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Yiddish Grammar

Welcome to the 8th lesson about Yiddish grammar. We will first learn about prepositions, negation, questions, adverbs, and pronouns including: personal, object and possessive pronouns.

We will start with prepositions. In general, they are used to link words to other words. For example: I speak Yiddish and English the preposition is [and] because it connects both words Yiddish and English. The following is a list of the most used prepositions in Yiddish.

Prepositions - Yiddish
and אוּן
above איבער
under ונטער
before פריער
after נאָך
in front of פאר
behind הינטער
far from ווייַט פון
near נעבּן
in אין
inside אַריין
outside אַרויס
with מיט
without אָן
about וועגן
between צווישן
but אָבער
for פֿאַר
from פון
to צו

Preposition Grammar Rules

The following examples use prepositions in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Prepositions + Rules - Yiddish
I eat without a knife
[preposition + noun] איך עס אָן אַ מעסער
she lives near the church
[verb + preposition] זי לעבט נעבן דער קירך
he is taller than her
[adjective + preposition] ער איז העכער ווי איר
he came with his small dog
[preposition + pronoun] ער איז געקומען מיט זיין קליינער הונט
can you come with me?
[preposition + pronoun] קענט איר קומען מיט מיר?

Negation in Yiddish

Now let's learn how to make a negative sentence (negation). For example: Saying no, I can't, I don't ... The following examples use negation in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence.

Negation + Rules - Yiddish
I understand you
[affirmative form] איך פאַרשטיי אייך
I don't understand you
[negation + verb] איך פאַרשטיי אייך ניט.
this is not the correct word
[negation + adjective] דאָס איז ניט דאָס ריכטיקע וואָרט
don't leave me
[imperative negation] טאָן ניט לאָזן מיר
no problem
[negation + noun] קיין פּראָבלעם

Negative Sentences - Yiddish
I don't speak French
[negation + present tense] איך רעד ניט פראנצויזיש
she didn't visit Germany
[negation + past tense] זי האָט ניט באַזוכט דײַטשלאַנד
he cannot see us
[negative modal verb] ער קען אונדז ניט זען
can't she play chess?
[interrogative negation] קען זי ניט שפּילן שאַךך?
we will not come late
[negation + future tense] מיר וועלן ניט קומען שפּעט

Questions in Yiddish

Now let's learn how to ask questions (interrogative). Such as: what, why, can you ...? Here are some common examples:

English - Yiddish
how? ווי?
what? וואָס?
who? ווער?
why? פאַרוואָס?
where? ווו?

More of the interrogative form, now in a sentence:

Questions + Rules - Yiddish
where do you live?
[interrogative + verb] ווו וווינסטו?
does she speak Chinese?
[interrogative verb] רעד זי כינעזיש?
how much is this?
[interrogative preposition] ווי פיל איז דאָס?
can I help you?
[interrogative modal verb] קען איך אײַך העלפן?
what is your name?
[interrogative preposition] וואָס איז אייער נאָמען?

Adverbs in Yiddish

It's time to learn the adverbs in Yiddish. But what is an adverb? In general, adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. For example: You speak fast. The adverb is [fast] because it describes the verb and answers the question how do you speak?. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Adverbs - Yiddish
now איצט
yesterday נעכטן
today הייַנט
tonight הייַנט בייַ נאַכט
tomorrow מאָרגן
soon באַלד
quickly געשווינד
slowly לאַנגזאם
together צוזאַמען
very זייער
almost כמעט
always שטענדיק
usually געווענליך
sometimes אַ מאָל
rarely זעלטן
never קיינ מאָל ניט

The following examples use the adverbs in different ways and places to demonstrate how it behaves in a sentence.

Adverbs + Rules - Yiddish
do you understand me now?
[pronoun + adverb] פאַרשטייט איר מיך איצט?
I need help immediately
[noun + adverb] איך דאַרף גלײַך הילף
she is very intelligent
[adverb + adjective] זי איז זייער ינטעליגענט
I will always love you
[verb + adverb] איך וועל שטענדיק ליבען דיך
can we learn German together?
[adverb in a question] קענענ מיר צוזאַמענ לערנען דײַטש?

Pronouns in Yiddish

We're almost done! This time we will learn the pronouns in Yiddish. In general, a pronoun can be used instead of a noun. For example instead of saying my teacher speaks 3 languages, you can use the pronoun he, and say he speaks 3 languages. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Personal Pronouns - Yiddish
I איך
you דו
he ער
she זי
we מיר
they זיי

Object Pronouns - Yiddish
me מיר
you דו
him אים
her איר
us אונדז
them זיי

Possessive Pronouns - Yiddish
my מייַן
your דיין
his זייַן
her איר
our אונדזער
their זייער

I think it's better to put the above example in a sentence to better assist you. The following examples use pronouns in different ways and places to demonstrate how they behave in a sentence. We will start with the personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns - Yiddish
I am your friend
[1st pronoun + verb] איך בין דיין פרייַנד
you speak very fast
[2nd pronoun + adverb] איר רעדט זייער שנעל
he has three dogs
[3rd pronoun + verb] ער האט דרייַ הינט
she can speak German
[3rd pronoun + verb] זי קען רעדן דײַטש
we will not come late
[1st plural pronoun] מיר וועלן ניט קומען שפּעט
they bought milk and bread
[3rd plural pronoun] זיי האָבן געקויפט מילך און ברויד

The object pronoun is used as a target by a verb, and usually come after that verb. For example: I gave him my book. The object pronoun here is him. Here are more examples:

Object Pronouns - Yiddish
can you tell me your name?
[1st object pronoun] קענסט דו מיר זאָגן דיין נאָמען?
I will give you money
[2nd object pronoun] איך וועל געבן איר געלט
she wrote him a letter
[3rd object pronoun] זי האָט אים געשריבן אַ בריוו
they visited her yesterday
[3rd object pronoun] זיי האבען באזוכט איר נעכטען
can she help us?
[1st pl. object pronoun] קען זי אונדז העלפן ?
he gave them food
[3rd pl. object pronoun] ער האָט זיי געגעבן עסן.

Possessive Pronouns - Yiddish
my name is Maya
[1st possessive pronoun] מיין נאָמען איז מייַאַ
your brother lives here
[2nd possessive pronoun] אייער ברודער וווינט דאָ.
her mother cooks for us
[3rd possessive pronoun] איר מוטער קאָכט פאַר אונדז.
his hobby is reading books
[3rd possessive pronoun] זיין פערדל איז לייענען ביכער
our dream is to visit Paris
[1st pl. possessive pronoun] אונדזער חלום איז צו באַזוכן פּאַריז
their house is not far
[3rd pl. possessive pronoun] זייער הויז איז ניט ווייַט

One more thing you need to know is the demonstrative pronouns. They're very easy to learn.

Demonstrative Pronouns - Yiddish
this is my house דאָס איז מיין הויס
that restaurant is far דער רעסטאָראַן איז ווײַט
these apples are delicious די עפּל זענען געשמאַק
those stars are shiny די שטערן זענען בלאַנק

I hope you learned a lot about the Yiddish grammar in this lesson. Please check out our main menu here for more lessons: homepage. The next lesson is below, have fun!

Inspirational Quote: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Epictetus

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