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The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History

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A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.


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Title: Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish
Subtitle: Jews, Sorbs, Khazars, and the Kiev-Polessian Dialect
Edited By: Walter Bisang
Series Title: Trends in Linguistics:Studies and Monographs
Description:

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:
Introduction
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

Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
Sociolinguistics
Subject Language(s): Yiddish, Eastern
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110172585
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 713
Prices: 128.00 / sFr 205,- / approx. US$ 128.00