Linguistics Yiddish
by
Alexander Beider
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 March 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0235

Introduction

According to its main system-level characteristics, Yiddish belongs to the High German branch of West Germanic languages. During its development, it underwent an important influence of Hebrew. In modern times, we can distinguish three main varieties of Yiddish: (1) Western Yiddish in western German-speaking territories; (2) Yiddish spoken until the 20th century in Central Europe (Czech and East German lands), and (3) Eastern Yiddish in eastern Europe. From the point of view of Germanistics, it is appropriate to consider that the inception of Yiddish varieties corresponds to the Early New High German period (1350–1650). It was during that period that the Jewish vernacular idiom started to have system-level differences in comparison to the dialects spoken by German Christians, namely, in phonology and grammar. Before that period, differences surely existed in such domains, surface level for any language, as orthography and lexicon. The German dialects from southern Germany represent the linguistic basis for Western Yiddish. The medieval Bohemian dialect of German represents the linguistic basis for Yiddish spoken in Central Europe and eastern Europe. Due to permanent contacts with the Slavic Christian population, Eastern Yiddish underwent numerous changes in all of its systems due to the strong influence of Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian. It eventually branched into three subdialects: Lithuanian Yiddish, Polish Yiddish, and Ukrainian Yiddish. In modern times, in numerous countries the decline of the use of Yiddish as a living language was related to the assimilation of local Jews to the culture of the Gentile majority. At the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century it was the case in various German-speaking provinces of Central Europe and western Europe where local Jews abandoned Yiddish in favor to German. Similar shifts to the dominant non-Jewish languages took place during the 20th century in various western European countries. In the USSR, during the 1920s and the 1930s the shift to Russian was already well advanced. For those who survived the Holocaust, the assimilation accelerated during the following decades. In Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, and Romania, Yiddish-speaking communities were decimated by the Holocaust. In North America, most immigrant families shifted to English within a generation or two. Yet, because of a permanent influx of masses of native speakers between the 1880s and the 1920s, Yiddish was actively used until the mid-20th century even in certain secular Jewish groups. However, during the second half of the 20th century its decline was accelerated outside of certain Haredi groups.

General Studies

Several books present a general description of various aspects of the Yiddish language and its dialects, addressing topics from both synchronic and diachronic linguistic perspectives. The scope of Birnbaum 1979 and Jacobs 2005 is similar enough. Yet, Jacobs—in contrast to Birnbaum—uses a more standard terminology and its descriptive methods fit international standards of this scholarly domain. For Yiddish studies, the main interest of both books consists in the description they provide of synchronic aspects of Eastern Yiddish and its subdialects.

  • Birnbaum, Solomon. 1979. Yiddish: A survey and a grammar. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

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    The author, Solomon (Salomo) Birnbaum (b. 1891–d. 1989) filled the first worldwide Yiddish chair (Hamburg University, 1922–1933) and was among the pioneers in the domain of scholarly Yiddish studies. The book provides the description of topics he studied during his life: history and age of Yiddish, elements of Yiddish, “spontaneous development” (innovations internal to Yiddish), and dialects, script and sounds, morphology, and syntax (based on the Yiddish dialect of Poland).

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    • Jacobs, Neil G. 2005. Yiddish: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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      A comprehensive up-to-date and detailed description of various linguistic aspects of Yiddish. Includes sections on the history of the language, dialectology, phonology, morphology, syntax, and sociolinguistics. The description of Yiddish grammar is mainly focused on Standard Yiddish though the author also regularly provides useful information concerning the dialectal peculiarities of various Eastern Yiddish dialects.

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      Textbooks

      A number of available textbooks are complementary to each other. Weinreich 1949 and Zucker 1994–2002 correspond to different stages for this category of works. Katz 1987 can be particularly useful for linguists. Zaretski 1926 and Mark 1978 stay apart because they are entirely written in Yiddish.

      Journals

      The earliest periodicals focused on Yiddish linguistics and philology started during the 1920s in eastern Europe (Yidishe filologye, Filologishe shriftn, and Di yidishe shprakh). During the second half of the 20th century, New York became the center for publications of this kind (Yidishe shprakh and YIVO bleter). All articles of the periodicals in question are written in Eastern Yiddish.

      • Di yidishe shprakh. Kiev, USSR: Kultur-Lige.

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        A bimonthly journal mainly dedicated to building the Soviet norm of literary Yiddish, published in 1927–1930 and succeeded by sporadically published collections of articles under the title Afn shprakhfront (last issue in 1939).

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        • Filologishe shriftn. Vilna, Lithuania: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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          The three volumes of this journal of Yiddish philology were published in 1926, 1928, and 1929.

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          • Yidishe filologye. Warsaw, Poland: Kultur-Lige.

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            A bimonthly journal of Yiddish philology published in 1924.

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            • Yidishe shprakh. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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              A total thirty-nine volumes of this popular Yiddish linguistic journal have been published between 1941 and 2013.

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              • YIVO bleter. Vilnius, Lithuania, and New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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                Started in 1931 in Vilnius, publications of this linguistic journal continued after the transfer of the YIVO Institute in 1940 to New York until 1980. Succeeded by YIVO bleter: Naye serye (1991–2003).

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                Bibliographies

                Weinreich and Weinreich 1959 is the first representative list of works focused on Yiddish. Both Bratkowsky 1988 and Bunis and Sunshine 1994 have been written to supplement its linguistic portion.

                • Bratkowsky, Joan G. 1988. Yiddish linguistics: A multilingual bibliography. New York: Garland.

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                  Lists more than two thousand entries, including textbooks, dictionaries, and journal articles written in various languages. All entries are classified into the following topics: History of Yiddish, Dialectology, Interaction of Yiddish with Other Languages, Onomastics, Stylistics, Semiotics, History of Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics, and Applied Linguistics.

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                  • Bunis, David M., and Andrew Sunshine, eds. 1994. Yiddish linguistics: A classified bilingual index to Yiddish serials and collections, 1913–1958. New York: Garland.

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                    Index of the articles of linguistic concern that appeared in the Yiddish-language serials and collective volumes published in eastern Europe and the United States between 1913 and 1958. Entries appear in Yiddish and English translation. The index is classified by linguistic topic. Includes the list of Yiddish words studied.

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                    • Weinreich, Uriel, and Beatrice Weinreich. 1959. Yiddish language and folklore: A selective bibliography for research. The Hague: Mouton.

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                      Concise bibliography listing main studies about the Yiddish language published before 1959.

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                      Dictionaries and Lexicons

                      Eastern and Standard Yiddish

                      The tradition of bilingual dictionaries started with Lifshits 1869 and Lifshits 1876. These books were important sources for Harkavy 1928, which, in turn, remained for decades the standard Yiddish-English dictionary until the publication of Weinreich 1968. Niborski and Vaisbrot 2002 became the reference book for bilingual dictionaries, providing translations of Standard Yiddish words. Several other more recent publications (including Beinfeld and Bochner 2013) take as their starting point the Yiddish part of this work and provide translations into languages other than French. Schaechter-Viswanath and Glasser 2016 is the most comprehensive dictionary giving the translation from English. It uses, partly, both the methodology and the information of Shapiro 1989. Several works do not cover the Yiddish lexicon in its totality. Joffe and Mark 1961–1980 contains information only about words starting with the letter aleph. Niborski 2012 addresses only words of Hebrew-Aramaic origin. Stutchkoff 1950 provides a comprehensive thesaurus of Yiddish.

                      • Beinfeld, Solon, and Harry Bochner. 2013. Comprehensive Yiddish-English dictionary. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                        The best Yiddish dictionary for the English-speaking user. Directly based on Niborski and Vaisbrot 2002.

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                        • Harkavy, Alexander. 1928. Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary. 4th ed. New York: YIVO.

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                          Reprinted in 1988. Before the publication of Beinfeld and Bochner 2013, this classical dictionary suggested the broadest lexical coverage of Yiddish spoken and written during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Includes a number of Americanisms used by Yiddish speakers in the United States. Today, it remains useful because it describes numerous archaic lexical realities.

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                          • Joffe, Judah A., and Yudel Mark. 1961–1980. Groyser verterbukh fun der yidisher shprakh. 4 vols. New York: Komitet farn Groysn Verterbukh fun der Yidisher Shprakh.

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                            Covers all Yiddish words starting with the letter aleph and—because of Yiddish graphic conventions—thus a large majority of Yiddish words whose first sound is a vowel. Moreover, numerous Yiddish verbal prefixes also start with that letter. For covered words, their usage and etymology are provided. Entirely in Yiddish.

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                            • Lifshits, Yehoyshue-Mordkhe. 1869. Rusish-yidisher verter bukh. Zhitomir, Russia.

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                              Russian-Yiddish dictionary. The earliest published bilingual dictionary with translation to Eastern Yiddish. Mainly based on the Ukrainian subdialect of Eastern Yiddish.

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                              • Lifshits, Yehoyshue-Mordkhe. 1876. Yidish-rusisher verter bukh. Zhitomir, Russia.

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                                The Yiddish-Russian dictionary, a companion book to Lifshits 1869. The earliest published bilingual dictionary with translation from Eastern Yiddish.

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                                • Niborski, Yitskhok. 2012. Verterbukh fun loshn-koydesh-shtamike verter in yidish. Paris: Bibliothèque Medem.

