[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity

jason silber uzisilber at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 12:03:48 EDT 2007


The answer is all of the above.  Ashkenazi Jewry was a cobbling of Jews from
across the continent north of the Alps.

The emergence of yiddish as the lingua franca of Ashkenazim as they
themselves emerged as a distinct entity reflects the preponderance of
Germanic dialects across Europe (France through Slavic lands) during
the middle ages.  Jews lived where German was commonly used, whether in SW
or eastern Europe

it isn't surprising then, that midieval German became the essence of
Yiddish, just as Arabic became the building block of Judeo Arabic and
Spanish was to Ladino .


On 11/2/07, Dgahler782 at aol.com <Dgahler782 at aol.com> wrote:
> Karl, I realize that this is getting off B-Hebrew, so here are just some
> closing remarks".
> The question was: Why did Eastern European Jews speak a German-based
> language? (Shoshannah believed Yiddish to be a derivative of Hebrew).
> Karl  and
> Kevin, yes, It makes sense that their (modified) Yiddish originated
> in  the S-W
> German area since their W-E migration was occasioned by the
> persecutions  during
> the Crusades, especially virulent in the Franco-Rhineland area. The
> issue  of
> DNA of current Jews or ancient Hebrews is irrelevant here since the Jews
> are
> not and never were "reinrassisch" . Rather the question is: IF, as Uzi
> Silber's suggests, the Ashkenazim adopted their Germanic
> dialect  (Juden-Teitsch >
> Yiddish) from East-Gothic tribes or the Slavic  aristocracy - what
> language
> then did they speak prior  and during their historical W-E migration and
> contact
> with the  above? Uzi, you leave this question unanswered. (Since this is
> off
> B-Hebrew,  perhaps you answer it off-line).
> Doris Gahler
> Message: 24
> Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 10:06:48 +1100 (AUS Eastern  Daylight Time)
> From: "Kevin Riley"  <klriley at alphalink.com.au>
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Language, migration  and Jewish identity
> To: "B Hebrew"  <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID:  <472A5C00.000003.02924 at YOUR-A9279112E3>
> Content-Type: Text/Plain;   charset="iso-8859-1"
> Karl,
> 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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