Don’t ask! 2

A Peanuts strip, featuring Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty:

(#1) But wait! Patty’s Don’t ask! is not a request for Charlie not to ask about her feelings (which would directly contradict her requesting Charlie to ask about her feelings); instead, it’s an exclamation (in Yiddish English) conveying Patty’s dismay at feeling really crappy

We have been through this use of Don’t ask! previously on this blog, in the aptly named posting of 1/31/21, “Don’t ask!”:

Today’s morning name, but it comes with crucial context. The Don’t ask! in question is not the neutral use of the negative imperative, advising the addressee not to ask someone about something (Don’t ask them about the ducks in the kitchen; that just makes them crazy), but instead is a formula of Yiddish-influenced English, normally used only by (American) Jews (or gentiles culturally close to this community), when someone has in fact just asked about the matter in question (the tsuris tsores ‘troubles’); the speaker doesn’t go on to avoid this sensitive matter, but instead embraces it, launching into kvetching‘complaining’ about it.

The formula Don’t ask!  then serves as an announcement — a kind of alarm bell, if you will — that the speaker is about to go off on a (perhaps extended) kvetch. [so that it serves to convey that the situation in question is in fact dire, a mess or a disaster]

Two examples, both illustrating attitudes towards male homosexuality (specifically, in a woman’s son), the second exemplifying another feature of Yiddish-influenced English (not previously discussed on this blog), the mildly derogatory lexical item feygele(h) / faygele(h) ‘gay man’.

— from Born To Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods, by Michael Wex:


— from a blog posting“Some of My Favorite Jewish Jokes” (whose author, to judge from its link, might, or might not, be Lawrence Attard Bezzina):


As a bonus for this blog, the second feygele son is named Arnold.

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