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Journal Article

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Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review





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History and Territorial Boundaries. The Yiddish language emerged around the tenth century among the Jewish communities in Lotharingia in the Rhine valley. From there it spread to Northern Italy, Northern France and Holland with newly established Ashkenazi colonies, and under the impact of the Crusades to Central Europe and then eastward, to Slavic countires.33 Old Yiddish (1250-1500), primarily a spoken language, functioned as the language of oral tales, songs, fables, and proverbs. From that period scattered glosses and phrases are extant, the earliest of them is a blessing inscribed in an illuminated prayer book of Worms dated from 1272. The earliest document of literary activity in Yiddish dates from 1382. It was discovered in a cachet of manuscripts (genizah) in Cairo, and now it is housed in Cambridge University library.

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Originally published in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review © 1992 American Folklore Society.


The publication in which this item appeared has since ceased.


Date Posted: 22 September 2017