A Son’s Note


After my father, Joseph Witriol (1912 – 2002), had typed up Mumme Loohshen he hoped to get it published commercially and, when that failed, considered using vanity publishers but could not justify the cost.

I have not changed the text except for a handful of minor typing errors. If some passages baffled me, I took it to be my misreading or ignorance rather than the author’s miswriting. There are indeed complex, lengthy sentences which perhaps are harder to avoid when discussing the interplay between three or more languages. He also used ‘difficult’ words and foreign words and tags. This was not an affectation, but an aspect of his impressive vocabulary and literary knowledge. And, despite their obscurity, words such as borborygmus can be useful and delightful.

As it was written in the 1970s, some references to books, places and so on are now incorrect or dated. I kept his Yiddish and Hebrew transcriptions although they differ from orthodox versions. Yiddish words are in bold, words in other foreign languages are italicised and “English equivalents/translations” are in “quotation marks”. I substituted chapter links for page references in the original manuscript and left out his extensive word lists and index.

Philip Witriol, November  2012

More background on this book and other writings of Joseph Witriol can be found at http://philipwitriol.wordpress.com . I am happy for the work, or extracts from it, to be published elsewhere, but would appreciate acknowledgement of the author and a link to the original. The book is also online in the form of a single document here.