Bye, Bei, Bye

Now that I finally have a moment…

Here’s another pet peeve of mine.

The sentence “we stayed by my grandparents’ last night” is something that a Jewish person might say.

It is also horribly grammatically incorrect. I never actually noticed it until a few years ago when my dad pointed it out, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

By means via, as in “by train”, alongside, as in “pass by a house” or “sit by a window,” or indicates a creator, as in “a painting by Picasso”. It does not mean over, at, or with.

“But why do you call out Jewish people, Jacob?”

Because they’re the only ones whom I’ve heard use it that way. I used it myself until my dad corrected me.

Actually, it has a linguistic meaning. In German, the word bei means “with,” therefore making its usage in the aforementioned sentence about staying with grandparents grammatically correct. For some reason, this word kind over traveled over and became a false cognate in English speech.

For some reason, though, it irks me more and more each time I hear someone use it incorrectly. I don’t know why it does, but it is grammatically incorrect. One time, I tried to correct someone, and was greeted with a blank stare, so it is not something that I try terribly hard to change about others’ speech patterns.

But don’t start saying it now.

That, or singing the Maude theme song in public, or else Lady Godiva will be freedom riding through your brain for the rest of the day.

7 thoughts on “Bye, Bei, Bye

  1. Depending upon ones upbringing, and their parents upbringing, we will incorporate tiny bits within our covey that expresses for “us” the reality of our identities.

    Jacob, I always fear, when writing or speaking, that someone will call out my errors (punctuation, grammar use). Some of us simply do not know any better way to communicate, but when we are called out it feels blatantly brutal to our soul.

    I do agree that we could all use some refresher courses from time-to-time, yet I doubt many of us would carve out the time to attend. We do the best that we can and simply hope that you have enjoyed our company. Shaming us publicly is akin to slapping us forcefully and watching us roll down the stair well.

  2. I’m a hyphenated American, not Jewish, and I’ve heard this used so often by Italian-Americans (as in second and third generations) that it’s almost–but not completely–stopped bothering me.

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