Teitch=Deutsch – Illustration & Proof – טייטש=דייטש בשער ספר ישן ובויקיפדיה

In a previous post  it was mentioned that the Yiddish word טייטש, as in teitch of a posuk in Chumash, comes from the word Deutsch (German-German language), as Yiddish is Yiddish-Deutsch, a Jewish-German hybrid language.

It seems that some people are not totally convinced of it though, and are harboring doubts if it is just a pshetl (fanciful interpretation), or a drash, rather than the simple meaning, or פשוט פשט of the matter.

So here is some proof.

1) See the Wikipedia entry on the Yiddish language. Right in the beginning, in the second paragraph, one sees that teitch=Deutsch.

2) It can be seen in old seforim. Here is a nice illustration of it, for example, at the top of the title page (שער בלאט) of a sefer printed approximately two centuries ago, courtesy of Hebrewbooks.org, where one sees the words ובלשון אשכנז הנקרא טייטש.

So it is not a figment of someone’s imagination, but rather a plain fact.

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5 Responses to “Teitch=Deutsch – Illustration & Proof – טייטש=דייטש בשער ספר ישן ובויקיפדיה”

  1. S. Says:

    “It seems that some people are not totally convinced of it though, ”

    Oy. That’s embarrassing.

    Actually, I had my own he’arah, which is to explain the term “ivri-teitsch.” This term arose in the second part of the 19th century as far as I can tell, and it marked a change from how traditionally Yiddish (or Judeo-German, if you will) words were printed, which was using a font that was called “Vayber-teutsch,” which looks like a close cousin of Rashi script (both derived from the same source, i.e., handwritten semi-cursives). The practice, quite often, was to write entire Yiddish books in this font. Very often the *Hebrew* words would be written in normal square letters, to set them apart from the Yiddish. Conversely, mostly Hebrew books using square (or even Rashi) letters would set apart Yiddish words in vayberteutsch. However, beginning approximately 1850 it became much more common to print Yiddish books in the square Hebrew letters. Presto – Ivri-teitsch, as opposed to Vayber-teitsch – was born. As far as I can tell the term originates in this period as well.

  2. Treasures of Ashkenaz Says:

    Hi there Reb S.

    Thanks once again for your learned comments and support. What you are saying sounds fine here.

    Re what I wrote that some didn’t seem convinced that teitch=Deutsch – that was the impression I got. Sometimes you get an impression even if people don’t say something explicitly, through things like facial expressions and other reactions or lack of reactions. Hey, when I first heard it, I was skeptical too. Sometimes when something is too simple, people wonder, hey, if it is so simple and poshut, why did I never hear of it until now? Can something really be so simple? We are used to hearing more complicated discourses, so simple statements can seem plain, uneducated, and therefore suspect at times.

  3. S. Says:

    Then this is a valuable opportunity! Since you were somewhat skeptical, can you try to remember why? What did you think it meant before? I mean, the word had to come from somewhere?

    I’m not sure if I accept this as correct – requires more thought – but I heard it reported in the name of a pashtan that you can tell if you’ve come across a good candidate for a true pshat if you tell it to someone and their response is “Of course it means that. Tell me something I didn’t know.” But you know that what you told them *is* something they didn’t know!

  4. Ralph Watzke Says:

    Living in Canada, I often speak to Hutterites (a traditional pacifist Anabaptist communal farming sect) in German. They always refer to their language as “teitsch”; they speak an Austrian-Tyrolean dialect of German. And Hutterites, Mennonites, and Amish all tend to favor Hebrew first names, whereas other Germans often avoid names associated with Jews. Like Haredim, the men dress in black and are bearded, and usually wear a hat or cap. Women wear loing skirts, and kerchiefs to cover their long uncut hair. They oppose “graven images” like photographs; some refuse even to be photographed for drivers’ licenses.

  5. Ralph Watzke Says:

    It has been reported that in Saskatoon and other Canadian cities and towns, the Hutterite farmers would converse with the Jewish merchants in their dialect of “Teitsch”, and the Jewish merchants would speak Yiddish. Each was able to understand the other quite well!

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