Language & linguistics news from around the world • Updated daily • Relevant stories, selected by humans (not computers)

Share this site!

Language: Yiddish

  • Mar 29, 2012
  • 01:11 PM

Yiddish translator preserves key piece of culture

Karen Vachon / Portland Daily Sun
Written in the Hebrew alphabet, Yiddish is still spoken and written in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world, though not by most of those in Portland. Stephen Simons, has launched a new enterprise helping those who don’t know Yiddish. He has begun a translation business to help Jews learn more about their Jewish family heritage.
  • Mar 18, 2012
  • 07:17 PM

Making sense of the language confusion (audio)

Julia Slater /
Switzerland is at the intersection of three major European cultures – German, French and Italian – and the only language it can truly call its own, Romansh, is spoken by less than 0.5 per cent of the population.
  • Mar 01, 2012
  • 03:08 PM

Something to kvetch about: Fewer speak Yiddish in South Florida

Georgia East / Sun Sentinel
In multicultural South Florida, where the number of foreign language speakers is rising, those speaking Yiddish is down dramatically in the last decade, according to the most recent census surveys. Also spoken less often at home is Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Thai and Greek. But their losses are dwarfed by Yiddish, which went from about 16,390 speakers in South Florida in 2000 to about 5,880 in 2010.
  • Feb 15, 2012
  • 03:27 PM

Land of the Rising Zun: Yiddish to Japanese Dictionary Has 28,000 Entries

Ross Perlin / The Forward
Sadan pegs the number of Japanese proficient in Yiddish at fewer than 20, though more have partial knowledge of the language. All, he says, are driven by “healthy intellectual curiosity and interest in traditional Ashkenazic culture, which, unlike modern Israeli culture, seems to have much in common with traditional Japanese culture.”
  • Dec 22, 2011
  • 06:14 PM

Gevalt! US college students lead surprise Yiddish revival

Experts estimate there are between 1 million and 2 million native Yiddish speakers in the world, but only about 500,000 speak it in the home — mostly orthodox Jews. When YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City began offering summer programs in Yiddish in 1968, they were the only such program in the world.
  • Dec 07, 2011
  • 11:27 AM

Yiddish classes to resume this coming spring

Rebecca Lurye / Diamondback Online
Students may not expect to study up on devil folklore and sexuality for a Yiddish course, but new university language instructor Agi Legutko is determined to revive the traditional Ashkenazi Jewish language on the campus in a new way.
  • Nov 17, 2011
  • 11:55 PM

Yiddish revival here to attract 2013 international conference

Toby Tabachnick / The Jewish Chronicle
...While many consider it to be a dying language, Yiddish is being preserved, not only by scholars in universities, but also by laymen such as Sol Toder. Toder, who runs the club in the South Hills, says the main purpose of the club is entertainment.
  • Aug 22, 2011
  • 01:36 PM

Yiddish a Mixed Bag at Jewish Schools Worldwide

Renee Ghert-Zand / Forward
For some Jewish day schools, there is no teaching Yiddishkeit without Yiddish. Buoyed by the Yiddish renaissance of the past two decades, which has produced an increased interest in university Yiddish programs, a renewed interest in Yiddish theater and even the advent of Yiddish heavy metal bands, these schools have held steadfast to their Yiddishist roots and missions.
  • Aug 01, 2011
  • 10:19 AM

Growing a Yiddish heritage

Fiona Gruber / The Australian
YOU may not realise, as you schmooze someone at a party or kvetch to them about a glitch, that you're speaking Yiddish. The language of the Jewish street has been around for at least a thousand years, and was the mother tongue - mameloshn - of millions of Jews across western and eastern Europe until World War II...
  • Jul 16, 2011
  • 02:08 AM

Lost voices, different lives

Brisbane Times
In the decades when Yiddish still flourished, the indigenous languages of Victoria were also dying. Australia is the Armageddon of languages: the devastation of mother tongues has been on a scale that may have no equivalent anywhere in the world.
  • Jun 11, 2011
  • 06:23 PM

Yiddish is music to Bialik teacher’s ears

Brenda Branswell / Montreal Gazette
MONTREAL - Yiddish has been called a dying language. But mention that to Lorna Smith and she starts talking about renewed interest in what was once the lingua franca of an estimated 11 million Jews just before the Second World War.
  • May 27, 2011
  • 12:01 AM

Fermisht but Not Fergotten

Philologos / Forward
...But let’s get back to Mr. Fidell’s intuition. The far- in a word like farklemt and the “for-“ in a word like “forget” are indeed connected, although less obviously than might appear at first glance.
  • May 12, 2011
  • 03:23 PM

Searching for Yiddish Land

Eli Wolfe / City on a Hill Press
In a small classroom hidden at the end of the hall on the first floor of UC Santa Cruz’s social sciences building, six students and their instructor struggle to say,“I like the weather today”in Yiddish. It sounds simple, but several students have already stumbled over the treacherous, paradoxical grammar.
  • Apr 06, 2011
  • 03:17 AM

Yiddish at the Expense of Education?

A. Lerer /
Many Crown Heights parents and institutions remain steadfast in their assertion to teach only in Yiddish. Sometimes, even at the expense of education. The Rebbe's opinion seems to be misunderstood by even some veteran educators, certainly by many of the parents advocating the only-Yiddish policy.