POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY HOWARD RICHLER IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL
Have you ever noticed how rich in words of contempt the Yiddish language is?
Even Yiddish-origin people who do not speak Yiddish use them.
They are literally a part of what we think of as the New York City character or Jewish humor.
Without making a big effort, we have: schmuck, meshuggina, zhlub, wus, dreck, putz, goi, gornisht, schlepper, klutz, schlemiel, kvetch, luftmensh, megillah, momzer, nebbish, nudnik, pisher, schlock, scmultz, shtunk.
These are generally not foul language or curses, just words full of contempt for something one is observing.
If there is truth in the idea that language reflects other deeper things in people, then these words of contempt say a great deal.