Borscht Belt reds

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at
Mon May 21 06:46:46 MDT 2001

[ delayed one week by Les]

En relación a Re: Borscht Belt reds, el 13 May 01, a las 21:12, Louis
Proyect dijo:

> A memorable remark by a journalist, Charles Rappaport, runs: I speak
> ten languages—all of them in Yiddish."

I don't speak Yiddish either, and in fact when my family sent me for a
while to a Jewish school in childhood it was kind of a nightmare to
me, until I set myself free from that torture at 10 years old. But
when I took some new contact with it being almost 20, I discovered
that in Argentina it had incorporated words from Spanish. Two of them,
particularly interesting

"Cuéntenic", that is "Kventenick", stres son first syllable: in the
Yiddish of Buenos Aires it referred to those Jewish street vendors who
provided poor people with goods on credit. Since each customer had an
account (a "cuenta" in Spanish), our Yiddish incorporated the
Spanish-Yiddish word "cuéntenic", meaning "the Jew who sells on

"Galponchic", meaning "a small shed" from Spanish
"galpón". Incorporated in the Jewish agricultural colonies of Entre
Ríos, where the Jewish gauchos first appeared.

Finally, Jews also incorporated to Yiddish the words of abuse of our
oligarchy against local Creole populations of the working class. In
Spanish they were called "cabecitas negras", which first of all is the
name of a very humble bird in the Pampas ("black heads") and is on the
second level a dismissal of the intelligence of these people. Much to
the shame of Argentinean Jews, Yiddish incorporated this term of abuse
in a transparent way: "schwartze kepalech" was and still is the name
our own Yiddish gives to Argentinean native people.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

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