No, not really

It may have been spoken for 1,000 years, but the origins of Yiddish – the language of Ashkenazic Jews – has been a bone of contention between linguists for years.
Now researchers say the DNA of Yiddish speakers may have originated from four ancient villages in north-eastern Turkey.
And they believe the Yiddish language was invented by Iranian and Ashkenazic Jews as they traded on the Silk Road, challenging the popular idea it is an old German dialect.

It’s clearly and obviously a closely related to Germanic language. That the people who spoke it or invented it carried non-Germanic DNA changes nothing of that. Singlish is spoken by people almost entirely unrelated to Anglo Saxon DNA. It’s still very closely related to English and thus at least partly Germanic at root.

16 thoughts on “No, not really”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    There is at least one academic who claims modern Hebrew is actually Slavic. So the market for idiotic comments about languages is pretty deep.

    The mildly interesting claim will involve Khazars and whether European Jews are actually related to Middle Eastern Jews. But it is not that interesting.

  2. I do find the idea of languages being “invented” somewhat curious. Unless it’s Esperanto* Group of people speak one language. Words are accrued from other languages, words change meanings, pronunciations mutate. Eventually they’re speaking a different language. You see it in English, down here. People, been here a long time, have a lot of Spanish in their English. For that matter, Spanish have a lot of English in theirs. Eventually, we’ll all be speaking Spanglish. Salted with odd words of Russian, Finnish & Romanian, no doubt. And Portuguese (which diverged from Latin in a slightly different way)

  3. Academia has lost the ability (if it ever had it) to distinguish between a language and a dialect – “A language is just a dialect with an army and navy”. Hence arrant nonsense like the Scots ‘language’ (when even its most noted exponent – Burns – wrote “Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect”).

    If you want to insist that replacing every occurrence of ‘cannot’ by ‘cannae’ creates a new language, knock yourself out. But to retain consistency, you’ll need to start referring to Scouse and Geordie and hundreds of other English dialects as ‘languages’ too.

  4. “Eventually, we’ll all be speaking Spanglish. Salted with odd words of Russian, Finnish & Romanian, no doubt. And Portuguese (which diverged from Latin in a slightly different way)”

    Except on Fridays when we’ll all be speaking Arabic.

  5. Scots is, or perhaps was, a language because it did indeed have an army and a navy, and – perhaps more important – a royal court, law courts, and a parliament. If you don’t accept that you might as well argue that Dutch isn’t a language.

  6. @dearieme

    Having (had) “a separate army, navy, royal court, law courts, and a parliament” is not a criterion for whether you have a separate language.

    Does anybody–besides Pres. Obama [https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/news-conference-president-obama-4042009]–believe that “Austrian” is a separate language from German?

    Or, setting joking aside, “American” is a different language than English? If so, can you tell whether this post was written in English or American without googling me?

  7. “Eventually, we’ll all be speaking Spanglish. Salted with odd words of Russian, Finnish & Romanian, no doubt. And Portuguese (which diverged from Latin in a slightly different way)”

    Except on Fridays when we’ll all be speaking Arabic.

    You might be, Kevin, but not down here. The locals are not famous for their tolerance of those across the way. It’s hard enough to find any will even admit there is a country opposite. Even those live in Ceuta..

  8. No wonder I couldn’t understand. The comment was in Australian.

    If not for the numerous dialects we would have already replaced the outdated English with proper American. Since yall can understand me it must mean we’re still doing alright in the transformation

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Sub Specie Æternitatis – “Does anybody–besides Pres. Obama [https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/news-conference-president-obama-4042009]–believe that “Austrian” is a separate language from German?”

    Well it is hard for me to agree with Obama but I suppose there is a first for everything. Yeah, Austrian is a different language. Can proper German speakers understand full of Austrian dialect? Sort of. Perhaps. On a good day. As long as they are not from Saxony or somewhere people do speak proper German. But the difference between the languages of Bavaria and Austria and German proper are probably not that much smaller than between Dutch and German proper.

    But that is not what Obama meant so I still think he is wrong

  10. @SMFS
    Bismarck, as usual, nailed it:
    A strange fellow, your Bavarian. Halfway between an Austrian and a human being.

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