https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julesmGGF

A Big Thank-You to Duolingo (Yiddish)

Today Yiddish was added in the Incubator, and when my grandfather and I saw it, we cried for joy.

When my great-grandparents' parents arrived to New York through Ellis Island, all they spoke was Yiddish and a little English. Since her parents were never really religious Jews, my great-grandmother and her siblings grew up speaking English that their mother had learned and spoke to them in, so they never knew Yiddish. However, my great-grandmother was the only sibling who decided to learn Yiddish to speak with her father.

My great-grandmother never taught my grandfather Yiddish sadly, despite him willing to learn it. We both wanted to learn Yiddish to honor her, but didn't know where to find good resources to use. Now that Duolingo has added it in the Incubator, we can finally have a way to learn at least the basics of this language that means so much to us.

This website has given the opportunity for us to connect with his mother and my great-grandmother. It's incredible to think that with every language added, chances like this can happen all the time. For this we are forever thankful. Thank you so much Duolingo.

February 10, 2015

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luke_5.1991

I may be the only Norwegian contributor whose great-grandparents all spoke Yiddish (I think it's statistically likely). I cannot wait for Yiddish to be added to the Duolingo family. Matzo ball soup is a welcome addition alongside tapas, fois gras, spätzle, and lefse.

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ray633

I can't wait to learn the language of my ancestors as well!

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeniusJack

This is wonderful! I'm so glad for you! It's amazing how language can be such a personal thing.

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julesmGGF

It truly is :)

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leonig01

Being a Hebrew speaker who studied German, I have always been amused by Yiddish, as it is mostly German written in Hebrew letters. I even manage to understand quite a lot, thanks to German.

Would definitely be an interesting course!

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjaumjaupurr

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! I didn't realize how meaningful learning Yiddish would be to me until yesterday when Duolingo added it and it became a real possibility. Until now, it has always been out of reach and I have thought of it nostalgically, like an ancestor I never had the chance to meet. My father's parents didn't consider it important to teach my father Yiddish, but his grandfather did so he managed to learn a little bit, but by my generation all I know is a few little phrases I wouldn't dare repeat and that has always made me sad. So I am also deeply grateful to Duolingo for adding Yiddish. :)

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cvtruong

This is a beautiful story. Every time a new language gets added, I cringe a little because I know people will complain it's not Chinese or Japanese. It is very upsetting for me because my ancestors spoke Vietnamese, which was the first Asian language to get into beta, and a lot of people complained about Duo adding Vietnamese first. I really hope those people read your post and will stop complaining.

February 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M4rt4a

I have never understood those complaints, as well. I mean, sure - there are languages I would like to see on Duo and they won't be here for a long time. But my point is that I can be upset that, for example, Japanese is not in the Incubator but I won't be upset that other languages are added. It's not like they're taking place of the courses I would like to see, it was just possible for them to come out sooner. That's all. I'm happy for all the languages that are added because I know that while I'm waiting for one thing, there are others who are waiting for another one. And who knows, maybe when I'll try out one of those courses I wasn't even thinking about, I'll fall in love with a new language ;)

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MultiLinguAlex

Thanks for sharing this story =)

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RozalynLeslie

Wonderful story

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuzuyaXIII

My grandpa is Jewish, and I would love to learn Yiddish so we can have more in common. :) I can't wait to learn!

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loolitay

Yes! This so much. Now, I don't know if my ancestors spoke Yiddish (I think it's more like Arabic, Spanish, Romanian, Czech, Polish, and Hebrew), but as a Jew with some eastern European ancestry it's more than likely. Either way, this is awesome. Next up: Ladino!

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MusingThoughts

I can't wait for Ladino! It is awesome!

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/loolitay

Yeah that would be awesome! It's just so incredibly rare, I don't know if there's anyone on here who speaks Ladino and English fluently. It might be possible to have Ladino and Spanish, and Ladino and Hebrew though--as those are combinations of languages that are more likely with Ladino.

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MusingThoughts

Yeah it's quite rare indeed but beautiful

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnesimusUnbound

Great to hear another language added to DL. :-D

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MusingThoughts

I never realised how meaningful this language is to many

This is a very inspirational post and made me cry

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/julesmGGF

Awwee haha :) didn't mean to make you tear up, but I probably would have to! Have a lingot

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Far_1

Great story! Thanks for posting

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ptoro

Hopefully Hebrew's next!

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lenocent

Your story is very touching, and it's inspiring to think about how much personal meaning a language can have. Best of luck to you and your grandfather!

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guitardude2000

It says the due date is Feb 10-2015.... I think there might be a mistake there. But I'm looking forward to it when it does come out! Hopefully Hebrew is next.

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brina431719

I am also very excited to be able to learn the language of my ancestors. My great-grandparents would have spoken it fluently and I think even some of my grandparents knew a bit of the language but it was never passed down beyond that. I've wanted to learn the language for a long time now so I can't wait for the course to be ready for us all to get stuck into :)

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JelloCandy

Doulingo has a g-mail, we can send them our suggestions for new language courses.

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/araparseghian

Right on. My grandparents spoke Yiddish, and my mother speaks a little as well, but I only picked up what little Yiddish I listened to (sometimes I'll incorporate a Yiddish word or two in colloquial speech, but I can't put a sentence together). But now that I've got a decent background in Hochdeutsch, I'm quite curious as to how easily I'd pick up Yiddish now. Maybe I'll end up sounding like Jackie Mason.

February 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewGertz

I am so happy. I have always had a mild interest in Yiddish and I love hearing my Zayde speak it some times. All I know is one insult in it, so once it is available, I will start actually learning it.

February 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlgaKleine

Can't wait for Yiddish to be released. I know it already (and read Yiddish books pretty well), but Duo is perfect for practice. And it's a great thing to promote the language, too!

April 14, 2016
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