In Reply to: We feel in Yiddish posted by Gary Martin on July 11, 2010 at 10:07:
: : My father's family came from Sedgley in the Birmingham region. Dad used lots of rhyming slang and also some interesting phrases and words, no doubt gleaned from his father's family. One phrase has me stumped. When Dad wanted to know how much something cost, he would say: "We feel in Yiddish?" Can anyone throw some light on this phrase please?
: I was brought up in that area and I can't decipher that either. It doesn't seem to be a literal rendition but, even when resorting to a Birmingham accent, it is difficult to imagine what he really would have been saying. In the West Midlands, as in many places, Jews were associated with commerce and cash registers were known there as 'Yiddish pianos'. Apart from that, I can't recall any local phrase that used the word Yiddish.
"We feel" is certainly a garbling of the German "wieviel?" or Yiddish "vifil?" meaning "How much?" Perhaps the implication of the full phrase was something like "What's your price to someone who asks in Yiddish (i.e. a fellow Jew)?" (VSD)