Difference Between Yiddish and Hebrew (With Table)

By failing to differentiate between Yiddish and Hebrew, a whole culture and memory of a people are hushed and their stories are left unwritten for all time. Due to the inadvertent amalgamation of the two languages into a single language, the public is led to believe that Yiddish and Hebrew are the same languages. 

Yiddish vs Hebrew

The main difference between Yiddish and Hebrew is that Yiddish is a German dialect that employs many Hebrew vocabulary but pronounces them in an Ashkenazic way. while Hebrew is an Afro-Asiatic language. Jews across the globe speak Yiddish and Hebrew. Yiddish and Hebrew both employ the Hebrew alphabet in their scripts.

For many centuries, Yiddish was referred to as lotion-Ashkenaz, or Ashkenazic and Taytsh. According to the most widely accepted definition, the term “mame-loshn” is used to describe Yiddish. Yiddish began to be used as a noun in the late eighteenth century. The two languages are still fundamentally different.

Because of the name Eber, Abraham’s ancestor, the Hebrew word “ivri” denotes “Jewish people.” To cross over, ‘avar’ is the source of the word ‘Eber’. Because Yehuda, or Judah, was the only surviving monarchy, Also, Hebrew is mentioned in Isaiah 19:18 as the language of Canaan in the Bible.

Comparison Table Between Yiddish and Hebrew

Parameters of ComparisonYiddishHebrew
OriginHigh German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin.Semitic language of Afro-Asiatic language family.
Type of dialectHigh German Yiddish is an Ashkenazi Jewish dialect of German that is spoken all over the globe.According to Jewish tradition, it is considered a “Jewish dialect.”
Spoken inUnited States, Argentina, Israel, Brazil, Israel, West Bank, and Gaza
Language FamilyIndo-European Germanic, High German Yiddish, West Germanic Afro-Asiatic Semitic Northwest Semitic Canaanite Hebrew, West Semitic Central Semitic
Total SpeakersAbout 3 million peopleAbout 10 million people.

What is Yiddish?

Hebrew, Slavic, Romance, and Aramaic, as well as German dialects, were all included in the development of Yiddish. When it comes to the origin of Yiddish, it may be traced back to Ashkenazi culture in the Rhineland, which subsequently migrated to Eastern and Central Europe.

Once recognized as the language of the Ashkenazi Jews, Yiddish has now earned the title of mame-loshn (literally, “mother tongue”) among those who speak it. Hebrew and Aramaic, both of which were referred to be loshn-Kodesh or holy tongues, were not Yiddish’s language. The literary usage of Yiddish began in the 18th century. In terms of Yiddish dialects, Ashkenazi Jews are the primary speakers, with Litvish, Polish, and Ukrainian dialects making up the Eastern Yiddish group. Eastern Yiddish, unlike Western Yiddish, employed a large number of Slavic-derived terms. Eastern Yiddish is still widely spoken, whereas Western Yiddish is becoming less common.

In the final position, the phonology of Yiddish does not permit the devoicing of voiced stops due to the impact of Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Polish dialects. Male, female, and neuter nouns are separated into three categories: masculine, feminine, and neuter. In the case of genders and numbers, the usage of adjectives is appropriate. Specific verbs, pronouns, and articles are used. 

What is Hebrew?

Canaanite languages are part of the Northwest Semitic family of languages, and Hebrew is one of them. It wasn’t until the 10th century that Hebrew became a widely used language. Hebrew has been the primary language of all written communication in Jewish communities across the globe for millennia.

There were books and legal papers produced, published, and read in Hebrew that educated Jews could use to communicate with one another. It has been resurrected several times in the 19th century by diverse groups. Due to Hibbat Tziyon’s national rebirth concept, contemporary Hebrew has found its place as a modern spoken language. In the 19th century, the literary works of Hebrew intellectuals influenced the development of Hebrew. The English, Russian, French, and German languages were used as inspiration for the creation of new terms.

British-ruled Palestine made Hebrew its official language in 1921, and Israel formally adopted it as its official language in 1948. Studying Hebrew may be beneficial to those who are interested in Judaism, archaeology, and language studies of the Middle East. Israeli Hebrew has five distinct vowel phenomena. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech are all part of the Hebrew lexicon, the presence of a verb in a phrase is optional in Hebrew. 

Main Differences Between Yiddish and Hebrew

  1. Yiddish has a plethora of grammatical rules that are less well-defined. whereas Hebrew has a well-defined grammar
  2. in Yiddish, there are dozens of ways to make a singular noun plural whereas In Hebrew, there are just two ways to make a singular noun plural.
  3. Yiddish is the second most common language spoken by Jews worldwide whereas Israel’s Jews speak Hebrew as their primary dialect,.
  4. Yiddish is a German dialect that combines a number of languages, including German, Hebrew, Aramaic, and a number of Slavic and Romance languages whereas Hebrew is a Semitic language,
  5. Yiddish conjure images of European Jewish communities and European culture. whereas Memories of Israel and Middle Eastern culture come to mind when people hear Hebrew,

Conclusion

Similar to Ladino, Hebrew elements are incorporated by Yiddish and Yiddish is a diaspora creole language. It is the local language to create a unique blend of sounds (German in the case of Yiddish, Spanish in the case of Ladino). Even though  Hebrew characters are used to write Yiddish, it is incomprehensible to a Hebrew speaker who does not also understand Yiddish. German or German-derived terms constitute the majority of the vocabulary, and the language has its syntax that differs from that of Hebrew.

Even for terms that are Hebrew or of Hebrew origin, the Yiddish pronunciation differs significantly from the Hebrew pronunciation, as can be seen in the following example: While Hebrew is an Afro-Asian language, it is more particularly a Semitic language. As a result, they are descended from two distinct language families. Yiddish is an Indo-European language, more precisely a Germanic language, that originated in Russia.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271530910000364
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/josl.12451

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Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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