Say Potato, I Say Kartoffel

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I just took part in Steven M. Cohen’s latest survey–this one about the way one uses “Jewish” words (Yiddish sayings, Hebrew phrases) in everyday speech. For me, just as interesting as the outcome will be, are the questions that the surveyors ask in order to draw their conclusions.

“Are my parents from the New York area?”
“Did I attend Jewish summer camp?”
“When you write God in English, do you ever write G-d?”

For more information:

You are invited to participate in an interesting and entertaining survey about language. Essentially, we’re asking about the spread of Yiddish (and some Hebrew) among English speakers in North America. We’re turning to both Jews and non-Jews to answer questions like these: Who uses Yiddish words like “shmooze� and “daven� and phrases like “Money, shmoney�? Why do some people say “temple� while others say “shul�? Who prefers biblical names for their babies? Your responses will help us answer these and other questions, and you might learn something about yourself in the process. Please set aside 15-20 minutes, and click on this link to participate.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=9eQwWyblG_2b8ixLqbt6QFhg_3d_3d

Please forward this e-mail to your friends and family. We are hoping to get thousands of responses from people of all religions, ages, and regions of the United States and Canada. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Prof. Sarah Bunin Benor sbenor@huc.edu or Prof. Steven M. Cohen Steve34nyc@aol.com.

Posted on July 9, 2008

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