JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Max WEINREICH & the protovowel 34 { was: Given name Icek Eysyk} #general

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

Michael Bernet wrote: <Alexander Beider states in his Dictionary of Ashkenazi
Given Names, that the derivation of Ayzik >from Isac as the result of the
diphthongization of protovowel 34 in Germany was suggested by Weinreich.

==Please, don't anyone call on me to explain what it means. I assume the
source for that comment is Uriel Weinreich, the exponent of modern Yiddish, who
has expired.>

What a challenge! Please do not think I have any profound knowledge on this
subject, but because of my interest in Norbert JOKL [see message archives], the
tragic linguist and Albanologist >from Bisenz [Moravia] and Vienna:

I met a real Yiddish expert via Jewishgen and we have corresponded ever since.
He explained it all in clear terms which should interest some of us.

WEINRICH is Max WEINREICH (1893/94 Goldingen, Courland (Kuldiga, Latvia) - 1969
New York City):

His name was also written as: Maks VAYNRAYKH. Max was the father of Uriel 1926

We have the beginnings of a family tree and a further raison d'etre for this
posting. Back to protovowel 34:

Laymen and scholars have long noticed that the vowels in Yiddish change
regularly between dialects.

A speaker >from Vilnius says 'gut' 'tog' 'reyt' 'ferd' (English: 'good' 'day'
'red' 'horse'; German: 'gut' 'Tag' 'rot' 'Pferd') but a speaker >from Lviv will
say 'git' 'tug' 'royt' 'feyrd'.

Historically, the vowels in each of these words go back to a single vowel but
they have developed differently in different regions. To designate the single
vowels >from which these dialectal variants came, Max WEINREICH coined the term
'kadmen-vokal (proto-vowel). For example the u and i in the words for 'good' in
Vilnius and Lviv respectively, or the o and u in the words for 'day' each go
back to a single kadmen-vokal. Max designated these vowels by two digit
numbers. The first digits 1 to 5 correspond to the vowels a, e, i, o, u. {Easy
isn't it - five vowels!]

The second digit corresponds to historical changes that happened to the vowels.
For example, the vowel in Ayzik is pronounced 'ay' in Vilnius and 'aa' in Lviv.
Historically, it was an i sound so the first number in its name is 3. The
second number, 4, is used for vowels that became diphthongs (clusters of two
vowels) early in their history. This happened to the vowel in Ayzik so it is
called protovowel 34. [All understood - hurrah!]

Thank you Max and thank you Norbert JOKL, for my introduction to "my" Yiddish
expert. On my last visit to Vienna, I photographed >from the inside, the door to
JOKL's home - the last thing he would have seen of his home before he was
deported. It moved me greatly and I think of him often.

Celia Male [U.K.]

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