Is English the new Yiddish?

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Is English the new Yiddish?

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1964906
    huju
    Participant

    More Jews speak English as their primary language than any other language. It is not limited to Ashkenazim – it is also widely spoken by Sephardim, Persians and other Mizrahim, and Bukarians. Israeli Jews speak Hebrew, generally as their primary language, but many also speak English. Prior to the Holocaust, Yiddish was the language of German and Eastern European Jews; European Sefardim spoke Ladino, a Romance language like French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian. Persian Jews spoke Judeo-Farsi.

    If English is the new Yiddish, it is incumbent on Jewish schools to teach it well. For many teachers in Jewish schools, their primary language is Yiddish, and the quality of their English, in my experience, is not satisfactory.

    #1964917
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    English is not the new yiddish

    As you correctly note “Yiddish was THE language of German and Eastern European Jews” (emphasis added) it was not the local language that Jews just happened to speak. It was THEIR language.

    I agree it is incumbent on Jewish schools to teach English. and your last sentence is true as well (I am no exception) .
    But the answer to your title is an unequivocal no

    #1964925
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I agree with Ubiquitin that Yiddish us not the new English.

    In the Litvishe yeshivos I am familiar with, the English spoken by secular studies teachers, and even rebbeim, is adequate. I suspect that’s not the case in some Chassidishe yeshivos, but I think that’s a conscious decision they’ve made.

    #1964927
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “[speaking adequate English] is not the case in some Chassidishe yeshivos, but I think that’s a conscious decision they’ve made.
    Not clear. Are you saying the chassideshe yeshivos deliberately make a decision to retain teachers who cannot communicate well in English?? Why would they “consciously” make such a decision, which would obviously be dysfunctional for their students who live in a world where English language skills are generally a prerequisite to a parnassah.

    #1964932
    ujm
    Participant

    English is not the new Yiddish.

    Yiddish was, s and remains the international language of Jewry.

    #1964933
    ujm
    Participant

    There’s a famous story about the Satmar Rebbe zt’l, the Divrei Yoel. When he was looking to hire an English principal (to meet the government mandates for secular studies) for the Satmar Yeshiva and found the right candidate it was time to negotiate a salary. The Rebbe asked him how much material he intended to include in the curriculum. The Rebbe told him if you set a curriculum to cover 2.5 hours a day, your annual salary is $20k. (This was in the early ’60s.) But, continued the Rebbe, if you set a curriculum for 1.5 hours a day, your annual salary will be $24k.

    #1964934
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    In the Litvishe yeshivos I am familiar with, the English spoken by secular studies teachers, and even rebbeim, is adequate. most speak yeshivish raid not English. I once heard a yeshiva man tell a Asian- American bank manager Hay nach anamy

    #1964956
    ujm
    Participant

    Yinglish is the new Yiddish.

    #1965037
    ujm
    Participant

    That’s should’ve read Yinglish is the new English.

    #1965046
    akuperma
    Participant

    1. More Jews speak Hebrew than any other language. Among Orthodox Jews, that has been the case for a generation (at least), but is not true even among frei Jews (unless you use the Israeli definition of Jewish, i.e. anyone of Jewish descent within the last three generations who hasn’t converted to another religion).

    2. Americans are increasingly become “online” rather than “printed word” oriented, so when the goyim go post-literate (i.e.skill in reading is for specialists only), Yinglish will start turning into a new language, just as Yiddish did 1000 years ago, with the caveat that there is no guarantee that frum Jews will stay in America (especially if the “blue” side gains strength as their anti-religion bigotry will force us to migrate).

    #1965058
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    I was at a Aeroflot check in check a few years back and in those day Aeroflot allowed 2 checked luggages per passenger of 50 pound apiece.
    A litivisher yungerman was trying to check two suitcases one weigh in at 60 pounds the other at 35, the desk agent told him to take out some thing from one bag and put it in the other, the yungerman said lemayser geret why cant this one [pointing to suitcase] be koneh the zechus of that one, the russian airline employee looked at him with puzzled look and said vot u said

    #1965059
    Avi K
    Participant

    Ujm, nonsense. Sephardic Jews never spoke Yiddish. Even among Yiddish speakers, there were different dialects. Sometimes one was unintelligible to another. Rav Arye Levin re-tested a boy from a Hungarian background he rejected for the yeshiva because he thought that maybe the kid did not understand his Lithuanian accent. The international language ofJews, at least so far as writing was concerned, was always Hebrew. Jews typically were also conversant in several European languages because of their business connections. Rabbi Menashe ben Yisrael, for example, was fluent in ten languages. My grandmother spoke English, Spanish/Ladino (she could converse with Puerto Ricans and called her language Spanish), French, Greek, and Turkish and also knew at least some Italian.

