Sunday, June 13, 2010

Yiddishology: How Good Is Your Yiddish? "Tchotchke": Sixth of a Series

After seeing how the Jews of Tampa translate the Yiddish words shtupper, kenahora, ungapatchka, shlimazel, and shmegegge, we're going back to the Tampa Jewish Community to check out their explanations of tchotchke.

We have some tchotchkes around the house, mostly from trade shows, conventions, conferences, and seminars spanning four decades.  The word has made it into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and many other online dictionaries.  Let's see how the Floridians react in the man-in-the-street interviews in today's video.  How many tchotchkes do you have in your house?   Maybe it's time to get rid of them.

P. S.  Don't confuse tchotchke with tsatskele.  Although the words come from the same root, their usage conveys entirely different meanings.  Tchotchke usually means a worthless trinket or souvenir.  A tsatskele is usually a young woman or teenage girl who is a handful, very demanding, or "a piece of work."  But it can also mean bimbo or dear little child.  It all depends on inflection, how the word is expressed.  Go figure!

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