Friday, September 16, 2005

Kirby is a noodge

I like Yiddish words because they often convey their meaning through the very way they are pronounced. You can feel them. This week I'm babysitting Kirby and the cats while their parents are in New England vacationing. Kirby is the epitome of the Yiddish word noodge, to annoy persistently; from the Polish word nudzić, which is also the root of the word nudge. With his ever present under-footedness and mostly fruitless entreaties for me to kick his stupid squeaking space alien toy for a game of fetch, he is indeed the very essence of noodge-nickness!

At the other end of the spectrum we have Osama the fearless black and generally invisible kitten, who is the poster child of an anti-noodge. Now which one of them do you think I would want for a pet?

Osama boma


Audie said...

With all due respect to Kirby and his ilk -- let's face it, it's cute when they fetch slippers, catch frisbees, and display their innate rage at anyone wearing a postal uniform -- Osama the generally invisible anti-noodge gets my vote.

Kitties rule.

Max said...

Kirby and Osama both look sweet, but I am more excited by the linguistic aspect of your posting. I was not surprised to find a reference to Yiddish, but the Polish really impressed me.

The interesting thing to me is that the English word 'nudge' has actually lost the Polish meaning.

Polish - nudzić - to bore; or nudzić şie - to be bored

Yiddish - נודזשען - nudzhen - to bore or annoy persistently

English - nudge - annoy persistently

The Yiddish is cool because it recognises the close relationship between the 2 meanings.

Okay, I'm done with linguistics. Thanks for indulging me, Beamis.

beamis said...

Isn't nudge to poke and lightly shove?

Max said...

Beamis, yes, but that meaning has a different and uncertain origin - some linguists think Scandinavian.

Ludovic said...

I liked nudgenickness, here we have a polish root, with a Russian nominaliser -nik followed by an English abstract nominaliser -ness, that is truly an awesome word!