I was at an Ashkenazi beith kneseth this past shabboth and noticed that they didn't distinctly pronounce their Shuruq's and Hholam's and instead substituted them with Hhireq's. I'm not sure if it was in all cases, since I only noticed it come up with a few words. The examples I remember are:

  • Sidur = Sidir
  • Qidush = Qidish
  • Yom Kipur = Yom Kipir
  • Kashruth = Kashris
  • Sukoth = Sukis
  • Parshoth = Parshis

Whats the source for this practice?

Do all cultural groups of Ashkenaz usually pronounce in this way? I believe the congregation was mainly Hungarian and Polish (if that makes a difference).

Also, if it isn't for all words that those two vowel sounds change, then what's the grammatical rule to know when you pronounce which sound when?

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    This is a question about Chasidish pronunciation. – Gershon Gold Aug 20 '12 at 19:48
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    @GershonGold, not necessarily. I've also heard "Yonkipir". From a Telshe rabbi (Z"L). – Seth J Aug 20 '12 at 19:50
  • It was Litvish congregation that hold by Soloveitchik. – Qoheleth Aug 20 '12 at 19:53
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    @GershonGold I've heard some of these from non-Chassidic Ashkenazim. It seems to go hand-in-hand with unstressed syllables, which is related to the other question you're thinking of. – Monica Cellio Aug 20 '12 at 20:17
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    This article about the different pronunciations throughout world Jewry may be of interest. Hope it is! – user1824 Aug 29 '12 at 9:39

This answer assumes you're talking about conversation. My theory is that Yiddish and English, being mostly accented on the penultimate syllable, shift Hebrew to the same in natural Yiddish/Yinglish/English speech. Thus kash-RUTH becomes KASH-rus. Then the vowel on the ultimate syllable gets compressed to a shwa. KASH-rəs, which sounds like KASH-rihs.

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    I think the phenomenon of Anglicizing pronunciation in these cases includes not only replacement by schwas but also vowel shortening of other types. For example, the second vowel in "kidush" is usually not the same as the second vowel in "kashrus", and often not the same as that in "sidur". – WAF Aug 20 '12 at 21:55

Many Chasidim pronounce some vowels differently. Cholam and Kamatz are often "oo", Shuruk is "ee", and Tzerei is "eye".

Similarly, many Yiddish vowels are changed from the orginial word in German. Hence, knoedel became knaidel.


This is mostly slang when talking to one another (when not Davening or reading the Torah).

  • Ok where does this slang originate from ? – Qoheleth Aug 20 '12 at 19:54
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    That's not necessarily true. Some of those words don't come up often in davening or leining, but I've definitely heard b'yom chag hasukis hazeh in the ya'aleh v'yavo section of shmoneh esrei. – Daniel Aug 20 '12 at 19:56
  • That is very true - but @Qoheleth mentioned that it was a 'Ashkenazi' shul, Chassidim generally daven nusach Sfard (or something more similar to it than Ashkenaz – pzkd Aug 20 '12 at 19:59

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