Germanic Languages | Topics in Yiddish Culture
Y350 | 23023-26100 | Kerler

GER Y350 / 506; CMLT C378 (2nd 8-week)
Mondays & Wednesdays 4 pm

Topics in Yiddish Culture: Ghetto, Shtetl, and Beyond: Millennium of
History and Sociology of Yiddish

The origins of the Yiddish language and of Ashkenazic civilization can
be traced to the very end of the first millennium CE. The aim of the
course is to offer a detailed and focused historic overview and
discussion of some of the major issues in the history of Yiddish
language and literature with special attention to socio-cultural and
sociolinguistic aspects. This course will concentrate on the last 800
years of the history and sociology of Yiddish focusing on the
following topics: (1) theories on the origin and age of Yiddish; (2)
attitudes to Yiddish: from "Ghetto" to "Shtetl"; (3) periodization of
Yiddish language and literature; (4) "fusion" language, Jewish
language, vernacular: review of definitions with a focus on the
structure of Yiddish; (5) Yiddish and Hebrew: interface between
orality, literacy and "diglossia"; (6) Old Yiddish literature: genres,
language, historical development; (7) history of Yiddish studies; (8)
patterns of modernization: Yiddish in the 19th century; (9) the rise
of yiddishism and modern Yiddish culture; (10) sociology of modern
Yiddish: attitudes, debates, and arguments;(11) from dialectology to
stylistics: modern Literary Standard Yiddish, daytshmerish, linguistic
purism. All readings, lecturing and discussions will be in English.

Dovid Katz, “Words on Fire: The Unfinished Story of Yiddish” (Basic
Books 2004) ISBN: 0465037283
A Reader of selected articles, papers, and samples of old and modern
literary texts translated from Yiddish.