Yeshivish

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Yeshivish refers to a sociolect of English spoken by yeshiva students and other Jews with a strong connection to the Orthodox yeshiva world.

Contents

Research

Only a few serious studies have been written about Yeshivish. The first is a Master's Thesis by Steven Ray Goldfarb (University of Texas at El Paso, 1979) called "A Sampling of Lexical Items in Yeshiva English." The work lists, defines, and provides examples for nearly 250 Yeshivish words and phrases. The second, more comprehensive work is Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish by Chaim Weiser. Weiser maintains that Yeshivish is not a pidgin, creole, or an independent language, nor is it precisely a jargon. He refers to it instead, with tongue-in-cheek, as a shprach, a Yiddish word meaning "language" or "rapport."

Linguist and Yiddishist Dovid Katz describes it in "Words on Fire: the Unfinished Story of Yiddish" as a "new dialect of English," which is "taking over as the vernacular in everyday life in some ... circles in America and elsewhere."[1]

Relation to other languages

English

The English variant of Yeshivish consists of grammatical irregularities borrowed from Yiddish, and a vocabulary consisting of Yiddish, Rabbinic Hebrew, and Talmudic Aramaic. The speaker will use those terms in the stead of their modern counterpart, either because of cultural affinity, or lack of the appropriate modern term.

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