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                                  Enlarged edition of the book initially published in 1999. The new edition was prepared with the assistance by Simon Neuberg, Eliezer Niborski, and Natalia Krynicka. By far, the richest collection of Yiddish words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin, with pronunciation, semantic explanations provided using Yiddish words of other (mainly German) origins, plurals, and sample sentences. Entirely in Yiddish.

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                                  • Niborski, Yitskhok, and Bernard Vaisbrot. 2002. Dictionnaire yiddish-français. Paris: Bibliothèque Medem.

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                                    This comprehensive Yiddish-French dictionary includes 37,000 Yiddish entries with examples of usage and idioms. Compiled with a high rigor of scholarship, this book is characterized by a particular lexical richness. It puts together elements appearing in Yiddish dictionaries published earlier as well as numerous additional lexical units found in Yiddish literature (19th–20th centuries).

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                                    • Schaechter-Viswanath, Gitl, and Paul Glasser, eds. 2016. Comprehensive English-Yiddish dictionary. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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                                      Contains nearly 50,000 entries. Based on the lexical research of Mordkhe Schaechter. Numerous terms of contemporary life are covered, including numerous neologisms invented by Schaechter. Yet, the authors systematically avoid words of New High German origin. As a result, in some of its aspects the dictionary represents neither the actual language of the secular Yiddish literature nor the modern word usage by religious Yiddish speakers.

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                                      • Shapiro, Moisej, eds. 1989. Russko-evrejskij (idish) slovar’. 2d ed. Moscow: Russkij Jazyk.

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                                        Russian-Yiddish dictionary, an exemplary work for those providing translation to Yiddish from another language. Covers about 40,000 words, includes multiple phraseological elements and describes numerous grammatical features.

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                                        • Stutchkoff, Nahum. 1950. Der oytser fun der yidisher shprakh. New York: YIVO.

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                                          A monumental Yiddish thesaurus. Arranged thematically, with a useful (though partial) index of words mentioned. (A searchable version—transliterated following the YIVO norms by Simon (Shimen) Neuberg and Raphael Finkel—is available online.) For every concept, provides a series of synonyms indicating corresponding language registers, geographic areas (for example, the USSR or the United States), related verbs, and sayings.

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                                          • Weinreich, Uriel. 1968. Modern English-Yiddish Yiddish-English dictionary. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research/McGraw-Hill.

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                                            The first Yiddish dictionary whose structure corresponded to international standards established by linguistic scholars for bilingual dictionaries. Today, it remains useful mainly because of its bidirectional format and the coverage of most commonly used words.

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                                            Yiddish in Western and Central Europe, 19th–20th Centuries

                                            A number of publications deal with the lexicon of Yiddish dialects from western and Central Europe. In contrast to speakers of Eastern Yiddish, the speakers of these varieties lived in areas where the Christian majority used on an everyday basis such Germanic idioms as various German dialects or Dutch. As a result, the lexicons in question do not cover the whole vocabularies of the corresponding Yiddish dialects, but only the lexical and semantic elements that were peculiar to the local Jewish idioms only, being absent from the vernacular Christian dialects used by local Christians. A large majority of these lexical items are of Hebrew or Aramaic origins, though some correspond to words with High German (and a few Romance or Slavic) roots. The exact areas covered are: Alsace (Weiss 1896, Weill 1921, and Zivy 1966, complementary to each other), Switzerland (Guggenheim-Grünberg 1976), northwestern Germany (Weinberg 1969), and the Netherlands (Beem 1959 and Beem 1967). The information present in Stern 2000 about the Yiddish loanwords in German is also of interest for studies of Western Yiddish.

                                            • Beem, Hartog. 1959. Jerŏsche: Jiddische spreekwoorden en zegswijzen uit het Nederlandse taalgebied. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum–Prakke.

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                                              A lexicon of specifically Jewish words found in the Yiddish dialect spoken in the Netherlands, mainly in the city of Amsterdam, with examples of usage, and a brief linguistic description of that dialect.

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                                              • Beem, Hartog. 1967. Resten van een taal. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum–Prakke.

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                                                Contains information complementary to that present in Beem 1959.

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                                                • Guggenheim-Grünberg, Florence. 1976. Wörterbuch zu Surbtaler Jiddisch. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Volkskunde der Juden in der Schweiz 11. Zürich: Juris.

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                                                  A collection of specifically Jewish words used in the 20th century by the rural Jews who lived in the Surbtal valley (canton of Aargau, Switzerland).

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                                                  • Stern, Heidi. 2000. Wörterbuch zum jiddischen Lehnwortschatz in den deutschen Dialekten. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

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                                                    Although not directly dedicated to Yiddish, this dictionary provides a rich collection of loanwords from Western Yiddish into local German dialects from different periods.

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                                                    • Weill, Emmanuel. 1921. Le Yidisch Alsacien-Lorrain. Paris: Durlacher.

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                                                      Mainly a lexicon of the Hebrew and Aramaic elements present in the Yiddish dialect of Alsace. Useful only from the lexical and semantic points of view. Yet, the pronunciation given is mainly normative rather than vernacular. Also includes a small separate list of specifically Jewish words of non-Semitic origin.

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                                                      • Weinberg, Werner. 1969. Die Reste des Jüdischdeutschen. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

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                                                        Covers the specific Jewish lexical repertoire of the speech of Jews who lived in Westphalia during the first half of the 20th century. Properly speaking, this collection is not Yiddish: for Jews who used them, their vernacular language was German. Yet, numerous elements of this repertoire are inherited from the former Yiddish dialect of that area.

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                                                        • Weiss, Carl Theodor. 1896. Das Elsässer Judendeutsch. Jahrbuch für Geschichte, Sprache und Litteratur Elsass-Lothringens 12:121–182.

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                                                          Provides a useful introduction into the lexicon of the Yiddish dialect of Alsace.

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                                                          • Zivy, Arthur. 1966. Jüdisch-deutsche Sprichwörter und Redensarten. Basel, Switzerland: Victor Goldschmidt.

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                                                            A rich indexed collection of proverbs and idioms peculiar to the Alsatian dialect of Yiddish. Includes numerous specifically Jewish lexical and semantic elements.

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                                                            Yiddish in Western and Central Europe before the 19th Century

                                                            During the 16th to 18th centuries, a number of lexicons (Levita 1542 for western Europe, Friedrich 1784 and Hanover 1660, both for Central Europe) and concordances (Asher Anshel 1534, Sertels 1604–1605, and Sertels 1604, all from Central Europe) have been published that presented lexical peculiarities of the Yiddish dialects native for their authors and/or their printers. Early multilingual dictionaries and glossaries usually avoid using Yiddish words of Hebrew origin because their principal aim was to provide the translation from Hebrew to Yiddish.

                                                            • Asher Anshel. c. 1534. Mirkevet ha-mishne (Second Chariot). Cracow, Poland.

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                                                              Concordance of about 13,000 biblical words, sorted by Hebrew roots, with their translation into a dialect of Yiddish typical for Central Europe. The exact identity of the rabbi who compiled it is uncertain. The earliest known printed book whose whole content is related to Yiddish. The whole text of this book, along with its German translation and index of words, was published as: Mircev̄ess hamischne des Rabbi Anschel: Krakau um 1534 (Hamburg: Helmut Buske, 2017).

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                                                              • Friedrich, Carl Wilhelm. 1784. Unterricht in der Judensprache und Schrift. Prenzlau, Prussia: Ragoczy.

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                                                                A bilingual German-Yiddish dictionary arranged alphabetically. Includes numerous specifically Jewish words found in the Yiddish dialect spoken in eastern German territories and, more particularly, East Prussia. In the text that precedes the dictionary, the author, a Jewish convert to Christianity, provides a linguistic description of his native dialect and suggests the first classification of Yiddish dialects known in the history of Yiddish studies.

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                                                                • Hanover, Nathan Nota ben Moses. 1660. Safa berura (Pure Speech). Prague.

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                                                                  A quadrilingual Hebrew-Yiddish-Italian-Latin lexicon arranged by semantic fields. The author came to Prague from Ukraine in the mid-17th century. He also lived in northern Italy. The Yiddish dialect covered by this book was peculiar to Central Europe.

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                                                                  • Levita, Elia. 1542. Shemot devarim // Nomenclatura hebraica. Isny.

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                                                                    A Western Yiddish-Hebrew lexicon to which the Christian editor, Paul Fagius, added two additional columns showing the German and Latin equivalents of the words listed.

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                                                                    • Sertels, Moses ben Issachar. 1604. Lekaḥ tov. Prague.

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                                                                      A concordance of words found in the biblical books of Prophets and the hagiography, with their translation into Yiddish. Translated as “Good doctrine.”

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                                                                      • Sertels, Moses ben Issachar. 1604–1605. Be’er Moshe. Prague.

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                                                                        A concordance of biblical words found in Torah and Megillot, with their translation into Yiddish. Translated as “Well of Moses.”

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                                                                        Atlases

                                                                        Information about Yiddish in western Europe and Central Europe found, on the one hand, in Beranek 1965 and Guggenheim-Grünberg 1973 (written sources) and, on the other hand, in Herzog, et al. 1992–2000 is partly complementary because it corresponds to different time periods. For eastern Europe, the pioneering study Vilenkin 1931 is now of historical interest only because its information was superseded by that present in Herzog, et al. 1992–2000, with a larger geographic and thematic coverage and a more empirical method of gathering information.

