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A Goy Who Speaks YiddishChristians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany$
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Aya Elyada

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781930

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781930.001.0001

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German of the Jews

German of the Jews

Linguistic Affinity and the Politics of Differentiation

(p.127) Seven German of the Jews
A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish
Stanford University Press

Christian authors tried to offer a definition and explanation of the Yiddish language to their readers, often by discussing the Jewish language in relation to the German language. One reason was that the Christian literature on Yiddish was produced first and foremost by German-speaking scholars and published in the German-speaking lands either in Latin or German. This chapter examines how Christian authors in early modern Germany portrayed the relation between Yiddish and German, both structurally and functionally. It also looks at the social and cultural factors that influenced these depictions of Yiddish and its relation to German, and how these depictions helped promote perceptions about the place of the Jews and their language in German society, as well as in the consolidating German Sprachnation. The chapter concludes by discussing the Christian view of Yiddish as the Jews' secret language, and their contention that the Jews resorted to secrecy to deceive and harm their Christian neighbors.

Keywords:   Yiddish language, Jewish language, German language, Christian literature, Germany, Jews, Sprachnation, secrecy

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