Yiddish

Yiddish
ייִדיש‎, יידיש‎ or אידישyidish/idish
Pronunciation[ˈjɪdɪʃ] or [ˈɪd ɪʃ]
Native toCentral, Eastern and Western Europe
RegionEurope, Israel, North America, other regions with Jewish populations[1]
EthnicityAshkenazi Jews
Native speakers
(1.5 million cited 1986–1991 + half undated)[1]
Hebrew alphabet (Yiddish orthography)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byNo formal bodies
YIVO de facto
Language codes
yi
yid
ISO 639-3yidinclusive code
Individual codes:
ydd – Eastern Yiddish
yih – Western Yiddish
yidd1255[2]
Linguasphere52-ACB-g = 52-ACB-ga (West) + 52-ACB-gb (East); totalling 11 varieties

Yiddish (ייִדיש, יידיש or אידיש, yidish/idish, lit. "Jewish", pronounced [ˈjɪdɪʃ] or [ˈɪdɪʃ]; in older sources ייִדיש-טײַטש Yidish-Taitsh, lit. Judaeo-German)[3] is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century[4] in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages.[5][6][7] Yiddish writing uses the Hebrew alphabet using a different orthography unique to Yiddish.

The earliest surviving references date from the 12th century and call the language לשון־אַשכּנז‎ (loshn-ashknaz, "language of Ashkenaz") or טײַטש‎ (taytsh), a variant of tiutsch, the contemporary name for Middle High German. Colloquially, the language is sometimes called מאַמע־לשון‎ (mame-loshn, lit. "mother tongue"), distinguishing it from לשון־קודש‎ (loshn koydesh, "holy tongue"), meaning Hebrew and Aramaic. The term "Yiddish", short for Yidish Taitsh ("Jewish German"), did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature until the 18th century. In the late 19th and into the 20th century the language was more commonly called "Jewish", especially in non-Jewish contexts,[clarification needed] but "Yiddish" is again the more common designation today.[citation needed]

Modern Yiddish has two major forms. Eastern Yiddish is far more common today. It includes Southeastern (Ukrainian–Romanian), Mideastern (Polish–Galician–Eastern Hungarian), and Northeastern (Lithuanian–Belarusian) dialects. Eastern Yiddish differs from Western both by its far greater size and by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin. Western Yiddish is divided into Southwestern (Swiss–Alsatian–Southern German), Midwestern (Central German), and Northwestern (Netherlandic–Northern German) dialects. Yiddish is used in a number of Haredi Jewish communities worldwide; it is the first language of the home, school, and in many social settings among many Haredi Jews, and is used in most Hasidic and some Lithuanian yeshivas.

The term "Yiddish" is also used in the adjectival sense, synonymously with "Jewish", to designate attributes of Yiddishkeit ("Ashkenazi culture"; for example, Yiddish cooking and "Yiddish music" - klezmer).[8]

Prior to the Holocaust, there were 11–13 million speakers of Yiddish among 17 million Jews worldwide.[9] 85% of the approximately 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust were Yiddish speakers,[10] leading to a massive decline in the use of the language. Assimilation following World War II and aliyah, immigration to Israel, further decreased the use of Yiddish both among survivors and among Yiddish-speakers from other countries (such as in the Americas). However, the number of speakers is increasing in Hasidic communities.

Origins

The established view is that, as with other Jewish languages, Jews speaking distinct languages learned new co-territorial vernaculars, which they then Judaized. In the case of Yiddish, this scenario sees it as emerging when speakers of Zarphatic (Judaeo-French) and other Judaeo-Romance languages began to acquire varieties of Middle High German, and from these groups the Ashkenazi community took shape.[11][12] Exactly what German base lies behind the earliest form of Yiddish is disputed.

In Max Weinreich's model, Jewish speakers of Old French or Old Italian who were literate in either liturgical Hebrew or Aramaic, or both, migrated through Southern Europe to settle in the Rhine Valley in an area known as Lotharingia (later known in Yiddish as Loter) extending over parts of Germany and France;[13] There, they encountered and were influenced by Jewish speakers of High German languages and several other German dialects. Both Weinreich and Solomon Birnbaum developed this model further in the mid-1950s.[14] In Weinreich's view, this Old Yiddish substrate later bifurcated into two distinct versions of the language, Western and Eastern Yiddish.[15] They retained the Semitic vocabulary and constructions needed for religious purposes and created a Judaeo-German form of speech, sometimes not accepted as a fully autonomous language.

