How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
This book argues that the usage of language in Jewish societies can be understood as following from certain specific principles, particularly regarding the relationship between language and identity. Phenomena discussed include the revival of Hebrew, Hebrew in the Diaspora, the survival and ‘sanctification’ of Yiddish, the idea of ‘Jewish languages’, and the role of sociolinguistic phenomena in the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict.