JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Suggestion for Tombstone spelling of Yiddish name #general


In a message dated 99-01-26 12:34:25 EST, HKENVIN, 0005734940@...,
had written :

<< I am not sure about Kushma (which jewishgen mavens previously told me
is a derivative of Yekutiel). I think "Kushma" begins with < kof > (the
27th letter of the alphabet), but perhaps it is < caf > (the 12th letter).
Is it < kof, shin, mem, hay >, or < kof, vuv, shin, mem, hay >, or no < hay
at all, or something else? Your help would be a mitzvah.>>
to which I responded with some pedantry suggesting that a Yiddish spelling
should be true to its Hebrew original. I reralize this can be silly.
Sure, if the name is just a slight variation on the Hebrew/Biblical (e.g.
Shimmen/Shim`on, Moyshe/Mosheh) the Hebrew spelling is prefered. But when
a Yiddish name stands on its own feet, far far removed >from the Hebrew
original, that would be silly. It yould be like demanding that Mike should
be spelled Mich (because of Michael) or Chuck be spelled Chur (as in
Charles). After all, we spell Zalman with a Zayin although Shlomo uses a
Shin; and Shne`or with a Shin although Senior (OK, not a Hebrew word) is
more properly spelled with a Samakh.

I'd suggest a more logical rule: if it's close to the Hebrew name, use the
Hebrew spelling. If it isn't obvious what Hebrew name it's related to, use
the Yiddish spelling. I'd therefore spell Kushma kof-vav-shin-mem-alef-heh
without bothering my head whether the name comes >from Yekutiel or Krishme
(no, not a Hindu god--that's the recitation of Shem`a before bed <g>).

And so, good night to all.

Michael Bernet, New York

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