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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature$
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Jean Baumgarten and Jerold C. Frakes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.001.0001

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The Invention of a Language: Yiddish among the European Vernaculars

The Invention of a Language: Yiddish among the European Vernaculars

(p.1) 1 The Invention of a Language: Yiddish among the European Vernaculars
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Oxford University Press

Contrary to common opinion, the Yiddish language excited the interest of linguists, beginning in the sixteenth century, and brought about an uninterrupted tradition of scholarly work from that time up to the present. For much of that period, however, the language aroused the contempt and mockery of a part of the scholarly world. It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that Yiddish was rehabilitated and raised to the rank of a language in its own right. It was not until after the founding of the state of Israel and the increase in the numbers of centres of Yiddish scholarship in European and anglophone universities that a marked change in perceptions of Yiddish came about. Numerous important works of scholarship have since been published which have drawn Yiddish out of the ghetto.

Keywords:   Yiddish, European vernaculars, Israel, European Jews, Yiddish scholarship

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