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In the days of democratized media and education, is there an 'above' anymore?How have other minority language communities handled these questions?
Can neologisms like blitspost be imposed from 'above'?For one thing, as minority languages around the world disappear at a shocking rate, the question of language growth and maintenance is more and more urgent, and hardly exclusive to Yiddish. Some of them may end up using this dictionary, but this project is not for them because, the sad irony is, there is very little demand for Yiddish scholarship within the communities that use Yiddish most widely today.But this is how Berger puts it: Hasidim and other ultra-Orthodox Jews tend to absorb new English words just as they are for convenience’ sake without any guilt that they are bastardizing the purity of Yiddish.Joe Berger has been on the Yiddish beat for the New York Times for 30 years.Our mainstream (non-Yiddishist, non-specialist) discourse around Yiddish is exemplified and magnified in the Berger oeuvre.The 826-page Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary, with almost 50,000 entries and 33,000 subentries, is the work of Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, a Yiddish editor and poet, and Paul Glasser, a former dean at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the major repository of Yiddish language, literature and folklore. I promise you, it's not like he doesn't have our phone numbers. “Any word that you’ve got to scratch your head to come up with they’ll use the English word,” said Yosef Rapaport, a Hasidic journalist and translator who is the media consultant for Agudath Israel of America, the umbrella group for ultra-Orthodox Jewish organizations. The European, self-consciously modern project of Yiddish scholarship, of which Dr.
So, the first problem is the layers and layers of asinine tropes. Why is this Dictionary important enough for NYT column inches? Mant of my Yiddishist friends have spoken with him for background on stories. Mordkhe Schaechter was a (figuratively) towering figure, is light years away from the American Yiddish used by haredi, Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities today.
Or rather, one of a small number of readers who knows (and uses) the terms (blitspost or blitsbriv) suggested by the lexicographers behind the Dictionary, Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath and Dr. I'm also one of even fewer readers (I imagine) who bought the Comprehensive Dictionary soon after it came out and uses it in the ordinary course of business. If it were, it would surely be the lamest brag ever.
But it's to make clear that I consume mainstream journalism about Yiddish with an entirely different set of expectations than the average reader.
Larry Yudelson gives a beautiful background on the Schaechter family, on the project of modern Yiddish scholarship, and on the extraordinary talent and skills of the people who finally brought the project to fruition. Those terms [email, transgender, bingewatch] came into popular usage long after the language’s heyday, when it was the lingua franca of the Jews of Eastern Europe and the garment workers of the Lower East Side and was the chosen literary tongue for writers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Though the Holocaust and assimilation have shrunk the ranks of Yiddish speakers — once put at over 11 million worldwide — to a relative handful, Yiddish still needs to keep itself fashionably up-to-date.
Grants are turned down because Yiddish is obviously dying.