Gibberyiddish

The Lawyer’s weekly Grape-vine email has always been popular (it currently has 35,467 subscribers) and often generates opinionated feedback.


The Lawyer’s weekly Grape-vine email has always been popular (it currently has 35,467 subscribers) and often generates opinionated feedback. But Tulkinghorn is staggered at the weight of correspondence that flowed following the bulletin on 30 March, generated not by the subject matter of the article itself, but by its grammar.

Last week, Tulkinghorn reproduced SJ Berwin lawyer Daniel Tunkel’s take on The Lawyer scribe’s grammatical errors. This itself now faces a critique, from Hershl Hartman, secretary to Yiddishkayt, a cultural organisation in Los Angeles.

It reads: “Following last week’s analysis I beg, respectfully, to differ with the esteemed Daniel Tunkel as to the ‘Americanised Yiddish’ origin of the slang term ‘ditz’. There is no word in Yiddish – however mangled it might have become on the streets of the US – that relates in any way, manner, shape or form to ‘ditz’. I assume that the ‘tz’ ending, a diphthong that does occur in Yiddish, is what led Mr Tunkel astray into the uncharted minefields of folk etymology, a dangerous landscape indeed. Then again, Mr Tunkel’s family name translates (from Yiddish) as ‘dark, dim, obscure…’ according to the Modern English-Yiddish, Yiddish-English Dictionary. One should draw no invidious conclusions.”

Mr Tunkel was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, but Tulkinghorn would imagine his response to be something along the lines of: “I’m no schmuck.”