                                                                        • Beranek, Franz. 1965. Westjiddischer Sprachatlas. Marburg, Germany: N. G. Elwert.

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                                                                          A collection of a hundred maps showing isoglosses corresponding to phonetic, lexical, or morphological criteria. Mainly covers Yiddish dialects in western Europe and Central Europe. The author does not indicate the sources he used to prepare this atlas and the exact time period concerned. Yet, as it can be seen from the information due to other authors, the maps present in this book provide rather accurately information about the 19th–20th centuries.

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                                                                          • Guggenheim-Grünberg, Florence. 1973. Jiddisch auf alemannischem Sprachgebiet. Zürich: Juris.

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                                                                            A collection of fifty-six maps. Information is due, partly, to several informants who lived in Switzerland during the period from 1950 to 1970, partly based on published texts from western Europe (19th–20th centuries). Includes a few amendments for maps present in Beranek 1965.

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                                                                            • Herzog, Marvin, Vera Bariskar, and Andrew Sunshine, eds. 1992–2000. The language and culture atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. 3 vols. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

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                                                                              Vol. 1, Historical and Theoretical Foundations (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1992); Vol. 2, Research Tools (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 1995); Vol. 3, The Western Yiddish–Eastern Yiddish Continuum (Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer, 2000). Volumes 1 and 3 include a collection of several hundred maps showing isoglosses separating Yiddish varieties according to phonetic, lexical, and morphological criteria. All data present are based on post–World War II interviews with hundreds of informants from various parts of Europe, a project initiated by Uriel Weinreich. Invaluable resource tool for the linguistic analysis of Yiddish in Europe on the eve of World War II.

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                                                                              • Vilenkin, Leyzer, ed. 1931. Yidisher shprakhatlas fun sovetn-farband. Fonetik. Minsk, USSR.

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                                                                                A Yiddish language atlas of the Soviet Union (eastern Ukraine and eastern Belorussia) with seventy-five maps showing isoglosses that follow phonetic criteria (sixty-five vocalic and ten consonantal). Based on postcard questionnaires prepared, distributed, and analyzed by Mordkhe Veynger.

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                                                                                Collections of Linguistic Articles

                                                                                Two series of books present collections of articles that deal almost exclusively with topics important for Yiddish linguistics: (1) The Field of Yiddish volumes (Weinreich 1954; Weinreich 1965; Herzog, et al. 1969; Herzog 1980; and Goldberg 1993), and (2) publications by Pergamon Press at the end of the 1980s (Katz 1987 and Katz 1988). Some of the articles in question include synchronic descriptions, others deal with diachronic analysis. The articles from these collections that provide a major contribution to the field are listed separately in the corresponding parts of this annotated bibliography. Aptroot and Hansen 2014 addresses theoretical questions concerning the past and the present of the language.

                                                                                History of Yiddish Studies

                                                                                In the history of Yiddish studies, one can distinguish several periods. During the first period that lasted until the end of the 19th century, various authors who addressed the vernacular language of the Ashkenazi Jews usually considered it to represent a “corrupted” form of German. Frakes 2007 and Weinreich 1993 deal with that period. Frakes 1989 and Kerler 1991 mainly cover studies written during the 20th century.

                                                                                • Frakes, Jerold C. 1989. Politics of interpretation: Alterity and ideology in old Yiddish studies. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press.

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                                                                                  An ideologically biased description of the approaches to the study of early Ashkenazi texts that characterize two groups of authors: (1) those who primarily describe Yiddish from the point of view internal to Jewish languages in general and Yiddish in particular, and (2) Germanists. Contains absurd accusations against the representatives of the second group.

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                                                                                  • Frakes, Jerold C., ed. 2007. The cultural study of Yiddish in early modern Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                                                                                    Presents texts, in their original form and English translation, written about Yiddish during the 16th to the 18th centuries by Christian authors. The authors usually adhere to the tradition of Christian Humanism. Among writers who are the most important for the history of Yiddish studies are Paulus Fagius, Elias Schadäus, Johann Buxtorf, and Johann Christof Wagenseil.

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                                                                                    • Kerler, Dov-Ber, ed. 1991. History of Yiddish studies: Papers from the Third Annual Oxford Winter Symposium in Yiddish Language and Literature, 13–15 December 1987. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood.

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                                                                                      Certain articles in this collection provide biographies of scholars who studied Yiddish during the 20th century. Other articles describe the history of Yiddish studies in various geographic areas.

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                                                                                      • Weinreich, Max. 1993. Geschichte der jiddischen Sprachforschung. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

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                                                                                        A reprint of the author’s PhD dissertation (University of Marburg, 1923). Discusses the main results obtained by various major Christian and Jewish authors who addressed various aspects of the Yiddish language in the 16th to the 19th centuries, including Elia Levita, Paulus Fagius, Elias Schadäus, Johann Buxtorf, Nathan Note Hanover, Johann Christof Wagenseil, Callenberg, Chrysander, Carl Wilhelm Friedrich, and Avé-Lallemant, among others.

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                                                                                        Descriptions of Modern Yiddish and Its Dialects

                                                                                        The works containing the most detailed description of Standard Yiddish can be found under General Studies and Textbooks. Other books deal either with only one particular dialect or with only one language system (namely, morphology, syntax, or phonetics).

                                                                                        Descriptions of Eastern Yiddish

                                                                                        Şăineanu 1889 and Gerzon 1902 provide the earliest linguistic descriptions of particular dialects of Eastern Yiddish. Weinreich 1923 covers the dialect of Courland and Mark 1951 that of Lithuania.

                                                                                        • Gerzon, Jacob. 1902. Die jüdischdeutsche Sprache: Eine grammatischlexikalische Untersuchung ihres deutschen Grundbestandes. Cologne: S. Salm.

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                                                                                          By analyzing the German component of Yiddish spoken in Belorussia, Gerzon extracts a set of its lexical idiosyncrasies that was later extensively used by other scholars.

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                                                                                          • Mark, Yudel. 1951. Undzer litvisher yidish. In Lite. Vol. 1. Edited by Mendel Sudarsky, Uriah Katzenelenbogen, and J. Kissin, 429–472. New York: Kulturgezelshaft fun litvishe yidn.

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                                                                                            A detailed description of the Lithuanian dialect of Eastern Yiddish and its subdialects.

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                                                                                            • Şăineanu, Lazăr. 1889. Studiu dialectologic asupra graiuliu evreo-german. Bucharest, Romania: E. Wiegand.

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                                                                                              This paper (whose translation to French was published in 1902) is focused on the Yiddish dialect spoken in Romania. It is of particular interest from the point of view of the history of Yiddish studies being the first publication in which Yiddish is said to be derived from (southern) German dialects instead of considering Yiddish to be a kind of “corrupted German,” as was the view of many of the predecessors of this author.

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                                                                                              • Weinreich, Max. 1923. Dos kurlender yidish. In Shtaplen Fir etyudn tsu der yidisher shprakhvisnshaft un literaturgeshikhte. By Max Weinreich, 193–240. Berlin: Vostok.

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                                                                                                Contains a detailed description of the Yiddish dialect of Courland.

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                                                                                                Morphology and Syntax

                                                                                                Wolf 1969 describes the dialectal variation of the grammatical case and noun gender. Albright 2008 and Albright 2010 deal with particular theoretical questions concerning the morphology of Standard Yiddish. Lowenstamm 1977, Waletzky 1980, Diesing 1990, Diesing 2003, Prince 1989, and Prince 1993 address particular theoretical issues from the domain of the Yiddish syntax.

                                                                                                • Albright, Adam. 2008. Inflectional paradigms have bases too: Evidence from Yiddish. In Inflectional identity. Edited by Asaf Bachrach and Andrew Nevins, 271–312. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                  A detailed analysis of the loss of the final devoicing in the Eastern Yiddish dialects that served as the basis for Standard Yiddish, with conclusions showing the importance of the study of Yiddish for the general morphology.

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                                                                                                  • Albright, Adam. 2010. Base-driven leveling in Yiddish verb paradigms. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 28.3: 475–537.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1007/s11049-010-9107-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    A detailed analysis of Standard (Eastern) Yiddish present tense verb paradigms, with a comparison made to German dialects (including Middle and High German) and conclusions showing the importance of the study of Yiddish for the general morphology.

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                                                                                                    • Diesing, Molly. 1990. Verb movement and the subject position in Yiddish. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 8.1: 41–79.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF00205531Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      An account of verb movement in Yiddish, with a comparison to German.

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                                                                                                      • Diesing, Molly. 2003. On the nature of multiple fronting in Yiddish. In Multiple fronting. Edited by Cedric Boeckx and Kleanthes K. Grohmann, 51–76. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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                                                                                                        An analysis of issues of superiority and landing sites in multiple wh-fronting in Yiddish. Takes into consideration different developments in the three main subdialects of Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                        • Lowenstamm, Jean. 1977. Relative clauses in Yiddish: A case for movement. Linguistic Analysis 3:197–216.

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                                                                                                          An analysis of a series of complications found in the relative clauses present in Yiddish.

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                                                                                                          • Prince, Ellen F. 1989. Yiddish Wh-clauses, subject postposing, and topicalization. In ESCOL ’88: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Linguistics; Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 30–October 2, 1988. Edited by Joyce Powers and Ken de Jong, 403–415. Columbus, OH: Ohio State Univ Press.

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                                                                                                            A description of several syntactic phenomena in Yiddish, including the differences between indirect questions and relative clauses.

