I'm fairly competent in speaking Yiddish, in fact, most of friends, family, and teachers consider me a fluent speaker. However, I noticed an interesting difference between two siddurim of mine.

In my Artscroll siddur, Zimun in Birkas Hamazon begins as follows:

[רבותי מיר וועלען בענטשען [רבותי נברך

But in my Siddur Tehillas Hashem by Kehos, Zimun looks like this:

רבותי מיר וועלין בענטשין

What's the reason for the difference in spelling? Why does the Siddur Tehillas Hashem say מיר וועלין בענטשין when the Artscroll says מיר וועלען בענטשען? From my experience with Yiddish, Artscroll appears to be right in this case because I learned Yiddish that way. Is it a difference between ליטוויש and חסידישע Yiddish?

  • 3
    Yiddish has no formal orthography. Furthermore, grammatically, it whould be וויר וואָלע/ין בענטשן, rather than מיר וואָלע/ין בענטשן Commented May 4, 2016 at 15:26
  • You could also email Artscroll and Kehot to see why they spelled it that way Commented May 4, 2016 at 15:26
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt See why did you spell vellen as völlen? Dialect?
    – ezra
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 15:30
  • In German (and presumably Western Yiddish/Jüdisch) it is wollen, rather than wellen. Thus I spelled it the way I'd pronounce it, according to my understanding of the orthography. Commented May 4, 2016 at 15:31
  • Hmmm...interesting. I guess from your username I could've guessed you were a יעקע.
    – ezra
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


The various spellings are trying to get at a vowel-less pronunciation of the final syllable: the syllabic n (for example, some English dialects pronounce "button" as "but'n", with a syllabic n at the end). From Uriel Weinreich's dictionary, in the section on non-YIVO-standard orthography:

a superfluous ע is sometimes written before final ל or ן to mark their syllabicity.

The same occurs (although less common) with a י instead of an ע (perhaps modeled on the feminine suffix ־ין, where the י is written but not pronounced). YIVO standardized spelling writes your words as װעלן ("veln") and בענטשן ("bentshn"), without any vowel before the ן. See here for more details.

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