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singular / plural

hamentasch / hamentaschim

(as seen here)

hamentaschen / hamentaschen

I believe the second option prevails colloquially. Is there a correct/incorrect usage of this Yiddish word? Does it matter?

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Is this on topic? – Double AA Mar 5 '14 at 23:10
Because it's a word that is pretty much only used in connection with Purim (and I guess by bakeries the rest of the year, if they try to sell them year-round), this feels on-topic to me. – Monica Cellio Mar 6 '14 at 0:56

1 Answer 1

I went looking for instances of "hamentash" (המן־טאַש) in Sholom Aleichem stories because I wanted to see it used in a sentence as singular and plural. In the story "Two Shalachmones or A Purim Scandal" the word is used 12 times, but every single usage is singular. It is consistently spelled המן־טאַש or "hamentash". You can find the first instance on page 58 (page 62 of the file) in the paragraph at the bottom of the page. The next eight instances are all on page 60 (page 64 of the file) in a humorous jabbering conversation between the two women characters.

Regarding your question about the Yiddish spelling, a Google search returns results for spelling the plural with a "ן", but not with a "ם" at the end. It looks like the evidence so far confirms Wikipedia's assertation that:

A hamantash (or hamentasch, see: Other names; Yiddish המן־טאַש, pl. hamantashen or hamentaschen)

Wikipedia does not give a spelling for the Yiddish plural, but Google searches reveal two common spellings "המן טאשן" and "המן-טאשן" (with a space or with a hyphen).

One story that I know has the plural hamantashen is "Two Dead Men" about Chlavne the drunk and his wife Gittel, but I cannot seem to find that in the original Yiddish.

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According to the YIVO Standard Yiddish spelling system, there should always be a hyphen (called a makef) between המן and טאַש. Of course, many people (including notably most of the Chassidish world) does not hold by YIVO spelling. Also, these dictionaries‌​, among others, back up the makef, along with your spelling and your plural (המן־טאַשן). – magicker72 Mar 6 '14 at 22:00

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