Later linguistic research has finessed the Weinreich model or provided alternative approaches to the language's origins, with points of contention being the characterization of its Germanic base, the source of its Hebrew/Aramaic adstrata, and the means and location of this fusion. Some theorists argue that the fusion occurred with a Bavarian dialect base.[12][16] The two main candidates for the germinal matrix of Yiddish, the Rhineland and Bavaria, are not necessarily incompatible. There may have been parallel developments in the two regions, seeding the Western and Eastern dialects of Modern Yiddish. Dovid Katz proposes that Yiddish emerged from contact between speakers of High German and Aramaic-speaking Jews from the Middle East.[9] The lines of development proposed by the different theories do not necessarily rule out the others (at least not entirely); an article in The Forward argues that "in the end, a new 'standard theory' of Yiddish’s origins will probably be based on the work of Weinreich and his challengers alike."[17]

Paul Wexler proposed a model in 1991 that took Yiddish, by which he means primarily eastern Yiddish,[15] not to be genetically grounded in a Germanic language at all, but rather as "Judaeo-Sorbian" (a proposed West Slavic language) that had been relexified by High German.[12] In more recent work, Wexler has argued that Eastern Yiddish is unrelated genetically to Western Yiddish. Wexler's model has been met with little academic support, and strong critical challenges, especially among historical linguists.[12][15]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Jiddisj
Alemannisch: Jiddische Sprache
አማርኛ: ዪዲሽኛ
aragonés: Yídix
arpetan: Yidich·e
asturianu: Yiddish
azərbaycanca: İdiş dili
Bahasa Banjar: Bahasa Yiddish
Bân-lâm-gú: Yiddish-gí
башҡортса: Идиш
беларуская: Ідыш
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ідыш
български: Идиш
Boarisch: Jiddisch
brezhoneg: Yideg
català: Ídix
Чӑвашла: Идиш
čeština: Jidiš
dansk: Jiddisch
Deitsch: Yiddisch
Deutsch: Jiddisch
dolnoserbski: Jidišćina
Ελληνικά: Γίντις
español: Yidis
Esperanto: Jida lingvo
euskara: Yiddish
Fiji Hindi: Yiddish bhasa
føroyskt: Jiddiskt mál
français: Yiddish
Frysk: Jiddysk
Gaeilge: An Ghiúdais
Gaelg: Ewdish
Gàidhlig: Iùdais
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yiddish-ngî
한국어: 이디시어
հայերեն: Իդիշ
hornjoserbsce: Jidišćina
hrvatski: Jidiš
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Yiddi
interlingua: Lingua yiddish
Interlingue: Yiddic
íslenska: Jiddíska
italiano: Lingua yiddish
עברית: יידיש
ქართული: იდიში
қазақша: Идиш
kernowek: Yedhowek
коми: Идиш
Ladino: Idish
latviešu: Jidišs
lietuvių: Jidiš
Limburgs: Jiddisch
Lingua Franca Nova: Ides
magyar: Jiddis nyelv
македонски: Јидиш
Malagasy: Fiteny idisy
മലയാളം: യിദ്ദിഷ്
მარგალური: იდიში
مصرى: ييدى
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Yiddish
Nederlands: Jiddisch
Nedersaksies: Jiddisj
Nordfriisk: Jidisk
norsk: Jiddisch
norsk nynorsk: Jiddisch
occitan: Yiddish
олык марий: Идиш йылме
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Idish
پنجابی: یدش
Piemontèis: Yiddish
Plattdüütsch: Jiddisch
polski: Jidysz
português: Língua iídiche
qırımtatarca: Yidiş tili
română: Limba idiș
русский: Идиш
саха тыла: Идиш
shqip: Jidish
sicilianu: Lingua yiddish
Simple English: Yiddish
slovenčina: Jidiš
slovenščina: Jidiš
ślůnski: Jidisz
српски / srpski: Јидиш (језик)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jidiš
suomi: Jiddiš
svenska: Jiddisch
Tagalog: Wikang Yidis
Taqbaylit: Yidic
татарча/tatarça: Идиш теле
тоҷикӣ: Забони Идиш
Türkçe: Yidiş
українська: Їдиш
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Yiddish
ייִדיש: יידיש
粵語: 依地文
Zazaki: Yidişki
žemaitėška: Jėdėš kalba
中文: 意第緒語