Yiddish Course just added to the Incubator!
I hope this isn't some sort of test but I just found Yiddish in the Incubator today. It is set with course contributors and appeared on the main Incubator page. I was hopeful Yiddish would make it on to Duolingo someday but I didn't think we would see that day for years to come^^ Congrats Duo! I'm looking forward to the upcoming course.
What are you guys' thoughts and what do you think the flag should be? Since there is no country flag it is likely they would have to use a cultural flag. I think I remember seeing a flag with a golden menorah being used to represent the Yiddish Language. Here is a black version of the same flag.
Russian for English speakers and Ukrainian for English speakers are already in the incubator.
http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/ru/en/status has some information from Team Russian on plans to teach the Cyrillic alphabet via Duolingo. Maybe they will have advice for Team Yiddish, Team Ukrainian, and others in the future?
Good point about Vietnamese for English speakers. :) What have you heard about Hindi for English speakers? :)
The other English for speakers of Asian languages courses are for speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Hindi (as you pointed out), Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Turkish.
Of these languages, Indonesian uses the Latin alphabet. That's why my guess was that Indonesian would be Duolingo's next Asian language for English speakers.
Then again, it also depends on volunteers and for all I know Hindi for English speakers has more volunteers than Indonesian for English speakers. You probably know more about that than I do.
May I just please say that despite loving both Arabic and Hebrew I would actually be quite concerned if Hebrew came out before Arabic. This is because there is already an English for Arabic course but there is no Hebrew for English course. My advice to Duolingo: either release both these languages at around the same time or release Arabic first once it gets out of beta. This is just for the sake of civility and peace on the forums
Edit: Why all the downvotes?
Maybe I'm just a wide-eyed innocent, but I don't think the schedule for releasing new Duolingo courses is based on real-world politics at all. But yeah, I've read enough comments here to know that some people will be upset if THEIR target language isn't next out of the incubator. So I understand your concerns.
My advice to all of them is be patient and spread the word if you know someone qualified to volunteer as a moderator, etc.
That being said, I think it would be a great idea for some government or private organization that wants to promote tourism in a[n] [fill in the language]-speaking country to think about using some of their promotional dollars here - if that's possible.
Seeing the name of a company on the front of a football jersey really does nothing for me. I know I'd be far more likely to visit some of the beautiful places in the Middle East I've seen photos of if I spoke a few words of Arabic, for instance.
A little PR money would be well spent here, I think, to promote both tourism and a positive image abroad for any country or company in those countries.
Hebrew doesn't really need an Hebrew-to-English course: Many Hebrew speakers also speak English (as well as Levantine Arabic - or at least, afaik they're supposed to be learning it. But most people I know from Israel have had to learn English as well.) And the courses are released pending on how fast it takes for contributors to make the course with a certain degree of accuracy.
Arabic-to-English exists in beta already, and once out of beta English-to-Arabic should also start, but like Mandarin, Japanese, and multiple other courses, it's going to take a bit longer because the writing system doesn't come very naturally to native English speakers. Hebrew isn't a Latin alphabet, but unlike Arabic it doesn't have multiple letter forms. (Some letters have two forms, but it's based on whether they're on the end of a word or not.) So it isn't very counter-intuitive to a native English speaker, comparatively. I haven't been able to make sense of the Arabic writing system yet; it's going to take a lot more guidance than Hebrew did!
I think anyone with even a most basic understanding of the Arabic writing system would understand why the English-to-Arabic course would take more time/development to make than Hebrew. I had some friends who were very upset that DuoLingo lacked any non-European languages a month back, but they 100% understood that teaching English speakers kanji or pinyin or whatever else wasn't going to be the same as teaching the Latin alphabet to English language learners (who often have had some exposure to the Latin alphabet anyway.)
/my $0.02 as an English speaker studying Hebrew and Modern Standard Arabic on Rosetta Stone.
They should both be required, absolutely (then again, Spanish should be required in the USA.) However, in their defense (read: compared to the USA not teaching Spanish specifically), Modern Standard Arabic isn't really officially "spoken" anywhere, and "Arabic" has so much diversity they should really be classified into entirely separate languages.