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                                                                                                            • Prince, Ellen F. 1993. On the discourse functions of syntactic form in Yiddish: Expletive es and subject postposing. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Fifth collection. Edited by David Goldberg, 59–86. Evanston, IL: Northwestern Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                              An investigation of the discourse functions of a particular sentence type in Yiddish.

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                                                                                                              • Waletzky, Joshua. 1980. Topicalization in Yiddish. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Fourth collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, 237–315. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.

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                                                                                                                A detailed description of the topicalization phenomena in the Yiddish syntax.

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                                                                                                                • Wolf, Meyer. 1969. The geography of Yiddish case and gender variation. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 102–215. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  A detailed description of the geography of Yiddish variations in gender of nouns and grammatical case.

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                                                                                                                  Phonology and Phonetics

                                                                                                                  Prilutski 1917 deals with one part of phonetics. Herzog 1965 and Herzog 1969 are based on the materials that later were published as Herzog, et al. 1992–2000 (cited under Atlases). Both these texts are not purely descriptive. They also contain attempts to relate the observed dialectal features to the history of the Jewish settlement in the areas under analysis.

                                                                                                                  • Herzog, Marvin I. 1965. The Yiddish language in northern Poland: Its geography and history. Bloomington: Indiana Univ Press.

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                                                                                                                    A detailed analysis of various (primarily, phonological) features of Yiddish spoken in northeastern Poland on the eve of World War II, with numerous maps and tables. Data presented are of particular importance because a large part of the area covered corresponds to the transitional zones between major subdialects of Eastern Yiddish. The book also includes a series of theoretical schemes for the development of Proto-Eastern Yiddish stressed vowels.

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                                                                                                                    • Herzog, Marvin I. 1969. Yiddish in the Ukraine: Isoglosses and historical inferences. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 58–81. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Includes maps and their discussion for a number of vocalic features of Yiddish in Ukraine during the first half of the 20th century.

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                                                                                                                      • Prilutski, Noyekh. 1917. Der yidisher konsonantizm: Band I; Di sonorloyten. Warsaw: Nayer Farlag.

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                                                                                                                        A comprehensive description of dialectal variations in pronunciation of sonorants of Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                        Descriptions of Yiddish in Western and Central Europe

                                                                                                                        Several studies cover Yiddish dialects used in the 18th to the 20th centuries in the following regions: Switzerland (Fleischer 2005), Prague (Schnitzler 1966), Franconia (Beranek 1961), Germany (Lowenstein 1969), and Alsace (Zuckerman 1969). The last two articles are based on materials that later were published as Herzog, et al. 1992–2000 (cited under Atlases). Their authors personally participated in the preparation of the atlas in question.

                                                                                                                        • Beranek, Franz J. 1961. Die fränkische Landschaft des Jiddischen. Jahrbuch für Fränkische Landesforschung 21:267–303.

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                                                                                                                          An analysis of the phonology of the dialect of Yiddish of Eastern Franconia based on texts published in that area during the 19th century and the early 20th century.

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                                                                                                                          • Fleischer, Jürg. 2005. Westjiddisch in der Schweiz und Südwestdeutschland. Beihefte zum Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry 4. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1515/9783110935523Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Presents transcription of recordings of the Yiddish speech made in the mid-20th century in Switzerland and the linguistic analysis of the subdialect of Western Yiddish concerned.

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                                                                                                                            • Lowenstein, Steven M. 1969. Results of atlas investigations among Jews of Germany. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 16–35. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Maps and their discussion for a number of features of Yiddish in Germany during the first half of the 20th century.

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                                                                                                                              • Schnitzler, Leopold. 1966. Prager Judendeutsch: Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung des älteren Prager Judendeutsch in lautlicher und insbesondere in lexikalischer Beziehung. Gräfelfing, Germany: E. Gans.

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                                                                                                                                A printed version of an unpublished PhD dissertation (Prague University, 1922). Provides analysis of various language systems of the Yiddish dialect of Prague: phonology, morphology, and specific lexicon. Based on written sources (mainly from the 18th century).

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                                                                                                                                • Zuckerman, Richard. 1969. Alsace: An outpost of Western Yiddish. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 36–57. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  An analysis of the phonology of the Yiddish dialect spoken in Alsace in the mid-20th century, with a comparison to the German dialect spoken in the same region.

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                                                                                                                                  Yiddish Used by Ultra-Orthodox Jews

                                                                                                                                  After the emigration of their ancestors from eastern Europe, several groups of Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews developed during the 20th century Yiddish dialects with numerous linguistic peculiarities. Jochnowitz 1968, Krogh 2012, and Assouline 2014 analyze certain features of the vernacular speech of various Haredi groups.

                                                                                                                                  • Assouline, Dalit. 2014. Language change in a bilingual community: The preposition far in Israeli Haredi Yiddish. In Yiddish language structures. Edited by Marion Aptroot and Björn Hansen, 39–61. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

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                                                                                                                                    Exploration of the use of the preposition far- ‘for’ to mark the indirect object in the Yiddish dialects spoken by Haredi Jews in Israel.

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                                                                                                                                    • Jochnowitz, George. 1968. Bilingualism and dialect mixture among Lubavitcher Hasidic children. American Speech 43.3: 182–200.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/454463Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      An analysis of the use of a number of phonological, morphological, and lexical dialectal peculiarities by a group of followers of the Lubavitcher Hasidic dynasty in the United States. The article also addresses a number of sociolinguistic topics. A pioneering study of the linguistic features of Yiddish spoken in our times by groups of the Haredi Jews.

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                                                                                                                                      • Krogh, Steffen. 2012. How Satmarish is Haredi Satmar Yiddish. In Leket: Jiddistik heute/Yiddish studies today. Edited by Marion Aptroot, Efrat Gal-Ed, Roland Gruschka, and Simon Neuberg, 483–506. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                        A consideration of phonemic features and analysis of three grammatical peculiarities of the Yiddish dialect spoken by today’s followers of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty in the United States, with a comparison to the corresponding features valid during the first half of the 20th century for the Yiddish dialect of the area in Hungary from which the dynasty in question originated.

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                                                                                                                                        Linguistic History of Yiddish

                                                                                                                                        The modern scholarship in which the comparison is done not to the standardized written German but to German dialects was initiated at the turn of the 20th century in Şăineanu 1889 (cited under Descriptions of Eastern Yiddish), Landau 1901 (cited under Linguistic Analysis of Early Ashkenazi Sources), Landau and Wachstein 1911 (cited under Linguistic History of Yiddish: Primary Sources), Gerzon 1902 (cited under Descriptions of Eastern Yiddish), and Sapir 1916 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Phonology and Phonetics). The authors of these works founded the scholarly Germanistic approach to the history of Yiddish. Bin-Nun 1973 (written in the 1930s; cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) was the most brilliant achievement of this school. During the next period, the authors of Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish), Birnbaum 1979 (cited under General Studies), and other works—including Weinreich 1958, Weinreich 1963 (both cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Phonology and Phonetics), Herzog 1965, Herzog 1969 (both cited under Descriptions of Eastern Yiddish: Phonology and Phonetics), Katz 1982, Katz 1985, Katz 1991, Katz 1993 (cited under History of Various Components of Yiddish: Hebrew-Aramaic Component), Katz 1993 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Phonology and Phonetics), and Katz 1990 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology)—created a new approach in Yiddish studies that can be conventionally called the secular nationalistic school. The authors in question pay particular attention to the internal development in Yiddish and to the place of Yiddish in the noninterrupted chain of languages spoken at various times in various Jewish communities. During the last decades, an: approach that aims to synthesize the Germanistic and the secular nationalistic schools characterizes such studies as Timm 1987 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish), Timm 2005 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology), and Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish).

                                                                                                                                        Primary Sources

                                                                                                                                        Scientifically prepared publications of early sources written in the German-based Ashkenazi vernacular are of paramount importance for the history of Yiddish. Landau and Wachstein 1911 is one of the earliest examples of this kind. In addition to the original text, it also includes its analysis. The glossary appearing in Fuks 1965 makes it particularly useful. In this domain, a real breakthrough was achieved during the last twenty-five years principally due to the efforts of scholars from Trier University: Walter Röll, Erika Timm, and their colleagues and/or pupils (see Brünnel, et al. 1996; Timm 1977; Timm 1996; and especially Röll 2002). Numerous studies appeared in the series Jidische Schtudies published by the printing house Helmut Buske (Hamburg). The scholars from that group were active in producing scientifically prepared publications of numerous early sources and the compilation of their indexes and glossaries. Moreover, they regularly apply a particularly judicious method of phonetic transcription of these texts using Latin characters. On the one hand, this method allows reconstructing the original Hebrew-alphabet text without ambiguities. On the other hand, it shows the pronunciation of this text conjectured by the editors on the basis of their linguistic analysis.

                                                                                                                                        • Brünnel, Gabriele, Maria Fuchs, and Walter Röll, eds. 1996. Die >Hiob<-Paraphrase des Avroham ben Schemuel Pikartei. Jidische Schtudies. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprache und Literatur der aschkenasischen Juden 6. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                          The original text and a phonetic transcription of the paraphrase of the biblical book of Job written in 1577 in the neighborhood of Frankfurt. Contains the discussion of the language and the index of all words present, with a separate subset of those of Hebrew origin.

