Why is Yiddish a Germanic language?

PLEASE NOTE: I had to mention a touchy subject in this discussion, I mean no offence to anyone. Please be respectful in the comments

Now that that's out of the way, here is the question. I know that in pre-holocaust Europe, there was a large Jewish population in Eastern Europe especially Slavic speaking countries such as Poland and Russia. But then, why did the Jews decide to speak a Germanic language? Wouldn't it make more sense if Yiddish was a Slavic language?

March 4, 2017


Because Yiddish evolved from various German dialects peppered with lots of Hebrew and few Slavic loanwords. The grammar and most function words are similar to German.

If you give it a listen: you should understand quite a bit (and almost everything if you're a native speaker of some German dialects).

March 4, 2017

Thank you for sharing that link. Many people share other Yiddish links, but sadly that's the ONLY video that I've seen online that actually speaks Yiddish spoken. Basically all other videos speak in YIVO, which isn't used besides in literature, which even us Chassidish yiddish speakers (like the one in the video) don't read or use, we write in our Yiddish. I don't see why Yivo is even so popular, because basically every Yiddish speaker you'd find is Chassidish Yiddish

March 4, 2017

Because it was derived in Germany. Azkhenazi Jews literally means German Jews.

March 4, 2017

"Azkhenazi Jews literally means German Jews."

That's not the case.

The Ashkenazi get their name from the Biblical character Ashkenaz, who was supposedly one of Noah's grandsons.

March 4, 2017

Still, sometime in the High Middle Ages, the area of what is now Germany came to be called "Eretz Ashkenaz". Although I have no clue why...

March 4, 2017

Because it's where the Ashkenazi lived- it means 'land of the Ashkenazi'.

March 5, 2017

The location being in Germany doesn't make it Germanic, but specifically its roots from within that linguistic branch

March 4, 2017

Yiddish doesn't exactly have a Slavic writing, so if they* had to put it into a category, it would be Germanic because that was where it originated.

Hope that helps!

*The word "they" is just a place holder. I myself don't really know who "they" actually is/are.

March 4, 2017
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