[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Thu Nov 1 19:06:48 EDT 2007

It may surprise you to know that for once the majority of scholars agree
with you.  The earliest Yiddish documents as well as the current dialects
show definitely that Yiddish originated in the S-W German area, and changed
as it moved eastward.  While we can assume it moved with people, and assume
those people were Jews, there is no way of telling from the language if it
changed because of the influence of the surrounding gentile languages alone,
or because the Yiddish speaking Jews met other Jews already in those areas
who also contributed to the language change.  So there is no necessary
connection between being Jewish and speaking Yiddish and an origin in the
Jewish group in S-W Germany.  That Yiddish moved from west to east does not
mean that all or even most Jewish people did the same.  While I believe it
is likely that some current day Jews are descendants of the Khazars who
converted to Judaism [a good story in itself] , I dislike intently the
reason many on the 'net bring it up.  Bringing it back to Biblical Hebrew, I
wonder sometimes how complicated the history of Hebrew was even back in the
time of Moses.  Exodus mentions a group of non-Hebrews who came out of Egypt
with Moses, so maybe the development of Hebrew wasn't just a straight line
even before the Hebrews settled in Israel.  What a pity the Israelites did
not write on clay tablets, as then we might have more evidence on which to
base our wondering.
Kevin Riley
-------Original Message------- 
From: K Randolph 
Date: 2/11/2007 5:11:07 AM 
I am not an expert on either German nor Yiddish, but I lived in Germany. 
Of the dialects I was exposed to in Germany, Yiddish is closest to 
Those spoken in south western traditional German lands around where 
Rashi lived. Just my observation. 
But this is getting off of B-Hebrew. What it proves it up to you. 
Just my 2�. 
Karl W. Randolph. 

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