LINGUIST List 13.1430

Wed May 22 2002

Books: Socioling:Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish

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  1. Julia Ulrich, Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish by Paul Wexler

Message 1: Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish by Paul Wexler

Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 15:26:53 +0200
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish by Paul Wexler

New Publication from Mouton de Gruyter!!!!

>From the series
Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs
Editors: Werner Winter/Walter Bisang

Paul Wexler
Jews, Sorbs, Khazars, and the Kiev-Polessian Dialect

2002. 23 x 15,5 cm. xi, 713 pages. Cloth.
Euro 128.00 / sFr 205,- / approx. US$ 128.00
ISBN 3-11-017258-5

(Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 136)

This study applies the relexification hypothesis to the genesis of
Yiddish. The author believes Yiddish began as a Sorbian dialect
relexified to High German between the 9th-12th centuries. The present
study, rich in data (much of it presented as entries to a projected
etymological dictionary), also suggests new diagnostic tests for
identifying relexification. The presence in Yiddish of East Slavic
features (e.g. pseudo-dual, gender and plural suffix assignment)
suggests that the descendants of the Judaized Khazars also relexified
Kiev-Polessian (northern Ukrainian and southern Belarussian) in the
15th century to Yiddish and German. Yiddish is thus a mixed West-East
Slavic language and the best proof that Khazar Jews were a major
component in the ethnogenesis of the Ashkenazic Jews. Two dramatic
findings are that by comparing Middle High German and Slavic
vocabulary and derivational machinery, it is possible (a) to "predict"
with high accuracy which German components could be accepted by
Yiddish and (b) whether lexicon was most likely acquired in the first
or second relexification phase or thereafter. Blockage of many
Germanisms also necessitated reliance on Hebrew and invented
Hebroidisms. Thus the study also contributes to an understanding of
the genesis of (Slavic) Modern Hebrew, relexified from Yiddish in the
19th century.

>From the contents:
1. The Relexification Hypothesis in Yiddish
2. Approaches to the study of Yiddish and other Jewish languages
3. Criteria for selecting German and Hebrew-Aramaic and for retaining
Slavic elements in Yiddish
3.1. Component blending in Yiddish
3.2. The status of synonyms in Yiddish
3.3. Constructing an etymological dictionary for a relexified language
4. Evidence for the two-tiered relexification hypothesis in Yiddish:

>From Upper Sorbian to German and from Kiev-Polessian to Yiddish
4.1. Sixteen observations about the relexification hypothesis in Yiddish

4.2. German morphemes and morpheme sets fully accepted by Yiddish
4.3. German morpheme sets blocked fully or in part in Yiddish by the
Slavic substrata
4.4. The status of individual German morphemes and semantically related
sets in Yiddish
4.5. Slavic gender and markers of plural and dual in Yiddish
4.6. Unrelexified Upper Sorbian and Kiev-Polessian elements in Yiddish
5. Future Challenges

For more information please contact the publisher:
Mouton de Gruyter
Genthiner Str. 13
10785 Berlin, Germany
Fax: +49 30 26005 222

Please visit our website for other publications by Mouton de Gruyter
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Thursday, January 17, 2002