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                                                                                                                                          • Frakes, Jerold C., ed. 2004. Early Yiddish texts, 1100–1750. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                            This book does not include linguistic analysis. Still, it is of major importance for Yiddish linguistics. It contains a rich and a particularly representative collection of early texts written by Ashkenazi Jews in their vernacular language (biblical glosses and translations; letters; poems; legal documents; ethical, moral, and medical studies, etc.). It also presents a comprehensive bibliography of studies and previous publications of the same texts.

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                                                                                                                                            • Fuks, Leo, ed. 1965. Das altjiddische Epos Melokîm-Bûk. 2 vols. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum-Prakke.

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                                                                                                                                              A facsimile of the printed edition of 1543 (Augsburg) of the Book of Kings, generally called Melokhim-bukh in Yiddish philology, to which a glossary was added by the editor.

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                                                                                                                                              • Landau, Alfred, and Bernhard Wachstein, eds. 1911. Jüdische Privatbriefe aus dem Jahre 1619. Vienna: W. Braumüller.

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                                                                                                                                                A collection of letters sent by Jews from Prague to Vienna in 1619, with an analysis of the language of these letters provided by Landau.

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                                                                                                                                                • Röll, Walter, ed. 2002. Die jiddischen Glossen des 14.–16. Jahrhunderts zum Buch Hiob in Handschriftenabdruck und Transkription. Teil 1, Einleitung und Register; Teil 2, Edition. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

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                                                                                                                                                  Presents glosses for the biblical book of Job appearing in eleven early Ashkenazi sources (14th–17th centuries). Contains a description and the basic linguistic analysis of these sources, the index of all words, with a series of subsets (words of Hebrew origin, with direct equivalents in Standard Yiddish, unknown in German, Middle High German, and New German equivalents). Extraordinary source for a comparative analysis of linguistic features of early Yiddish dialects.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Timm, Erika. 1977. Jüddische Sprachmaterialien aus dem Jahre 1290: Die Glossen des Berner kleinen Aruch; Edition und Kommentar. In Frägen des älteren Jiddisch: Kolloquium in Trier 1976. Edited by Hermann-Josef Müller and Walter Röll, 16–34. Trier, Germany: Universität Trier.

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                                                                                                                                                    An analysis of 318 Germanic glosses present in the Hebrew-Aramaic dictionary compiled in the Cologne area in 1290. The author of the dictionary states that these glosses are written in “our language.”

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                                                                                                                                                    • Timm, Erika, ed. 1996. Paris und Wiene. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

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                                                                                                                                                      This publication of Western Yiddish chivalric verse romance composed in Italy during the 16th century includes the phonetic transcription of the whole text and several glossaries.

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                                                                                                                                                      Linguistic Analysis of Early Ashkenazi Sources

                                                                                                                                                      A number of scholarly studies analyze linguistic aspects of early sources written in the German-based Ashkenazi vernacular/Yiddish, without providing the texts of the sources in question. Landau 1901 is one of the earliest examples. Timm 1985 deals with the oldest Ashkenazi glosses. Heide 1974 and Heide 1977 provide information useful for understanding the phonology and the orthography of a group of early Ashkenazi sources. Neuberg 1999, Timm and Gehlen 1996, and Simon 1988 take particular sources as the basis for a more general discussion, going well beyond the sources in question.

                                                                                                                                                      • Heide, Manfred Gernot. 1974. Graphematisch-phonematische Untersuchungen zum Altjiddischen. Der Vokalismus. Bern, Switzerland: Herbert Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                        Contains detailed information concerning vowels useful for the analysis of the orthography and the phonology of six early Ashkenazic texts (14th–16th centuries). The conclusions made by the author about the links of the idioms of these sources to various German dialects are to be taken with caution.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Heide, Manfred Gernot. 1977. Die h-Graphen in älteren Jiddisch. In Frägen des älteren Jiddisch: Kolloquium in Trier 1976. Edited by Hermann-Josef Müller and Walter Röll, 4–15. Trier, Germany: Universität Trier.

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                                                                                                                                                          Contains detailed information concerning /h/ and /x/ useful for the analysis of the orthography and the phonology of eight early Ashkenazic texts (14th–16th centuries).

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                                                                                                                                                          • Landau, Alfred. 1901. Der Sprache der Memoiren Glückels von Hameln. Mitteilungen der Geselschaft für jüdische Volkskunde 7:20–67.

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                                                                                                                                                            Introduces scholarly principles for a comparative analysis between Yiddish and German dialects. Based on the text of memoirs by Glückel (Glikl) of Hameln written in Hamburg at the turn of the 18th century.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Neuberg, Simon. 1999. Pragmatische Aspekte der jiddischen Sprachgeschichte am Beispiel der Zenerene. Jidische Schtudies. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprache und Literatur der aschkenasischen Juden 7. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                              Discusses various linguistic aspects of Tsenerene, a popular paraphrase of the whole Bible (start of the 17th century). The most innovative ideas concern the genders of Yiddish words and the origin of the Yiddish verbs ending in –enen.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Simon, Bettina. 1988. Jiddische Sprachgeschichte: Versuch einer neuen Grundlegung. Frankfurt: Athenäum.

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                                                                                                                                                                Contains a rather naive description of Yiddish history and the analysis of Shmuel-bukh, a Western Yiddish epic poem (first printed in 1544) and Memoirs of Aaron Isaak, in its original version (compiled c. 1800) and its translation to Eastern Yiddish. The author concludes, using untenable arguments, that Western Yiddish is not a separate language but rather a Jewish version of German, independent of Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Timm, Erika. 1985. Zur Frage der Echtheit von Raschis jiddischen Glossen. Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 107:45–81.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Contains adequate linguistic arguments showing that the German glosses found in the commentary by Rashi (11th century) were not introduced by other authors, who lived centuries after Rashi.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Timm, Erika, and Liliane Gehlen. 1996. Halashon be Paris un’ Viena. In Paris un’ Viena. Edited by Chone Shmeruk, 303–320. Jerusalem: Publications of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Discusses numerous aspects of the language of a Western Yiddish chivalric verse romance composed in Italy during the 16th century. The article appears in the book with the original text of this romance. Its phonetic transcription can be found in Timm 1996 (cited under Linguistic History of Yiddish: Primary Sources).

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                                                                                                                                                                    General Works about the History of Yiddish

                                                                                                                                                                    Mieses 1924 represents the first, rather amateurish, attempt to describe the general history of Yiddish. From the point of view of scholarship, the quality of Bin-Nun 1973 (written during the 1930s) is significantly better though some ideas of Mieses that find proponents even among certain contemporary linguists (Eggers 1998 is one of the studies that reuses them). Even today no consensus exists among linguists concerning several major aspects of the history of Yiddish, including the age of this language, its geographic “cradle,” the classification of Yiddish dialects based on their linguistic past, the status of Proto-Yiddish (a hypothetical Jewish language, the ancestor of all modern Yiddish varieties), links to German dialects, and links between modern Yiddish dialects and the idioms in which early Ashkenazi sources are written. The answers given to these questions in Weinreich 1973 and Beider 2015 differ dramatically. This difference is partly explained by the synthesis in Beider 2015 of important contributions made in this field after 1973, among which are numerous innovative ideas scattered in various publications by Dovid Katz (primarily, Katz 1990 [cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology], Katz 1982, Katz 1991, Katz 1985, Katz 1993 [all cited under History of Various Components of Yiddish: Hebrew-Aramaic Component], and Katz 1993 [cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Phonology and Phonetics]) and Erika Timm (primarily, Timm 1987 [cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish] and Timm 2005 [cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology]), as well as in Manaster Ramer 1997. Another major difference is ideological. Max Weinreich (b. 1894–d. 1969) was the founder of the secular nationalistic school in Yiddish studies that focused attention on the noninterrupted chain of Jewish languages. Beider mainly follows an approach typical of Germanistics. Finally, one part of the differences is rather terminological: not the same definitions used for such notions and “Yiddish,” “birth (of a language),” and different criteria applied to classify dialects. Weinreich’s approach is mainly sociolinguistic and one part of the definitions he uses is related to that. Beider 2015 focuses on substantial issues explored from the point of view of the Language Tree approach of historical linguistics. All general works address not only the history of Yiddish, but also important elements of the Ashkenazi settlement history that can be unraveled using linguistic arguments. The theory about the genesis of Yiddish proposed by Katz (compare its popular description in one chapter of Katz 2004) differs significantly from the ideas of both Weinreich 1973 and Beider 2015.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Beider, Alexander. 2015. Origins of Yiddish dialects. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739319.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Provides a comparative analysis of several hundred linguistic features (mainly phonological and, to a lesser extent, morphological) of modern Yiddish dialects, dialects in which various early Ashkenazi sources were written, and medieval German dialects, in order to establish the genetic relationship between them. Suggests chronological schemes of the development of Yiddish vowels. Shows the existence of French and Czech lexical substrata in Western and Eastern Yiddish, respectively.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Bin-Nun, Jechiel. 1973. Jiddisch und die deutschen Mundarten: Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des ostgalizischen Jiddisch. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1515/9783110930269Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        The first, historical, part of this study was published (under the original surname Fischer) as a PhD dissertation (University of Heidelberg, 1936). It includes a useful description of various stages of the development of Yiddish. The second part, also prepared during the 1930s in Nazi Germany, provides a detailed phonetic analysis of German, Hebrew, and Slavic components of modern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Eggers, Eckhard. 1998. Sprachwandel und Sprachmischung im Jiddischen. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses a number of linguistic grammatical, morphological, and phonological phenomena peculiar to the German component of Eastern Yiddish and comes to a conclusion that Yiddish was born during the 12th–13th centuries in the area that encompasses Bavaria and Bohemia. Also discusses lexical peculiarities in the Slavic component of Eastern Yiddish and shows that they are mainly of Czech origin.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Katz, Dovid. 2004. Words on fire: The unfinished story of Yiddish. New York: Basic Books.

