Practical Advice in Using a Yiddish Dictionary
Now, let's discuss choosing the right kind of Yiddish dictionary. First and foremost, you must buy a Yiddish dictionary in your own language. Or of you speak many languages, in your first language of choice. You will find many types of Yiddish dictionaries catering to specific foreign languages, a few of which are the following:
* For French speakers, Niborski's Yiddish dictionary (published in 2002) is the best option. In fact, it is widely considered as the best Yiddish dictionary so far because it includes a wide range of Yiddish words but distinguishes majority of them by register - scientific or literary, colloquial or slang - as well as by dialect.
* For English speakers, the first purchase would have to be Weinreich's Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English dictionary. Its spellings are of the modern versions while thousands of idioms and other expressions are included in this Yiddish dictionary, which has outlasted its rivals since it publication in 1968.
* For supplementation purposes, the 1928 Harkavy's dictionary is useful especially when dealing with words that are not of Hebrew or Aramaic origin.
For many Yiddish students, it is often best to combine two or more Yiddish dictionaries to fully understand and appreciate the words. For example, native Yiddish speakers and students in the intermediate level are advised to secure both the Harkavy's and the Niborski's dictionaries.
But the best way to appreciate the importance of the right choice in a Yiddish dictionary is to steep yourself in the works of the Yiddish writers, speak the Yiddish language and write in Yiddish. You may be able to write a Yiddish dictionary of your own, too!