Is 'Yeshivish' a Language, a Dialect Like 'Ebonics,' or Something Else Altogether?

The Forward
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The Forward

When do distinct dialects become so separated they can be considered separate languages?

How would the question, which is often raised in connection to the "Black English" found spoken by African Americans, apply to its Judeo-English cousin colloquially known as Yeshivish?

The form of English commonly spoken in American Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities- replete with Hebrew, Yiddish and Aramaic words- is one with which most American Jews, let alone non-Jews, are unfamiliar.

But is Yeshivish really a different language from a linguistic point of view, or is it merely a peculiar form of English?

Is its relationship to English comparable to that of Yiddish to German, which are two closely related but nevertheless distinct languages, or is it more like the relationship of the several (and now largely extinct) varieties of Judeo-Italian to their regional Italian counterparts, which is simply one of dialectal divergence?

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Illustration.Credit: AP

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