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Use Of Yiddish Declining In Canada

cih.jpgFor the first time in Canadian history, Hebrew has eclipsed Yiddish as a mother tongue for Jews in Canada, as elderly speakers of the European language die off and as the flow of Israeli immigrants continues.

According to a new analysis by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) of data from the 2006 census, there were 18,550 people in Canada whose first language was Hebrew, compared to 17,255 for Yiddish.

In 2001, the census numbers were 12,435 for Hebrew as a mother tongue and 19,295 for Yiddish.

That represents a 49 per cent increase in people with Hebrew as their mother tongue – including 40 per cent increases each in Montreal and Toronto – between 2001 and 2006, and a 10 per cent drop in people whose first language is Yiddish.

Going back even further, there has been a 20 per cent decline in native Yiddish speakers between 1996 and 2006, said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the ACS.

The obvious reason for Hebrew overtaking Yiddish is the accelerated attrition rate among elderly Yiddish-speaking Jews, Jedwab said, combined with rising immigration from Israel.

(Source: Canadian Jewish News)

9 Responses

  1. Vus?? Ich kennisht farshtay aza matzif! Btw, are we talking about the decline of chassidisho yiddish or yeshivishe yiddish?

  2. flatbushbub
    What are u saying? That it is a SHANDA that their mesorah never included yiddish-germanic-polish lingo. They are wondering how the others existed without understanding, speaking or reading hebrew.
    The real news is the mama loshen of Jews worldwide is either English or Hebrew while Yiddish has lost status #1 except in Chassidish kehillos. Is this GOOD, BAD, or OTHERWISE! We will let the bloggers fight out this fact.

  3. It’s probably because I’m a BT who struggles with Yiddish, but I guess I don’t understand (and am more than open to being told) why it’s such a big deal that we’re not speaking one particular descendant of Middle German anymore.

    I say one particular because the language we are speaking right now split off from M. German about the same time as Yiddish did.

    If the issue is us Yidn having our own separate language, I don’t think there’s cause for worry. “Yeshivish” English is a very real phenomenon that just about reads as a different language to people who aren’t part of the frum community. Give it fifty years (may Moshiach come long before then) and we’ll have our own separate language again.

  4. Narishkeit and ameratzus, as long as the cat in the hat is still being reprinted in yiddish, it is obviously a growing language. Agav, the book was banned amongst the monsey satmerers for quote ‘encouraging shtus’ – community connections גיליון12 דף נא עמוד ב עיין שם

  5. Die oilem is fergess’n az di Toireh is in Yiddish gegeib’n. Moishe Rabeini, vibalt ehr is a tzadik gevorn, hat es tranlatiert in Ivre far the Sphardim ver kent nisht the heilige Yiddishe Shprach. Yuh; Yiddish is helige. Shtet in Pusik, “Shma B’ni Mussar Avicho ve’al titoish Toiras Imeicho.” Yiddish is gerif’n “Mame Lushen” Iz du a Gezairas Shuveh oif “mame” und “Mame” Az kumt ois fum dieze pusik, die Toireh, vos is a Mamae’s zach, is gegeib’n in Mame Lushen, und noch, der Mamae’s lushen is heilige vie die Toireh. Afile men ken zug’n die Yiddish mach die Toireh heilige.

  6. #10, great point. Ich ken a gutte yiddesh (bei unz men lerent es altz klein kund) un es is punkt azoi rein vi english. You have just as many, if not more bad words in yiddish. I particularly think that yiddish would be rather interesting to preserve, but it is definetaly not a mitzva. It is a mitzva though to be mekarev acheinu beis yisroel, and for that you have to know ENGLISH.

  7. Thank you sammygol. My sentiments exactly. I doubt the Esparanto idea will get very far off the ground though, despite the lack of imprecation! (And the cat in the hat wouldn’t rhyme.)

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