Was my grandmother calling me a cup of soup?
April 22, 2012 4:17 PM Subscribe
What was my Bubbe saying when she said "Teppeleh zoft"?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My maternal grandmother was a first generation American Jew whose parents were born in Russia. I'm not sure how fluent she actually was in Yiddish. Though English was their first language, both my grandparents used language in a kind of . . . slapdash way (for instance, my grandmother told us for years that her middle name was Libby but it was actually Lillian) and so figuring out what the phrases they used actually meant can be kind of difficult.
When I was a child, my grandmother would kiss me on the neck and say something that sounded like "Teppeleh zoft" (pronunciation confirmed by my mother). She told us this meant "kiss on the neck" in Yiddish. Today I decided to google that phrase and came up dry. "Neck" is apparently something along the lines of "haldz"--which I suppose might sound like "zoft" if you squint. The closest hit to the overall phrase was "teppeleh zupp" which means . . . a cup of soup? Is that a colloquial phrase for a kiss on the neck in Yiddish? (sounds absurd, but then, my grandfather called us all "pupik"). If not, what might my grandmother have been saying?