0079 Languages of The Jews
This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Centers for East Asian Studies and Global and International Studies.
Hebrew is the language of Israel. But for much of Jewish history, Hebrew was reserved for religious use and Jews used other Jewish languages as their vernacular – in addition to the languages of the countries they lived in. Ladino or Judezmo, a language containing elements of Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian and more was spoken by the Sephardic Jews. Yiddish, a mishmash of German, Slavic and Hebrew, was spoken by the Eastern European or Ashkenazi Jews. Both of these languages are written using the Hebrew alphabet but retain the sounds of their root languages. Thanks to the influx of Eastern European immigrants to the US at the beginning of the 20th century, many Yiddish words found their way into English. If you’ve ever schlepped a long way or noshed on a bagel or felt farklemt, you speak Yiddish. Mazel tov.
With thanks to Shelley Rissien for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.