the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Anand Giridharadas wrote an article in The New York Times on May 21, 2010, titled, "Follow My Logic? A Connective Word Takes the Lead." We read:

"SO this is about the word "so."
Giridharadas says, "What is new is its status as the favored introduction to thoughts, its encroachment on the territory of 'well,' 'oh, 'um' and their ilk." Galine Bolden, a linguistics scholar as even written academic papers on the use of 'so.'

In Yiddish, the word for so is "azoy." Google "azoy" and you'll get 68,400 results. The first listing, "Nisht Azoy," the second album of Montreal-based klezmer band, Black Ox Orkestar.

Ernest Priestly writes, "so" implies expertise and special knowledge, enchancing the weight of the answer and the status of the answer. Mitch Kohn of W. Hollywood, CA, in a letter to The New York Times, said, "So" implies that we're in the middle of a continuing conversation; it's the touch of a hand on my shoulder."

Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976) was conversant with 20 languages, fluent or near fluent in 12. He sang in Chinese, Russian, German and Yiddish. he sang, "Vi Azoy Lebt Der Kayser?" (AKA "How does the Czar live?"), a Yiddish folk song. Part of the lyrics are shown below:

Rabosay, Gentlemen,
rabosay, gentlemen, khakhomim endlessly wise, on a breg,

Kh'vel aykh I want to ask fregn, kh'vel you a aykh fregn, question.

' Nu, freg - Nu, ask, ask zshe, freg zhe, ask: freg.

Entfert ale oyf Everybody mayn shayle: answer my question:

Vi azoy trinkt How does the der keyser Czar drink tey? tea?

The following expressions--all containing the word "azoy," are quite common:

. "Vi azoy?" (How?)

. "Azoy gich?" (So soon?)

. "zolstu azoy laiben!" (You should live so!)

. "Ikh zol azoy lang lebn." (I should live so long.)

. "Azoy geyt es." (That's how it goes/So it goes.)

. "Zol zayn azoy!" (Let it be so@ So be it!)

. "Azoy vert dos kikhl tsebrokhn." (That's how the cookie crumbles.)

. "Azoy vi du kukstg mikh on" (Just like that/Just as you look at me)

. "Azoy fil ritzinoyl zol er oystrinkn" (He should drink too much castor oil.)

. "Zayt azoy gut." (Please, Lit., Be so good)

. "Ot azoy neyt a shnayder." (This is how a tailor sews.)

. "Zol ich azoy vissen fun tsores!" ((I should so know from trouble as I know about this!)

. "Azoy?" (Really?)

. "Nisht azoy hays vee faykht." (It's not the heat; it's the humidity.)

. "Tsi darf es azoy zayn?" (Does it have to be this way?)

. "Vi azoy tust du dos?" (How do you do that?)

. "Vi me bet zich ois, azoy darf men shlofen." (As you make your bed, SO will you sleep in it.)

. "Vi di gendz, azoy di grivn." (The way the goose is, so are the cracklings.)

. "Vi ainer iz tsu ziben, azoi iz er tsu zibetsik." (As one is at seven, SO is he at seventy.)

And Michael Wex ("Just Say Nu") uses the word "azoy" as follows:

Mother (standing outside locked bathroom): "Voos tit er dortn azoy lang?" (What's he doing in there for so long?)

Marjorie G. Wolfe recently told her
grandsons, "BP may stand for Brat Pitt,
but 'Azoy'! It also stands for British


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N O P Q R S T U V W   Y Z
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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