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Yiddish (ײִדיש / מאַמע לשון)

Yiddish is a Germanic language with about three million speakers, mainly Ashkenazic Jews, in the USA, Israel, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries. The name Yiddish is probably an abbreviated version of ייִדיש־טײַטש (yidish-taytsh), which means "Jewish German".

There have been Jews in area that is now Germany since Roman times. A distinct Jewish culture known as Ashkenazi, or Germanic Jewry, appeared by the 10th century. Ashkenaz was the medieval Hebrew name for Germany, though the Ashkenaz area also included parts of northern France and later spread to Eastern Europe.

The every-day language of the Ashkenazic Jews was Middle High German. They also used Hebrew and their German included Hebrew words and phrases. From the 13th century they started to use the Hebrew script to write their language, which linguists refer to as Judeo-German or occasionally Proto-Yiddish. The earliest known fragment of Judeo-German is a rhyming couplet in a Hebrew prayer book dating from 1272 or 1273.

During subsequent centuries, Judeo-German gradually developed into a distinct language, Yiddish, with two main dialects: Western Yiddish, which was widely spoken in Central Europe until the 18th century, and Eastern Yiddish, which was spoken throughout Eastern Europe and Russia/USSR until World War II. As a result of the Holocaust, Jewish communities throughout Europe were destroyed and the use of Yiddish as an every-day language went into sudden decline.

Yiddish alphabet and pronunciation (Alef-Beys / אַלף-בּית)

Yiddish alphabet and pronunciation

Source: https://www.yivo.org/yiddish-alphabet, with Yiddish script letter names from Michael Peter Füstumum

Notes

Sample text in Yiddish

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Yiddish

Transliteration

Yeder mentsh vert geboyrn fray un glaykh in koved un rekht. Yeder vert bashonkn mit farshtand un gevisn; yeder zol zikh firn mit a tsveytn in a gemit fun brudershaft.

Hear a recording of this text by Tobi Ash

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample video in Yiddish

Information about Yiddish | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

Links

Information about the Yiddish language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiddish
http://www.ibiblio.org/yiddish
http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il
http://www.usa-people-search.com/content-the-jewish-culture-and-the-yiddish-language.aspx

The Dora Teitelboim Center for Yiddish Culture
http://www.yiddishculture.org

Online Yiddish lessons
http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/a-shmek-yidish
http://www.yiddishpop.com
http://www.surfacelanguages.com/language/Yiddish
http://yiddishacademy.com

Yiddish alphabet with sound files
http://www.yivo.org/index.php?tid=57&aid=275

Online Yiddish dictionaries
http://www.yiddishdictionaryonline.com
http://www.ectaco.co.uk/English-Yiddish-Dictionary/
http://www.cs.uky.edu/~raphael/yiddish/dictionary.cgi
http://www.cs.uky.edu/~raphael/yiddish/harkavy/index.utf8.html
http://www.yiddishslangdictionary.com/
http://www.pass.to/glossary/Default.htm
http://yiddishculturaldictionary.org/

Yiddish words and phrases
http://www.linguanaut.com/english_yiddish.htm
http://www.sbjf.org/sbjco/schmaltz/yiddish_phrases.htm
http://kehillatisrael.net/docs/yiddish/yiddish_pr.htm

The Yiddish Voice - Yiddish radio station
http://www.yv.org

Lithuanian Yiddish Bible Translations
http://defendinghistory.com/lithuanian-yiddish-bible-translations

Free Hebrew fonts
http://babel.uoregon.edu/yamada/fonts/hebrew.html
http://www.breslov.com/hebrew

Jewish Language Research Website
http://www.jewish-languages.org

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, German, Gothic, Gottscheerish, Hunsrik, Icelandic, Limburgish, Low German, Luxembourgish, Mòcheno, Norn, North Frisian, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Ripuarian, Saterland Frisian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Stellingwarfs, Swedish, Swiss German, Värmlandic, West Frisian, Wymysorys, Yiddish, Zeelandic

Languages written with the Hebrew script

Aramaic, Bukhori, Domari, Hebrew, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Juhuri, Ladino, Yiddish, Yevanic


If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.

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