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                                                                                                                                                                            A popular presentation of various aspects of the history of Yiddish, from its inception to the present, written primarily for a nonlinguistic audience. Also addresses the possible future of the language. Covers numerous sociolinguistic aspects of the history of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Manaster Ramer, Alexis. 1997. The polygenesis of Western Yiddish and the monogenesis of Yiddish. In Indo-European, Nostratic, and beyond: Festschrift for Vitalij V. Shevoroshkin. Journal of Indo-European Studies 22. Edited by Irén Hegedus, Peter A. Michalove, and Alexis Manaster Ramer, 206–232. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of Man.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Provides arguments showing that the oldest dialect division within Yiddish was not between “Western Yiddish” and “Eastern Yiddish” (defined according to the vocalic criteria standard in Yiddish studies) but rather along or west of the Elbe River, that is, internally to the territory of “Western Yiddish.” Also contains a wide list of lexical, semantic, phonological, morphological, and phraseological pan-Yiddish features unknown in other languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Mieses, Matthias. 1924. Die jiddische Sprache: Eine historische Grammatik des Idioms der integralen Juden Osten- und Mitteleuropas. Berlin: B. Harz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Suggests that the German component of the Yiddish dialect of Poland contains a large number of Upper German (mainly Bavarian) features and a small number of East Central and Low German features, with no influence of West Central German. Numerous ideas exposed appear to be rather amateurish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Weinreich, Max. 1973. Geshikhte fun der yidisher shprakh. 4 vols. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  An encyclopedic-scale history of Yiddish covering numerous aspects concerning the inception and the development of this language. Provides a general frame for other studies in the domain. Introduces numerous fundamental concepts and tools. The book includes the most comprehensive description of the history of Yiddish from cultural and sociolinguistic perspectives. The total volume of endnotes present in this posthumous work is similar to that of the main text. English translation available: History of the Yiddish Language, 2 vols. (New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 2008).

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                                                                                                                                                                                  History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish

                                                                                                                                                                                  A number of published studies address the historical aspects only of specific systems of the Yiddish language such as phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax, lexicon, or semantics. Timm 1987 covers both phonology and orthography.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Timm, Erika. 1987. Graphische und phonische Struktur des Westjiddischen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeit um 1600. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1515/9783110931860Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    A fundamental study of the historical orthography and phonology of Yiddish based on detailed analysis of a representative sample of sources compiled in western Europe or Central Europe during the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century. Also discusses a number of pan-Yiddish linguistic peculiarities and the links between the settlement history of Jews in western and Central Europe and the development of Yiddish dialects in these territories.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Historical Phonology and Phonetics

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sapir 1916 represents the first scholarly study of the Yiddish phonology addressing its historical sources. Birnbaum 1981 and Weinreich 1963 focus on the historical development of several phonemes, while Leibel 1965 provides an explanation for the stress position in words of the Hebrew component. Weinreich 1958 initiated a series of studies aimed to establish the Proto-Yiddish vocalism. This pioneering work was followed by Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish; the book contains a chapter on this topic the first variant of which was published in 1960), Herzog 1965 (cited under Descriptions of Eastern Yiddish: Phonology and Phonetics), Jacobs 1990, and Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish). The results found in Katz 1993 and Jacobs 1993, though formally dealing with the Hebrew component, are also important for the general historical phonology of Eastern Yiddish as a whole. The author of Timm 1987 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish) established a new approach to the historical phonology: the one based on a meticulous analysis of early Yiddish texts. Kleine 2008 contains a historical overview of Yiddish phonology and also presents an acoustic analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Birnbaum, Salomo A. 1981. Zur Geschichte der u-Laute im Jiddischen. In Sonderheft Jiddisch. Beiträge zur Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft. By Salomo A. Birnbaum, 4–42. Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie 100. Berlin: Schmidt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Amended translation of the original article written in 1934 in Yiddish. Addresses the chronology of the graphic rendering and phonetic realization of a series of phonemes, such as /u/, /u:/, /ü/, etc., in the vernacular idiom of Ashkenazi Jews in various parts of Europe. A rather accurate description of various Jewish sources is complemented by inappropriate chronological extrapolations based on inadequate extralinguistic arguments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Jacobs, Neil G. 1990. Economy in Yiddish vocalism: A study in the interplay of Hebrew and non-Hebrew components. Mediterranean Language and Culture Monograph 7. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Contains a series of schemes shedding light on the historical phonology of Yiddish, with a detailed discussion of the phonetic shifts of stressed vowels in various dialects and the rules that determined the stress position.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jacobs, Neil. 1993. On pre-Yiddish standardization of quantity. Diachronica 10.2: 191–214. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1075/dia.10.2.03jacSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          Contains a number of ideas complementing the analysis present in Jacobs 1990 and Katz 1993 and allowing a more precise reconstruction of the phonology of the Hebrew component of Yiddish at the moment of the inception of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Katz, Dovid. 1993. The phonology of Ashkenazic. In Hebrew in Ashkenaz: Language in exile. Edited by Lewis Glinert, 46–87. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Proposes a scheme reconstructing the stressed vocalism of the Hebrew-Aramaic component of Yiddish at the moment of the inception of Yiddish. Analyzes the relative chronology of a number of phonological phenomena peculiar to the Ashkenazi Hebrew underlying the Hebrew component of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kleine, Ane. 2008. Phonetik des Jiddischen: Historische Aspekte und akustische Analysen. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              A monograph on the historical phonetics of Standard Yiddish supported by an acoustic analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Leibel, Daniel. 1965. On Ashkenazic stress. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Second collection. Edited by Uriel Weinreich, 63–72. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Analyzes the stress position in Yiddish words of Hebrew or Aramaic origin and suggests a series of rules that determine that position.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sapir, Edward. 1916. Notes on Judeo-German phonology. Jewish Quarterly Review 6:231–266.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/1451367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first scholarly description of phonetic features of Eastern Yiddish (and, more precisely, the Lithuanian dialect) in comparison to Middle High German (stressed and unstressed vowels, consonants). Certain basic morphological and lexical peculiarities of Yiddish in comparison to Middle High German are also addressed.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Weinreich, Uriel. 1958. A retrograde sound shift in the guise of a survival: An aspect of Yiddish vowel development. In Miscelánea homenaje a André Martinet: Estructuralismo e historia II. Edited by Diego Catalán, 221–267. La Laguna, Spain: Biblioteca Filológica.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Introduces schemes conjecturing phases in the historical development of the systems of stressed vowels in subdialects of Eastern Yiddish. Proposes a scenario according to which Yiddish subdialects in Poland, Ukraine, and Bessarabia have the same ancestor belonging to a branch different from that to which belongs Yiddish in Lithuania and Belorussia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Weinreich, Uriel. 1963. Four riddles in bilingual dialectology. In American contributions to the Fifth International Congress of Slavists: Sophia, September 1963. Vol. 1, Linguistic contributions. Edited by International Congress of Slavists, 335–359. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Analyzes the inception of four phonological peculiarities of subdialects of Eastern Yiddish: (1) the loss of the rule of the final devoicing of consonants in Ukraine, Belorussia, and Lithuania, (2) the loss in the same area of the vowel quantity, (3) the loss of the phonemic character of /h/ in Ukraine, and (4) the merger of hissing and hushing sibilants in Lithuanian Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Historical Morphology and Syntax

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The historical aspects of Yiddish grammar are studied less deeply than those of Yiddish phonology. Santorini 1992 and Santorini 1993 deal with the syntax, while Chang 2001 and Krogh 2007 treat the morphology. A number of historical aspects of Yiddish morphology are also addressed in Timm 2005 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology) and Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Chang, Shoou-Huey. 2001. Der Rückgang des synthetischen Präteritums im Jiddischen kontrastiv zum Deutschen. Jidische Schtudies. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprache und Literatur der aschkenasischen Juden 9. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A detailed historical study, with numerous statistical tables, of the use and the gradual disappearing of preterite in Yiddish documents compiled in western Europe and Central Europe.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Krogh, Steffen. 2007. Zur Diachronie der nominalen Pluralbildung im Ostjiddischen. In Beiträge zur Morphologie: Germanisch, Baltisch, Ostseefinnisch. Edited by Hans Fix, 259–285. Odense, Denmark: Syddansk Universitetsforlag.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Describes historical phases of the development of the plural forms in Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Santorini, Beatrice. 1992. Variation and change in Yiddish subordinate clause word order. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 10.4: 595–640.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/BF00133331Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A detailed historical study—with statistical figures provided by the analysis of Yiddish sources compiled from the 16th century onward—of the inception of one idiosyncrasy of the Yiddish syntax unusual in Germanic languages: the inflected verb representing the second overt constituent not only in root clauses, but also in formally subordinate clauses.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Santorini, Beatrice. 1993. The rate of phrase structure change in the history of Yiddish. Language Variation and Change 5.3: 257–283.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0954394500001502Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A detailed historical study—with statistical figures provided by analysis of Yiddish sources compiled from the 15th century onward—of the position of inflected verbs in Yiddish texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Historical Semantics and Etymology

