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[Article] How Much Polish Is There in Yiddish (and How Much Yiddish Is There in Polish)?

mwyaren
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I've noticed that whenever there is a mention of Yiddish in discussion someone asks what exactly this language is. Some time ago a link to this article popped up in my Facebook feed. It does not explain all the sources and influences that make up Yiddish, of course, but it gives an interesting peek into Polish/Slavic input.

For centuries, Yiddish was the language of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. Nowadays it is rarely spoken, but lives on in the texts of Yiddish literature and the minds of Yiddish scholars who have strived to analyze its complex composition.

This article is an introduction to Yiddish’s complicated linguistic relation with Slavic languages in general and with Polish in particular.

With its German grammatical structure and the bulk of its vocabulary coming from German, Yiddish is usually classified as a Germanic tongue. But being a ‘mixed’ language, Yiddish has also had a couple of other languages impacting its structure and vocabulary – the most important components being Hebrew and the Slavic languages. Among the latter Polish may have played a key role. Here’s how and why.

Read the full article.

2 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/.luisito

This is just a guess since I dont study any of those languages but I would assume both would have a few words between them. Keep in mind, however, that Yiddish is more related to the Germanic language family than to the Slavic

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mwyaren
mwyaren
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Keep in mind, however, that Yiddish is more related to the Germanic language family than to the Slavic

the author never said otherwise. but the article's focus is on the Slavic influence, so obviously the links to Germanic languages are not explored.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gizzard123
gizzard123
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Good article! Explains it all.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brina431719
Brina431719
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Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wendel1
wendel1Plus
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Well, I don't speak Yiddish... But I speak both German and Hebrew... And when I stumbe upon Yiddish I understand it without speaking Polish, so I'm quite sure it does't include much Polish.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/avrichard
avrichard
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Some of Jewish friends speak Yiddish at home with their elderly grandparents, and I can almost always understand pretty much all of it.

As a German speaker, Yiddish feels to me like about 80% is identical or at least close enough to German to understand without having to think too hard, then the other 20% is from Hebrew and various Slavic languages. But that's just my estimation, I don't have any real statistics.

2 years ago