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1 sffilk  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 6:50:08am

I was the first student back in 1973-74 to take and complete the then-brand-new Yiddish program at UCLA. Once I started speaking it a little at home my parents (who had used it as their “secret language”) stopped speaking in it. *sigh*

2 Vicious Babushka  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 6:51:53am

When we visited Amsterdam in November, Zedushka spoke Yiddish to everyone FTW! It’s similar enough to Dutch that everyone understood him and just assumed he was speaking some weird dialect.

3 Destro  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 7:27:59am

Yiddish greatly enriched the American English (and by extension the greater English language in general) vocabulary.

I literally can’t figure out how to say certain things without certain Yiddish words.

4 ThomasLite  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 9:16:07am

re: #2 Vicious Babushka

When we visited Amsterdam in November, Zedushka spoke Yiddish to everyone FTW! It’s similar enough to Dutch that everyone understood him and just assumed he was speaking some weird dialect.

Actually, the Dutch language itself, and the, let’s say, less formal older forms still prevalent in some larger inner cities (Amsterdam would be a good example, the Hague to a lesser extent, Rotterdam and Utrecht too) in particular, have lifted a lot of words and expressions straight from Yiddish without changing them much (though I believe the meaning of for example chutzpah [sic? - spelled ‘gotspe’ here] has changed quite a bit - it’s now taken to mean the offensive act or occurrence itself, rather than the courage (in a negative way, I take it?) leading up to that as I believe I’ve seen you and others around here, for example, use it) so I think it goes both ways - the western dialect (which is what was spoken in the larger cities and has become the officially standardized language by now) has a very significant Yiddish influence still quite evident in at least it’s less formal forms (that Yiddish will of course have been influenced by the areas in which it’s speakers resided seems obvious to me - unless I’m missing something).

5 Vicious Babushka  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 9:19:36am

re: #4 ThomasLite

Actually, the Dutch language itself, and the, let’s say, less formal older forms still prevalent in some larger inner cities (Amsterdam would be a good example, the Hague to a lesser extent, Rotterdam and Utrecht too) in particular, have lifted a lot of words and expressions straight from Yiddish without changing them much (though I believe the meaning of for example chutzpah [sic? - spelled ‘gotspe’ here] has changed quite a bit - it’s now taken to mean the offensive act or occurrence itself, rather than the courage (in a negative way, I take it?) leading up to that as I believe I’ve seen you and others around here, for example, use it) so I think it goes both ways - the western dialect (which is what was spoken in the larger cities and has become the officially standardized language by now) has a very significant Yiddish influence still quite evident in at least it’s less formal forms (that Yiddish will of course have been influenced by the areas in which it’s speakers resided seems obvious to me - unless I’m missing something).

The first Jews to settle in the Netherlands were Sephardim, from Spain and Portugal who spoke Ladino, which is based on Spanish the same way as Yiddish is based on German. The Yiddish-speaking Jews came later.

Yiddish is actually based on a form of Mittelhochdeutsch that both modern German and Yiddish have evolved from. Plattdeutsch (low German) is also much more similar to Yiddish than modern German.

6 ThomasLite  Mon, Jan 28, 2013 1:34:07pm

re: #5 Vicious Babushka

Would that Ladino speaking community have had much influence on either Yiddish or Dutch? I must admit this is the first I’ve heard about that particular language; some quick googling doesn’t give me the impression there’s much from that language that has found it’s way into modern germanic languages.
Would such communities mix back then, or were those distinctly separate groups?
“Yiddish is actually based on a form of Mittelhochdeutsch that both modern German and Yiddish have evolved from. Plattdeutsch (low German) is also much more similar to Yiddish than modern German.”
Actually, depending on who you ask I believe Plattdeutsch is often seen as more of a dialect of Dutch nowadays (they linguistic similarities are certainly there!) so I’m not surprised people would be able to figure it out in Amsterdam - they’d have taken you for some rather provincial farmers, in all likelyhood! (not generally a compliment, haha)


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