LINGUIST List 5.1400

Wed 07 Dec 1994

Sum: Mazel tov

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  1. jeffrey howard allen, Sum: mazel tov
  2. Pamela Faber, Mazel tov

Message 1: Sum: mazel tov

Date: Thu, 1 Dec 1994 17:54:31 -Sum: mazel tov
From: jeffrey howard allen <jhallenindiana.edu>
Subject: Sum: mazel tov


I would like to thank the 47 people that responded to my question about
"mazel tov" earlier this week. I have just told my friend who
prints T-shirts that she can be assured that it is not an obscene
expression.

The general consensus is that MAZEL 'luck' TOV 'good' is Yiddish
meaning 'congratulations' or 'best wishes' and MAZAL TOV is Hebrew
with the same meaning. Most have told me that neither of the two
languages uses the expressions to denote 'good luck' in a prospective
manner, but rather as a statement after the fact. These expressions are
usually said at special occasions (e.g. ceremonies, graduations, promotions,
birth of new child, etc).

A couple other bits of information come from other languages.

"de mazzel" in Dutch means 'see you'.

"mazzel topp" stated three times in the German dialect of the Ruhr Valley
is a good luck wish. One usually says it during a time of testing or
trial for another individual, and the person who receives it does not
respond with any kind of expression of thanks.

"mazzel", "masel", "masli" appears in German slang meaning 'good luck'.

Many thanks again to all who replied.

Jeff Allen
jhallenindiana.edu

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Message 2: Mazel tov

Date: Wed, 30 Nov 1994 9:48:08 Mazel tov
From: Pamela Faber <pfaberugr.es>
Subject: Mazel tov

 As any good Jewish boy/girl knows, "mazel tov" literally
means "a blessing be on you" or "good luck".
Gesindeheit -- which is Yiddish --- like "mazel tov".

Pamela Faber
pfaberugr.es
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