I wonder about the word “onomatopoeia.” I wonder if a better word could have been used. It can’t be used to describe itself because there is no sound to mimic.
Yiddish is definitely an onomatopoeiac language not so much because the words mimics any particular sound, but the words sound exactly like the activity or state of mind which it describes. When you hear the word “schlep” you immediately know what it means.
See if you can tell the meaning of the words below by their sound:
Chutzpah, Dreck, Glitch, Kibits, Klutz, Meshuga, Nebbish, Putz, Schlemiel, Schmo, Schnoz, Shtick, Yutz…
These words and most Yiddish words are perfectly descriptive of the situation without translation.
OK, admit it. Most of you had no idea what an onomatopoeia was when you first started reading this. Had the word been Yiddish you would have understood it perfectly.