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Timm 2005 represents a fundamental contribution to the domain of the historical semantics of Yiddish. Katz 1990 provides an important insight into the development of Yiddish lexigraphy, while Timm and Beckmann 2006 focuses on the etymology of certain Yiddish words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Katz, Dovid. 1990. Di eltere yidishe leksikografye: Mekoyres un metodn. In Oksforder Yidish: A Yearbook of Yiddish studies. Vol. 1. Edited by Dovid Katz, 161–232. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Covers a number of important aspects of the historical development of Yiddish lexicography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Timm, Erika. 2005. Historische jiddische Semantik: Die Bibelübersetzungssprache als Faktor der Auseinanderentwicklung des jiddischen und des deutschen Wortschatzes. Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783110945034Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A major study of pan-Yiddish semantic and lexical peculiarities showing that translations of the biblical text into Yiddish extensively studied by boys in Jewish elementary schools represent the main channel through which these peculiarities as well as a few morphologic idiosyncrasies became widespread in Ashkenazi communities. Conclusions are based on a meticulous analysis of dozens of early sources written in the vernacular idioms of Ashkenazi Jews.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Timm, Erika, and Gustav Adolf Beckmann. 2006. Etymologische Studien zum Jiddischen. Jidische Schtudies. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sprache und Literatur der aschkenasischen Juden 13. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Includes a detailed analysis of the etymology for a set of Yiddish words.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    History of Various Components of Yiddish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) considers Yiddish to contain four linguistic components: Hebrew, “Loez” (Romance), German, and Slavic. The largest chapter of his study (called “Linguistic Determinants”) specifically describes in detail these components, one by one. He also postulates that Yiddish was born in the Rhineland as a fusion idiom in which Hebrew-Aramaic, Romance (from northern France and Italy), and various German dialects from western Germany became mixed. On the other hand, for Weinreich, all elements of Slavic origin are adstratal for Yiddish. During the decades that followed the publication of his magnum opus, a number of his basic positions have been challenged. During the 1980s and 1990s several linguists contributed to the development of the so-called Danube hypothesis of the origins of Yiddish. They note that modern Yiddish and the German dialects spoken in the Rhineland have virtually have no common characteristics, while a certain number of similarities are found between Yiddish and the Bavarian dialect of German. Numerous positions by Katz are important for a better understanding of the development of the Hebrew component of Yiddish. The authors from the same group also indicate the absence of a Romance component in Yiddish, considering a few lexical Romanisms to be adstratal for Yiddish. Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) provides additional details concerning the development of the Hebrew component (with a synthesis of the ideas of Weinreich and Katz) and Romance elements (mainly Old French, partly substratal for Western Yiddish, but without any structural influence on its development), suggests the substratal character for Eastern Yiddish of certain Old Czech lexical items, and reassesses the inception of the German component. An attempt to explain numerous elements in the German and the Hebrew components as resulting from a relexification (Wexler 2002) does not fit scientific norms that are standard to historical linguistics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wexler, Paul. 2002. Two-tiered relexification in Yiddish: Jews, Sorbs, Khazars and the Kiev-Polessian dialect. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/9783110898736Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A detailed study (that better fits the genre of historical fantasy than historical linguistics) about Yiddish resulting from the relexification to German or Hebrew of the originally Slavic vocabulary of the vernacular languages of two independent population groups of pagan converts to Judaism: (1) West Slavic Sorbs in Central Europe and (2) Khazars in eastern Europe (who shifted from a Turkic idiom to a Kiev-Polessian East Slavic dialect).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      German Component

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) states that in the German component of Yiddish we can observe a mixture of various High German dialects. Yet, he points to the medieval Rhineland as the “cradle” of Yiddish. Faber and King 1984 and King 1993 were important for the development of the Danube hypothesis of the inception of Yiddish. Manaster Ramer and Wolf 1996 shows that some elements of this hypothesis are oversimplified. Blosen 1986 compares Western Yiddish and Eastern Yiddish to German dialects in order to establish the sources for Yiddish dialects. Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) shows that, according to analysis of the system-level elements of German origin, modern Eastern and Western Yiddish have different German dialects as their basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Blosen, Hans. 1986. Teilweise unorthodoxe Überlegungen zu einigen Problemen des Jiddischen. In Sandbjerg 85: Dem Andenken von Heinrich Bach gewidmet. Edited by Friedhelm Debus and Ernst Dittmer, 161–187. Neumünster, Germany: Karl Wachholtz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Taking into account the corresponding German dialectal geography for one morphological and six phonological features found in the German component of Yiddish, the author—focused on modern rather than medieval realizations—claims that Western Yiddish is based on the German dialect from the Frankfurt area, while Eastern Yiddish comes from the Silesian dialect of German.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Faber, Alice, and Robert D. King. 1984. Yiddish and the settlement history of Ashkenazic Jews. In Approaches to Judaism in medieval times. Vol. 2. Edited by David R. Blumenthal, 73–108. Chico, CA: Scholars Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Proposes a list of features shared by the German component of Eastern Yiddish with either Bavarian or East Central German and insists on the absence in Eastern Yiddish of features peculiar to the German dialects of the Rhineland. Proposes a scenario according to which the language of Jews from southeastern German-speaking provinces was particularly important for the formation of Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • King, Robert D. 1993. Early Yiddish vowel systems: A contribution by William G. Moulton to the debate on the origins of Yiddish. In The field of Yiddish; Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Fifth collection. Edited by David Goldberg, 87–98. Evanston, IL: Northwestern Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Proposes a list of features shared by Eastern Yiddish with either East Central German (three phonological) or Bavarian (seven phonological and two morphological) and concludes that Bavarian should be the foundation dialect for the German component of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Manaster Ramer, Alexis, and Meyer Wolf. 1996. Yiddish origins: The Austro-Bavarian problem. Folia Linguistica Historica 17.1–2: 193–209.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Demonstrates striking methodological drawbacks of the approach used in King 1993: numerous features considered by King to be Bavarian are actually also found in other High German dialects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hebrew-Aramaic Component

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Birnbaum 1922 represents the first scholarly study of the Yiddish elements of Hebrew or Aramaic origin. Mark 1958 sheds light on the inception of new Hebraisms in Yiddish. Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) provides ample details concerning the sources for the Hebrew elements in Yiddish showing passage from the Palestinian-like system of Hebrew pronunciation with five vowels (valid for medieval Rhenish Jews) to the Tiberian-like system, with seven vowels. Katz 1982, Katz 1985, Katz 1991, and Katz 1993 contain numerous innovative ideas concerning the same domain. Katz 1993 addresses the existence of two medieval groups of Ashkenazi Jews whose pronunciation of Hebrew was different. The study of this topic, important for the history of Yiddish, was initiated in Weinreich 1958. Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) provides additional details concerning the same topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Birnbaum, Salomo. 1922. Das hebraïsche und aramaïsche Element in der jiddischen Sprache. Kirchhain, Germany: Zahn & Baendel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This important work created the basis for the scholarly approach to the study of Hebrew and Aramaic elements of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Katz, Dovid. 1982. Explorations in the history of the Semitic component in Yiddish. PhD diss., Univ. College, London.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Contains numerous innovative ideas concerning the Hebrew-Aramaic component of Yiddish that were largely published during the 1980s and 1990s in various articles by Katz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Katz, Dovid. 1985. Hebrew, Aramaic and the rise of Yiddish. In Readings in the sociology of Jewish languages. Edited by Joshua A. Fishman, 85–103. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Contains a series of cogent arguments for the continual oral transmission model of the use of (certain) Hebrew and/or Aramaic lexical elements in Yiddish rather than their borrowing from the sacred texts of Judaism. Also proposes a (speculative) scenario according to which Yiddish arose some 1,000 years ago when Aramaic-speaking Jews settled in German-speaking areas east of the Rhineland and their language merged with local German dialects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Katz, Dovid. 1991. Der semitisher kheylek in yidish: A yerushe fun kadmoynim In Oksforder Yidish: A yearbook of Yiddish studies. Vol. 2. Edited by Dovid Katz, 17–95. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Discusses the old age of numerous Hebrew and Aramaic lexical elements of Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Katz, Dovid. 1993. East and West, khes and shin and the origins of Yiddish. In Studies in Jewish culture in honour of Chone Shmeruk. Edited by Israel Bartal, Ezra Mendelsohn, and Chava Turniansky, 9–37. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Provides details concerning the difference between the pronunciation of Hebrew by two groups of medieval Ashkenazi Jews, the so-called Bney hes (from the Rhineland) and Bney khes (from the Danube area), stating that Yiddish is related to the vernacular language of Bney khes only.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mark, Yudel. 1958. Yidish-hebreishe un hebreish-yidishe nayshafungen. In Shmuel Niger Bukh. Edited by Shlomo Bickel and Leibush Lehrer, 124–157. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses words with Hebrew roots that result from innovations internal to Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Weinreich, Max. 1958. Bney hes un bney khes in ashkenaz: Di problem—un vos zi lozt undz hern. In Shmuel Niger bukh. Edited by Shlomo Bickel and Leibush Lehrer, 101–123. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The first scholarly discussion of two medieval Ashkenazi groups—Bney hes and Bney khes—whose pronunciation of Hebrew was different, with an attempt to establish the geographic borders between the two.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Slavic and Romance Elements

