German-Jews and Yiddish

Tremmert   Friday, October 24, 2003, 08:13 GMT
>> The Ashkenzai Jews are orthodox

Not necessarily...

>> Unfortunately, the population of fluent Yiddish speakers is dwindling and there's not a whole lot of interest among younger Jews to learn the language, opting instead to learn Hebrew as the language of their culture.

Actually I am interested in Yiddish and tried searching for information on it on the Internet, but unlike other languages which have tutorials on the web the most I found was an advertisement for some textbook ... I did find one Yiddish grammar guide but it was in German which doesn't really help (me, anyway ;))
Clark   Friday, October 24, 2003, 18:52 GMT
Tremmert, just like the PA Germans, not every Ashkenzai Jew is not going to be Orthodox (and in PA Germans' case, Old Order).

Try searching from the search engine for "yiddish grammar," and you will find several good online tutorials. However, most of them have been in an Americanised Transliteration. There were a few in the Hebrew characters though.
Tremmert   Friday, October 24, 2003, 20:27 GMT
You repeated my point. Actually as far as I know in Israel more Sephardi Jews are Orthodox than Ashkenazi Jews. (Both the words Sephardi and Ashkenazi are transliterations so I don't suppose it matters how you spell them...)
Jay   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 16:24 GMT
Many Jews look at Yiddish as sort of disgraceful, or something. I told my grandmother (yes, my "bubbe") that I thought it would be fun to learn some Yiddish, and she wrinkled her nose and asked, "for what?" I assume she had this reaction becaused Yiddish is/was the language of women, mostly, since they weren't educated to learn Hebrew like the men in their families. And, let's face it, as these alter kockers die, so dies this language.
Clark   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 19:45 GMT
Yes, but meme loshen has been a part of Jewish history for about 1 000 years (when Jews moved into Germany and started speaking a German dialect and then that dialect started to evolve to fit the needs of the Jews of the area).

I have mixed emotions about the language though. For one, the uniting language for Jews is Hebrew. Thanks to Israel and thanks to the language of the Torah. However, a large percentage of Jews whose ancestors were from Europe (or are are still in Europe), their language is/was Yiddish.
Tremmert   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 20:10 GMT
They couldn't have make Yiddish the official language of Israel because it is specific to Ashkenazi Jews - I think some Sephardi Jews feel that Israel is too Euro-centric anyway: this would have been far worse if they'd been forced to speak the Ashkenazi language as well. Remember, language is as often a barrier as a tie ... whenever I hear people around me speaking in a language I don't know, I do to some extent feel left out.
Clark   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 22:16 GMT
Me too. But some people cannot help it. I was at a Ceilidh last night, and there was a mother and her two children. They are from Lebanon, and the children do not speak English. So the mother had to speak to them in Arabic.

And then there are the cases where people speak a language so that (in theory) no one around them can understand. I have read in many cases that languages on the brink of death, the speakers of whatever languages will not teach theri children the language(s), and only use the language when they do not want their children to understand what they are saying. For example, a mother and father talking about sending their child to summer school--the parents might speak in their "ethnic" language so their child cannot understand them.

I have read about this happening with Yiddish, PA German and Gaelic in Nova Scotia.
Tremmert   Tuesday, October 28, 2003, 20:06 GMT
My parents did that to me (very occassionally) with Afrikaans before I started learning it at school. Unfortunately they didn't do it enough for me to actually start learning the language ;)
Simon   Wednesday, October 29, 2003, 09:39 GMT
What is the situation of Gaelic in Nova Scotia? Are there any 'native speakers'?
Clark   Wednesday, October 29, 2003, 21:35 GMT
There are a few native Gaelic-speakers in Alba Nuadh, but they are very old. And those who are in their 40s-60s perhaps only speak it when they do not want their children to understand a couple of key words or phrases.