Yiddish, a Bisle of History


Yiddish words and expressions are so common now in daily talk….mench, shlep, kvetch and nudge….and how about “I have you in the bathtub”???? There is a rich legacy of music, theater. poetry and fiction in Yiddish and even the Bard was translated….when I was a child my father took me to see “King Lear and His Bad Daughters” in Yiddish…..rsk

Once upon a time, nearly a thousand years ago, there were people with no country of their own. From the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries, they were expelled from whatever European land they had settled. At times, they were unable to take all of their physical possessions with them, however they always took what was most important — their religious beliefs and their language. The people were the Jews, their religion was Judaism, and their language was Yiddish.

When Yiddish began

In the tenth century, Jews from France and Italy migrated to the German Rhine Valley, and Yiddish began in an Ashkenazi culture. The name came from the medieval Hebrew designation for the territory and Ashkenazim or Ashkenazi Jews were literally “German Jews.”

The term “Yiddish” comes from the German word for Jewish — Judisch — and to Germans; a Jew was “ein Yid.” Yiddish developed as a blend of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages. It was the lingua franca of Ashkenazi Jews.

By the late 1200s, Jews had created a language rooted in Jewish history that they used in their daily lives and when they conducted business among themselves. When they did business with Gentiles, Jews spoke the language of their countrymen.

Product Details

The Oy Way: Following the path of most resistance (Volume 1) by Harvey Gotliffe (Feb 7, 2012)


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