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) introduced the basis for the scholarly analysis of Romance and Slavic elements in Yiddish. Weinreich considered that the Romance (“Loez”) language, with lexical elements taken from Old French and Old Italian, was the vernacular language of medieval Rhenish Jews who created Yiddish. Timm 2005 (cited under History of Various Language Systems of Yiddish: Historical Semantics and Etymology) and Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) propose linguistic arguments showing that a large majority of the elements in question, either substratal or adstratal for Western Yiddish, are due to Old French only. Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) suggests the oldest Yiddish elements of Slavic origin to be of Old Czech origin and considers them to be adstratal to Yiddish. Beider 2015 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) discusses the possibility of these Old Czech elements being substratal for Eastern Yiddish. Wexler 1987 addresses from the point of view of Slavistics a number of topics important for the development of Yiddish. Yet, beginning with 1991, the same author started a series of publications aimed at providing a radical change of vision of the history of Yiddish in comparison to his predecessors. These works suggesting the Slavic origins of Yiddish (of which Wexler 2002 [cited under History of Various Components of Yiddish] represents the most detailed synthesis) can be simply ignored. They have no scholarly interest, containing as they do provocative theories supported by arguments that do not fit basic scientific standards established by contemporary historical linguistics. The author of Wexler 1992 uses a similar untenable method of searching superficial “parallels” between various idioms to address the origins of Romance lexical elements of Yiddish. The thesis about the Slavic substratum in Eastern Yiddish present in Geller 1999 is also highly controversial.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Geller, Ewa. 1999. Hidden Slavic structure in modern Yiddish. In Jiddische Philologie: Festschrift für Erika Timm. Edited by Walter Röll and Simon Neuberg, 65–89. Tübingen, Germany: Max Niemeyer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shows the existence of a set of similarities in the grammar of Eastern Yiddish and Slavic languages and suggests—without providing any historical corroboration for that thesis— that these features unravel the Slavic substratum of Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wexler, Paul. 1987. Explorations in Judeo-Slavic linguistics. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Explores potential traces (in Yiddish, Slavic languages, and Hebrew) of the idiom(s) of East Slavic- or Greek-speaking Jews who lived in the Middle Ages in eastern Europe.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wexler, Paul. 1992. The Balkan substratum of Yiddish. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An (unconvincing) attempt to show that Romanisms known in Yiddish cannot be of the French substratal origin being rather adstratal for Yiddish and coming from Italian or various Romance idioms of the Balkan area.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yiddish Onomastics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stankiewicz 1965 and Stankiewicz 1969 introduce scholarly standards in the discussion of onomastic issues concerning Yiddish. Beider 2001 and Beider 2008 are reference books for the domains of Ashkenazi given names and Jewish surnames from eastern Europe, respectively. Numerous Yiddish given names and place names are addressed in Weinreich 1973 and Beider 2015 (both cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish), the latter work including a series of special sections dealing exclusively with these topics. Analysis of Yiddish names (toponyms, given names, and—to a significantly lesser extent—surnames) can shed light on the history of Yiddish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Beider, Alexander. 2001. A dictionary of Ashkenazic given names: Their origins, structure, pronunciation and migrations. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Part 1 provides a detailed historical description of the morphological and phonological features of the traditional given names used by Ashkenazi Jews in various parts of Europe since the Middle Ages. Part 2 provides an etymological dictionary of 15,000 given names derived from 735 base forms, with, for every base form, schemes of derivation and phonetic variation and lists of references.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Beider, Alexander. 2008. A dictionary of Jewish surnames from the Russian Empire. 2d ed. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Part 1 provides a detailed description of the historical and morphological characteristics of surnames used in the 19th and 20th centuries by Jews in the territories of the Russian Empire. Part 2 provides an etymological dictionary of 75,000 surnames from these territories. The Russian Empire represents the only political entity where a large portion of Jewish surnames had etymons taken from local Yiddish dialects.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Stankiewicz, Edward. 1965. Yiddish place names in Poland. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Second collection. Edited by Uriel Weinreich, 158–181. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Analyzes the Eastern Yiddish toponyms in eastern Europe (mainly in Poland) that are different from the Slavic names for the same places.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Stankiewicz, Edward. 1969. Derivational pattern of Yiddish personal (given) names. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 267–283. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Describes stylistic levels and the morphologic structure of given names in Eastern Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sociolinguistic Approach to Yiddish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Weinreich 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) amply addresses the sociolinguistic questions concerning the history of Yiddish from the point of view of the secular nationalistic school of Yiddish studies initiated by the publication of Mieses 1915. A number of similar questions, with answers provided being dramatically different from those by Weinreich, are addressed from the point of view of Germanistics (and general historical linguistics) in Bin-Nun 1973 (cited under General Works about the History of Yiddish) and Süsskind 1953. Fishman 1981 and Fishman 1991 address Yiddish from the point of view of modern sociolinguistics. The results of Rayfield 1970 shed light on the development of Yiddish in bilingual communities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fishman, Joshua A., ed. 1981. Never say die! A thousand years of Yiddish in Jewish life and letters. The Hague: Mouton.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A large collection of English and Yiddish texts dealing with the sociolinguistics of Yiddish. Includes chapters dealing with (among others) such topics as: the attitude to Yiddish by Orthodox Jews or followers of modernization movements, formal Yiddish institutions (press, literature, theater, and schools), and sociolinguistic variation and planning. In his foreword, Fishman gives a detailed synthesis of the ideas proposed to cover these topics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Fishman, Joshua A. 1991. Yiddish: Turning to life. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1075/z.49Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Covers a number of basic sociolinguistic topics of the history of Yiddish such as its status internal to Ashkenazi communities and its relationship to Hebrew. Also describes the history of Yiddish in America.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mieses, Matthias. 1915. Die Entstehungsursache der jüdischen Dialekte. Vienna: R. Löwit.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A description of sociolinguistic factors that contributed to the creation of various Jewish languages, with numerous pages focused on Yiddish. The author claims the Jewish religion constituted the most important factor for the linguistic autonomy of Jews. This work had an important influence on the formation of the sociolinguistic concept of Yiddish history by Max Weinreich, who replaced Mieses’s “Jewish religion” with a broader concept of “Jewishness.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rayfield, Joan R. 1970. The languages of a bilingual community. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1515/9783110812886Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reports about a mostly bilingual Yiddish-English community in Los Angeles and discusses the influence of English on Yiddish and that of Yiddish on English in the community in question.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Süsskind [Ziskind], Nathan. 1953. Batrakhtungen vegn der geshikhte fun yidish. Yidishe shprakh 13.4: 97–108.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using mainly sociolinguistic arguments, the author insists on German constituting the vernacular of Ashkenazi Jews during the first centuries of the Second Millennium and describes a scenario of the inception of Yiddish as a separate language from the mid-14th century onward.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stylistics and Orthography of Literary Yiddish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yiddish stylistics as a separate discipline was initiated in Borokhov 1913. A comprehensive description of Yiddish stylistics can be found in Katz 1993. Schaechter 1969 and Kerler 1999 address the general history of the inception of literary Yiddish and its norms, while Estraykh 1999 analyzes processes peculiar to the USSR only. The standard modern literary Yiddish language is an offspring of Eastern Yiddish. Its current written norms (generally accepted today only in secular circles) were formalized during the first half of the 20th century at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (initially in Vilnius, later in New York). Its pronunciation is primarily based on Lithuanian Yiddish (Katz 1994, Schaechter 1999).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Borokhov, Ber. 1913. Di ufgabn fun der yidisher filologye. In Der pinkes: Yorbukh far der geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur un shprakh, far folklor, kritik un bibliografye. Edited by Shmuel Niger, 1–22. Vilna, Russia: Kletskin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A pioneering work in the domain of Yiddish stylistics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Estraykh, Gennady. 1999. Soviet Yiddish. language planning and linguistic development. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184799.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Describes extralinguistic processes in the USSR and their reflection in Yiddish used in works published in that country, including (among others) such topics as orthography and word-formation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Katz, Dovid. 1993. Tikney takones: Fragn fun yidisher stilistik. Oxford: Oksforder Yidish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A comprehensive analysis of stylistics of Yiddish literary language. The monograph covers such topics as word usage, orthography, philology, and language standardization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Katz, Dovid. 1994. Naye gilgulim fun alte makhloykesn: Di litvishe norme un di sikhsukhim vos arum ir. YIVO-bleter, naye serie 2:205–257.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Discusses the gradual establishment of Standard Yiddish, the normative variant of Eastern Yiddish, primarily based on the Yiddish dialects of Lithuania and Belorussia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Kerler, Dov-Ber. 1999. The origins of modern literary Yiddish. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Describes the historical development of norms peculiar to the literary (Eastern) Yiddish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Schaechter, Mordkhe. 1969. The “hidden standard”: a study of competing influences in standardization. In The field of Yiddish: Studies in Yiddish language, folklore, and literature; Third collection. Edited by Marvin I. Herzog, Wita Ravid, and Uriel Weinreich, 284–304. The Hague: Mouton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1515/9783111699509-012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An analysis of factors that influenced the crystallization of Standard Yiddish in the context of interdialectal variation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Schaechter, Mordkhe. 1999. Der eynheytlekher yidisher oysleyg. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The latest edition of the rules of Yiddish orthography developed by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The book also describes the history of the YIVO spelling system.

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