    #1965063
    huju
    Participant

    To ujm: You ought to get out more (wearing a mask, of course). Yiddish is unknown – unknown – to the many Mizrachi Jews I know. It is not an international language of anybody. It predominated in Central and Eastern Europe, which is hardly the whole world.

    Prior to 1900, Central and Eastern European Jews lived mostly in small communities, and Yiddish was their language. But times have changed, and languages have changed. I can understand the romantic and nostalgic attachment to Yiddish among many Ashkenazim, but that by itself will not maintain Yiddish as a living language. There are great literary and scholarly works in Yiddish, but if they are not carefully translated into English or other language widely spoken by Jews and scholars, those Yiddish works will wither on the Yiddishe vine.

    #1965073
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    UJM: I disagree with your implied position that yeshiva bochurim cannot become proficient in BOTH languages, albeit using yiddish for limudei kodesh. To argue otherwise, is to advocate functional illiteracy that will complicate their ability to earn a parnassah and engage in the world as it is. They will not be living in the Alte Heim, as much as some may yearn for what were NOT “the good ole days of yiddeshkeit”.

    #1965123
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @avi k, at its peak the total of Ladino speaker numbered about 1 millon speakers, today there are less then 60 K speakers compeared to 12 million Yiddish speakers that crossed from the Pale in Russia to the East End of London to America to Israel until 1948, it was and is the lingua franca for the vast majority of frum Jewery, it is the fourth most spoken lanaguge in Brooklyn and have over 3 million speakers. It maybe dead as a secular culture but it is still spoken by secular Jews daily in Antwerp.
    I am a native yiddish speaker and rose to upper managment in corporate America, my children and grandchildren are fluent in both Yiddish and English

    #1965166
    Nechomah
    Participant

    Avi K
    Where was your grandmother from? It sounds a lot like my father, who grew up in Rhodes, where he knew Turkish, Greek, and Italian because the island was at various times governed by those various governments, depending on who won the most recent war, plus Ladino.

    #1965229
    anonymous Jew
    Participant

    Commonsaychel, the large majority of the descendants of those 12 million yiddish speakers who left the Pale no longer speak Yiddish .

    GH, I’m surprised you didn’t get the obvious. Some of the Chassidishe yeshivas intentionally keep their students functionally illiterate in order to deter them from going off the derech.

    #1965275
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I took my regents going to high school in a chassidishe yeshiva, Chasan Sofer where we only learned in yiddish and took hebrew as an extra language getting an a academic degree.

    #1965283
    ujm
    Participant

    huju: “Yiddish is unknown – unknown – to the many Mizrachi Jews I know… It predominated in Central and Eastern Europe, which is hardly the whole world.”

    Ashkenazim represented 90% of prewar world Jewry. And Yiddish is the international language of that 90%.

    “I can understand the romantic and nostalgic attachment to Yiddish among many Ashkenazim, but that by itself will not maintain Yiddish as a living language.”

    Yiddish is hardly in danger. It is a living, vibrant and growing language spoken by millions of Jews the world over. For many hundreds of thousands of them, and the largest proportion of Yiddish speakers, it is their first language learnt from infanthood and childhood on, and used as their primary day to day language at home, at school, on the street and at work.

    There are some places in the United States, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and in Europe that if you landed as an alien on the continent there for the first time you’d almost swear you must’ve landed in some Yiddish-speaking country where it was the official national language.

    “There are great literary and scholarly works in Yiddish, but if they are not carefully translated into English or other language widely spoken by Jews and scholars, those Yiddish works will wither on the Yiddishe vine.”

    The junk secular literature you speak of is already a forgotten relic. But no need to fret. Far more additional religious based Yiddish literature is being churned out every year.

    #1965297
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @Anonymous Jew, “the large majority of the descendants of those 12 million yiddish speakers who left the Pale no longer speak Yiddish ”
    for that matter sadly most are not Jewish the vast majority intermarried and are not longer Jews.
    Yiddish is alive and well and fourth most spoken language in Brooklyn and has about 3 million speakers worldwide.
    Almost all Yiddish speakers are bilingual quite a number a triligual, most yiddish speakers in Montreal, Buenos Aires and Antwerp speak four languages some even five

    #1965295
    user176
    Participant

    Yiddish is not the language of the Jews. It’s a language spoken by many Jews. Get over it.