The west has homogenized "a language" with so much diversity in it that some "dialects" are mutually unintelligible to each other! Whereas languages in Europe that are largely mutually intelligible are classified as separate languages :/
Like me, I'd like to learn Levantine Arabic and/or Moroccan Arabic (which is a language of my family's heritage.) But I'll probably be stuck with MSA.
the majority of jews who lived / who lives in Spain or Italy does not speak yiddish but ladino (judeospanish) and several different judeo-italian languages, for exampel judeovenetian, judeoroman, italkian, and so on - so no, there are not many jidiš words in those languages.
The jews of Spain left that country by force already in the 15th century, hereafter living all over North Africa, Latin America and Europa, primarly in the Ottoman sultanat.
There is quite a number of Yiddish words in Russian, like shlimazel, mishpuha, tzures, etc. though they are less understood and hence used now as there is less Jewish population. Also, I heard that various versions of Yiddish have many Belarusian/Ukranian/Russian based words.
From what I understand, Yiddish is a Germanic language heavily influenced by Hebrew and to a lesser extant Aramaic, but because so many Yiddish speaking Jews lived in Ukraine/Russia/ Belarus for such a long time the predominant form of Yiddish has strong Slavic influences. These facts alone should make more people wish to study Yiddish as it provides a fascinating study of language change and interaction.
It's no suprise considering it's probably quit easy to add germanic - and romance - languages by now when we already have several of them, and jidiš is very much like german so it will not be a problem to evolve a course in the language, it's a bit harder with hebrew. I like the flag!
Well, it is easier, since it resembles German. Hebrew is a Semitic language, and it is more complicated and less familiar to the German group languages speakers (including English speakers, both British and American). I know people having immigrated to Israel 20 years ago, and they still have problems with Hebrew.
I wouldn't say one language (Hebrew) is more complicated than the other (Yiddish). They are simply different. Different language structures. I, for example, found it strikingly new at the beginning, but kind of "easy" (everything being so logical! few exceptions of rules!) when I started studying Hebrew at University. But each language has its own complexities and difficulties. English, for example, is not "easy" at a certain level with all of its lexical nuances.
I had the same experience with Hebrew in university. As a native English speaker I struggled with French, but Hebrew made a lot of sense to me. The first two weeks were confusing, but after that I quickly became one of the best students in the class. (Not that it was easy, but it is a logical language and my efforts always felt well awarded so keeping my motivation up was easy).
There are historic Yiddish arts theaters, synagogues and old buildings in New York, but I'm not sure if any of those buildings (synagogues excluded) would be iconic enough for the landmark page. Even though synagogue life is intertwined with life for most Yiddish speaking Jews I'm not sure if a religious building is appropriate. It's a bit clichéd but I like the Fiddler on the Roof idea^^
I think the Fiddler would be really wonderful. It's just such an iconic, evocative image. I don't know if there's a synagogue that would be so immediately recognisable, and yeah... I just adore the idea of using this image! It would go beautifully with some of the other slightly offbeat icons, like Zamenhof for Esperanto :)
I don't see a problem with religious buildings or other materials as long as it does not interfere with the ability to learn the language such as reading texts that say a given religion is correct and others are not. Personally, I much rather have people openly express their beliefs and engage in discussion rather than keep them hidden or use deceptive means to try and convince me of their religion. Honesty and respect are the best policy, but not necessarily agreement.
However, in this case the Fiddler would be awesome.
Do you know the Hopak? Actually I love Fiddler on the Roof because my Ukrainian grandmother had parents who came from a similar village although they were not Jewish. It was also my Ukrainian (Christian) grandmother who inspired my love for Israel and Jewish culture in general. Looking forward to the Hebrew Duolingo course and would love to see Yiddish as well?
Brilliant! This language really fascinates me. Yes, it was me that posted the picture of that flag. I think they don't want to use it because it's tied to a particular religion, but they should. Because when you think about it...
I could be wrong, maybe it's because the flag isn't official (I'm not saying it isn't official, I'm just saying that if it is that might be a reason), but that shouldn't matter either, because it represents the language, unlike a picture of an egg.
I can't wait for the course though!
As a devout Christian, I do not see why I should be offended by this flag. Traditionally, Yiddish was and is spoken by Jews. Not to mention, for Christians there is no reason we cannot participate in Jewish holidays with our Jewish friends. Where would Christians be without the Jews? Although I personally find it odd when Christians celebrate Pesach (without Jewish friends), unless they are Jewish themselves.
