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Author Topic: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies  (Read 10899 times)

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Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2010, 07:13:40 PM »
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  • I had the devil of a time finding the short in which this exchange occurred between Curly and a girl in a harem, because the short starts out with the Stooges in Paris: who would have thunk that they would go from there to a harem? The short is Wee, Wee, Monsieur, and the exchange occurs around 2:50 in the clip below:

    Curly: Oh, where you been all my life, toots?

    Girl (Ethelreda Leopold): Down around Toity-Toid and Toid Avenue. I just got over.

    Curly: Oh, a lantsman! Remember the old pool room?

    Girl: Yeah?

    Curly: Well, that's a church ["choich"] now.

    Girl: No kiddin'!

    (Minor corrections made, 12/16/10, 09.56 EST)

    "Lantsman" is Yiddish for "countryman." You may recognize it as the name of the filmmaker Claude Lanzmann. In the US, names made from the word are usually spelled "Landsman" or "Landesman."

    Thirty-third Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn would be (I say "would be" rather than "is," because the former location of Third Avenue is now taken by a freeway) a few miles away from Curly's childhood neighborhood of Brownsville; but in the circumstances, the Brooklyn connection is enough to make the girl a "lantsman."

    [youtube=425,350]cMZyTQtvzZc[/youtube]

    Offline FineBari3

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #26 on: December 16, 2010, 08:26:47 AM »
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  • I have always wondered what Curly said there, and figured that I just wasn't getting it....

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #27 on: December 20, 2010, 10:45:17 AM »
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  • Wonderful discussion.

    With apologies for my poor spelling, I can't recall the boys ever using "tuccus" or "schmuck."  Would these have been too politically/socially/morally inappropriate for the time?  I can recall from my youth that, for a while, they would edit out (on TV) the black baby who "looks just like the Captain" from a scene in Uncivil Warriors (I think).

    Lastly, I just have to ask this where someone might actually know the answer -- what is the plural of "tuccus," would it be tucci or tuccuses.  Just wondering.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #28 on: December 20, 2010, 03:30:43 PM »
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  • Wonderful discussion.

    With apologies for my poor spelling, I can't recall the boys ever using "tuccus" or "schmuck."  Would these have been too politically/socially/morally inappropriate for the time?  I can recall from my youth that, for a while, they would edit out (on TV) the black baby who "looks just like the Captain" from a scene in Uncivil Warriors (I think).

    Lastly, I just have to ask this where someone might actually know the answer -- what is the plural of "tuccus," would it be tucci or tuccuses.  Just wondering.

    "Tucci" is the name of an American movie actor of Italian descent. ::)

    The short answer is that you should use the regular English ending to form the plural. The long answer is as follows:

    The unstressed final syllable [ɘs] in Yiddish, which may be represented as "-us" in Roman characters, has nothing to do with Latin nouns whose endings are spelled that way: the spelling "es" is just as apt, and is often used. In any case, Yiddish does not form plurals according to any Latin model. (Nor, for that matter, do all Latin nouns ending in "-us" form their plural with the ending "-i"; but that's another story.)

    The consonant in the middle of the Yiddish word in question here is conventionally represented in English as "ch." (In phonetic terms, it is a voiceless velar fricative, represented in IPA symbols as {x] (I had to use "{" instead of "[" because of a compiler problem there); but I don't expect that information to be of much use to anyone reading this.) Hence the spelling "tuchus," "tuches," "tochus," or "toches" would be more accurate. (The vowel may be either [ʊ] or [ɔ], depending on the dialect.)

    The Yiddish noun is derived from the Hebrew word "tachat," which is spelled with the same consonant letters (viz., תחת). I am not sure if it admits of a plural in Hebrew or in Yiddish, because it is originally an adverb (meaning "under"). In any case, since you are writing in English and neither you nor your readers know Yiddish, you should use the English ending to form a plural: "tuchuses"---or "tucheses," "tochuses," or "tocheses."

    I am pretty sure that "tuches" is not a naughty word, but rather a bit of nursery talk, like "botty" (from "bottom") in British English. I don't know of it occurring in any of the Stooges' shorts, but it would not be beyond probability that they would use it somewhere. "Shmuk," on the other hand, is a decidedly rude adult word (it refers to the penis, by the way, in case you didn't know), and I would be greatly surprised if it turned up in any motion picture made in the US before the 1960s, say.

    Offline garystooge

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #29 on: December 20, 2010, 04:02:35 PM »
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    I am pretty sure that "tuches" is not a naughty word,

    You're correct....it's the equivalent of referring to someone's ""rear-end" or "bottom".

    However if someone tells you in Yiddish to "Kush mein tuches", you might not take it too kindly.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #30 on: December 28, 2010, 09:12:05 PM »
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  • A post in the thread "Name that classic line" draws my attention to another Yiddish expression in a Stooge short: Early in Three Little Twirps, Larry, having thrust a brush against Moe's neck so that it looks like an Amish-style beard, says, "Beat it, Grandpa! We got no time for kibbitzers!"

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Attention Jewish Knuckleheads: Yiddish in Stooges Movies
    « Reply #31 on: October 02, 2016, 02:26:11 PM »
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  • Yeh I think he uses 'eengan zomen' in 'All Gummed Up' too, as an ingredient in the vitamin of youth.

    They use loads of Jewish/Yiddish phrase in the shorts

    I don't believe that that is an actual word in Yiddish or any other language, but it reminds me of the Italian "insomma," which means and is cognate with "in sum." It also reminds me of the German "im ganzen," which means "altogether" and (I find in the online Yiddish dictionary) has a Yiddish equivalent "ingantsn." That could be where Moe got the idea for it.

     


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