    #1965363
    Avi K
    Participant

    Nechoma, my grandmother (and grandfather) were from Smyrna, Turkey (now Izmir).

    Ujm, millions? Ha! In Israel, many Chareidim, especially Lithuanians, can’t even put together a complete sentence in Yiddish. I once saw an older Russian immigrant try to speak to a Lithuanian Chareidi in Yiddish. The latter was completely tongue-tied.

    #1965382
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @avi k, yes Millons and growing, even in israel, I had no issue using yiddish in Jerusalem, Bnai Brak, Elad, Beitar or Ashdod, in fact most meshulochim from Israel only communicate yiddish when they are in chutz. I have heard yiddish being used in London, Antwep, Melbourne and Sao Paulo.

    #1965590
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “Some of the Chassidishe yeshivas intentionally keep their students functionally illiterate in order to deter them from going off the derech”

    I hope what you are saying is incorrect, but if true, keeping students functionally illiterate is no guarantee they won’t go OTD… More likely , it will guarantee they will be unable to earn a parnassah or find a kallah who has any aspirations for a normal life. In fact, it is more likely than not to make them unable to function in society and ultimately lead them to go OTD

    #1965589

    anecdote that has nothing to do with the discussion:
    Rav Kamenetsky in Israel visting R Ouerbach yeshiva commented that Moschiach will come from that yeshiva – as they had top shiurim in Hebrew (and thus enabled Sephardim to attend). So it is not the language per se, it is the context.

    #1965595
    ujm
    Participant

    HaGoen HaRav Elazar Man Shach zt’l told American educators that Yeshiva boys should be taught Chumash in Yiddish, even if the boys speak English amongst themselves. He furthermore said that both boys and girls should learn to be comfortable in Yiddish. He also said that Yiddish is spoken by “all jews” (that is his phrase). He referred parents to send their children to Yiddish teaching yeshivos.

    #1965687
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    “Some of the Chassidishe yeshivas intentionally keep their students functionally illiterate in order to deter them from going off the derech”
    I hope what you are saying is incorrect, but if true, keeping students functionally illiterate is no guarantee they won’t go OTD… More likely , it will guarantee they will be unable to earn a parnassah or find a kallah who has any aspirations for a normal life”
    That is total bunk of both parts, some of the most successful people in the frum olam today have attended Chasidisher Yeshivas and the highest level of assimilation is coming from the MO community.
    Back in history the area with the highest level of assimilation was the highly educated Germans and the lowest level was from the uneducated people of the Middle East and North Africa.

    #1965868
    Avi K
    Participant

    Chazal say (Kiddushin 82a) that someone who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal.

    #1965933
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @Avi K, the chazal also say its the cheyuv of the father to teach his son torah so when you are sending him to yeshiva you and not in compliance with chazal, anyway we are getting into a whole other subjet.
    BTW do you speak a fluent Ladino? do you speak it to your children?

    #1966313
    jdf007
    Participant

    Here is another example of how great the Jewish people are. We’re arguing over English class and what is good enough, when I see headlines like: “Only half of California students meet English standards…” or in Philadelphia, only 37% of kids can even read English properly.
    Furthermore in nyc where only 46% of 3rd through 8th graders can pass an English test, they’re concerned about Jewish kids learning it. How special!
    I notice that from coast to coast, so-called bilingual people are at a premium, typically getting paid more than non-bilingual people. Maybe English is overrated, otherwise, if we resolved this conversation and did place an emphasis on English, we would corner that market too.

    #1966348
    Avi K
    Participant

    CS, can you please rewrite your post in English?

    #1967465
    frumnotyeshivish
    Participant

    There are two issues in deciding the which language is the “new Yiddish.”

    Yiddish eventually became a uniquely Jewish. Also, it was the most widespread primary way jews of all stripes understood each other in the latter half of the second millennia of the common era.
    The question: if a language has only one of those two qualifications, can it be the “new Yiddish”?

    Next question:
    If you take a random grouping of 1,000 known Jews (defined by orthodox tradition) and say a sentence in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English, which language will be understood by the most people?

    I’d guess English >> Hebrew >> Yiddish but I’d need to do more research on the demographics of known Jews.

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.