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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: Yiddish Proto-Vowels and German Dialects
Author: Alexander Beider
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Phonology
Subject Language: German
Yiddish, Eastern
Yiddish, Western
Abstract: This paper suggests a series of schemas aimed at eliminating the main drawbacks of existing schemas of Yiddish proto-vowels. It attempts to complete the schemas developed by other scholars mainly in two aspects, proposing derivational rules that (1) account for Proto-Western Yiddish and its sub-dialects and (2) explain the relation between the vowels of the German donor language and Yiddish proto-vowels. This analysis shows the impossibility of constructing a schema of a single Proto-Yiddish as a historical reality and thus implies the polygenesis of the system of stressed vowels and diphthongs of Yiddish. Proto-Western Yiddish and Proto-Eastern Yiddish had no common, specifically Jewish ancestor. The comparative analysis of various German dialects and Yiddish proposed here provides the basis for determining the regions (East Franconia and Bohemia, respectively) where the stressed vocalism of the Yiddish dialects likely appeared and the corresponding time period (the 14th–15th centuries).


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 22, Issue 1.

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