Reply To: Advice for learning yiddish

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RE: “There isnt exactly anything as “proper yiddish” anymore”

1. Most languages do not have official institutes, and the one’s that do are usually ignored. For example, the French and Israeli language academies keep trying to invent local words to use rather than words based on English, and fail miserably. YIVO was set up by a bunch of secular fanatics to try to invent a standard Yiddish (taking vowels from one dialect and consonants from others) – they never were taken seriously be actual Yiddish speakers.

2. By “proper” in a language you mean spekaing the language the way someone spoke 300 years ago? Do speakers of proper English still use the 2nd person familiar (Thou) or the subjunctive (as in “I be”)? Dead language have “proper” rules, living languages evolve because people keep inventing new words without ever bothering to talk to professors or official language commissions.

3. Yiddish never developed a standard in part since Jews never used it for serious books (though some ultra-seculars tried in the pre-WWII era). Yiddish is/was for fun stuff, the popular press, children’s books and as an aid for those lacking the intellectual skills to read Hebrew. Serious literature was alwayws Yiddish speakers was written in Hebrew, a langauge all children learned and the language used for official documents by Jews (such as court records). To cite an example, the famous sefer by the Satmar Rebbe telling people to use Yiddish, is written in Hebrew.