This is fantastic news!
I have a Webster's dictionary from 1930 that had a "seven language lexicon" which gives grammar notes and vocabulary in what it claimed where the seven most important languages apart from English often written with Latin letters: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese and Yiddish; reminding us of the status Yiddish and extent of Yiddish language learning and literature. It is so exciting to think that that learning and literature and the whole pattern and poetry of thought that accompanied that treasure trove will be made more accessible.
I get the impression that the way Yiddish uses the alphabet is more intuitive (at least to speakers of most European languages) than how it's used in Hebrew, too - I get the impression there isn't that "well א is a glottal stop but it can also mean this or that vowel" in Yiddish. That might be a good way to kind of ease into it, now I think about it, for people who are encountering the aleph-bet for the first time.
You're right. I know the script but the the way it's used in Hebrew is really complicated. I guess that, judging only by the script usage, Yiddish is better for the start - I'll be able to get more comfortable with using those letters. And then I'll have a good start into Hebrew ;)
Yiddish is mostly a German dialect, with some Hebrew interspersed. If you know German well, you can understand most Yiddish sentences, if there are not too many Hebrew words in it.
I was reading up on Yiddish some weeks ago (and learned to read it in Hebrew letters), it's interesting that originally, what German Jews spoke was likely not different from what other Germans spoke. Only when they became more and more ghettoized (hundreds of years ago) they added more Hebrew to it, and started to diverge in pronunciation. I think it was in this interesting book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16365113-jiddisch-und-die-deutschen-mundarten
Some examples (from Tatoeba http://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/show_all_in/yid/deu/none , not an official latinization, just my own ad-hoc):
Yiddish - German (don't know how to handle LTR properly :P )
װי טײער איז דאס? "Ikh ferschtei das nit" "Ich versteh das nicht" "Bite, sagt das wider a mal" "Bitte sag das nochmal" ביטע, זאגט דאס ווידער א מאל. "Ein leschon is keinmal nischt genug" "Eine Sprache ist nie genug" (Hebrew לשון lashon language)
For users who wants to compare some Yiddish words with some English
I propose 2 vocabulary lists from Vocabulary.com:
This is a list of Yiddish Words starting with Sh.
Yiddish is an amalgam of German, Russian, Hebrew and many other languages that has persevered even though the fate of the people who speak it has been consistently in danger for centuries. The fact that English, the most popular language on the planet, contains words that are recognizably derived from Yiddish is something of a linguistic miracle, considering many of the 13 million native speakers of Yiddish were wiped out during World War II. Many of these 15 words may be familiar, but the routes they took to get to English, and the literal meanings of many of them, are surprising. Here are 15 common English words derived from Yiddish.
As Yiddish is the language for Ashkenazi Jews (but not all Jews, like the menorah), I don't think that a menorah would be the best option. Maybe something distinctive of Ashkenazi culture, like a shtreimel or a yellow Magen David with a black background (like this but just a regular 6-pointed star http://goo.gl/J6OPLb)
Oh and by the way, my grandparents speak Yiddish but my parents don't so I feel like I can finally learn the language of my people!
This flag could also be used. https://virtualjudah.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/chai_flag_mediinatyehudah.png
There is no Yiddish flag so I get needing or wanting a symbol. This grim flag is not it. It has no history and no real connection to Yiddish language or culture. Someone just made it up and started a Facebook page and campaign with motives I can't even fathom and in poor taste. Using it here lends this legitimacy it should not have. Use something of actual historical relevance. Just the word, Yiddish יידיש or simply an Alef would be preferable to anointing this fabrication.
I can not wait for Yiddish! I just know the course is going to be amazing! But even though not a lot of visual progress has been made, I know the contributors are working hard, after 2 months of waiting (at time of writing) everyone is getting hungry for information, but I hope an incubator update will be out soon. But for now all we can do is wait and hope! Thanks to all the contributors! :)
Does anyone have any updates on when it might be coming? I really want to learn Yiddish and bring it back in the family :D The course still lists the estimated completion date as July 7th, 2018... 12 days ago. Any updates? Also, if no one knows anything, does anyone know of helpful Yiddish resources? Thanks! :)