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Birds in Yiddish! (Foygl nemen oyf Yidish!)

November 26, 2010

Dear Bird Lovers and Yiddish Aficionados of the World! There is no longer any need to wait for the stunning volume that has it all: hundreds of European and American bird names, their Latin equivalents and a Yiddish translation! Don’t tell me you haven’t stayed up past midnight wondering how your (or my, for that matter) East European ancestors would have referred to my all-time favorite spark bird, the bird that started my descent (ascent?) into the world of ornithological paraphernalia, the Red Winged Blackbird.

You’ll be happy to know that there is no longer reason to lose sleep over this longstanding question! My (your, our) ancestors would have called this gem of a Red Winged Blackbird (Agelaius pheoniceus) a Royt-gefliglt shvartsfoygl! Obviously. Doesn’t it look like a royt-gefliglt shvartsfoygl?

Thanks to Hirsh Perloff and Whitechapel Presentations (London) for publishing such a handsome, one-of-a-kind, essential companion for any Yiddish-speaking birder! This book couldn’t have come at a more appropriate moment. This really does make me believe in karma. Who knew that my love of Yiddish and birds would dawn at approximately the same same time? In any event, 2010 is a big year for me: I saw my first warblers, my first bald eagle up-close, started my bird blog, learned to point my binoculars at something other than tree bark and pine cones (though I’m not a pro quite yet), got more use out of my Tilley Hat than ever before, and figured out how to say all of that in Yiddish!

Do let me know if you need any bird names translated into my favorite East European idiom — I now am the proud owner of more information about birds in Yiddish than you ever imagined existed. The book also features a few essential pictures and diagrams, complete with translations:

Enjoy! And feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need a translation or two, when suffering from insomnia. I am always happy to oblige. (And thanks to my fabulous Yiddish teacher, Gloria, for providing me with the book in the first place.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandra Studer permalink
    December 15, 2010 11:55 am


    I am looking for the translation of the following yiddish foygl nomen:

    tsitereklekh (Yivo-romanization)

    I came across this name in one of Avrom Karpinowiczs short stories and found no translation in Weinreich or Harkavy…

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Sandra from Switzerland

  2. Izak Meyer permalink
    January 5, 2011 6:40 pm

    Hi Julia,

    Happy New Year. Very interesting blog. I am very interested in bird names, especialy in the Germanic languages. I will start learning Yiddish in a few weeks’ time and was looking for bird names in Yiddish and couldn’t find any.

    Do you know where I can find a copy of the book? It seems to have gone out of print. I would love to have a copy of my own.

    Thank you for any help!

    Keep well,
    Izak from Spain

    • February 22, 2011 11:13 am

      Izak — thanks so much for reading my blog. I’ll put you in touch with the author of the dictionary directly.

  3. February 21, 2011 4:24 am

    I still have a few copies left at 20 Euros each for those interested.
    I would also be happy to correspond directly with Sandra Studer and
    Izak Meyer.

    • February 22, 2011 11:13 am

      Sholom aleykhem! Wow! Thanks for reading my blog! I never thought I’d get a Yiddish celebrity on here:) I’ll put you directly in touch with Izak Meyer and Sandra Studer. Your bird dictionary is an absolute treasure.

      • Izak Meyer permalink
        February 22, 2011 6:21 pm

        Thank you very much! It would be wonderful to get hold a copy of the book. I am part of a society that are compiling a list of Afrikaans bird names for all the specie sin the world and it is so interesting to look at other Germanic languages. And I have just started learning some Yiddish now, so it would be wonderful to have the book and to know what the bird names are.

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