Folk Speech – Yiddish


English translation- “Somewhere in the middle of nowhere”

My informant first heard this phrase when at the age of twelve (circa 1967) she would be at the dinner table with her brother and parents, and her parents said something they didn’t want Sheryl and Randy to hear.  Growing up Sheryl and her brother did not know a lot of Yiddish, only English, so speaking a foreign language would allow her parents to speak in confidentiality.

This phrase is really meant to be said when one is in a place that seems like there are no surroundings besides woods.  Living in a smaller city in Arizona, Sheryl was not used to an urban city such as Los Angeles, so when she came here, anywhere that seemed like it was rural would be called “yenenfeldt” by my mother.

The reason why this is so important in Sheryl’s world today is because she still speaks a little bit of Yiddish and still holds on to her roots.  Therefore, when there are situations that arise that go with the saying she still knows, they are stated aloud.

When asked her reaction to the folk speech, my informant stated that she does not think much of it because she has heard it so much growing up.  She stated that the funniest part about the word “yenenfeldt” was the first time that I used it.  (At this point in the interview, my mother yelled to my father saying “Do you remember the 1st time Brandon said “yenenfeldt” and my father said it was “hysterical).

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Sheryl was spoken to in Yiddish during her childhood years and understood the language very well.  She knew it so well that she could talk the language fluently to anyone who understood her.  Now, as an adult, she does not speak the language anymore, so she has lost most of it.  But, with her two kids out of the house, she is eager to take a class of Yiddish, in hopes of being able to speak the Yiddish language again.

This is the one word in Yiddish that I actually use because I hear it so often; therefore, I think it is a very funny and informative Yiddish phrase.  My mom used to say it so often that I have now adapted the word yenenfeldt to my vocabulary, and use it during the right circumstances.