This article touches on the challenges of creating the Yiddish course on the popular language-learning app Duolingo, as well as its importance in exposing more people from the U.S. to Yiddish as a full language instead of a punchline or handful of loan-words. [Published on 04-05-2021]
Bernie Sanders' accent, explainedPlay video
This video briefly explains some aspects of the New York accent, such as r-dropping and vowel raising. It also goes over how the New York accent is strongest in the working class, how movies have stigmatized the accent, and how young people are much less likely than older New Yorkers to have these features in their speech. I think this ties nicely into our discussion of the Labov and Mather because it discusses the general trend away from the New York accent that may be occurring.
This article discusses the revernacularization of Hebrew into a standard language in Palestine, and then gives examples of how political and interest groups carried out this implementation at a local level through an examination of the 1930s and 1940s city documents of a small Jewish settlement, Raanana. [Published on 01-01-2008]
The New York Jewish AccentPlay video
The idea of the Jewish-American accent highlights the ways in which language associates with a specific group of people and can sometimes be used as a way to stereotype a group of people. Generally, the Jewish accent is tied with the Brooklyn/New York accent, as the boroughs of New York are a big place for Jewish populations. Especially in mainstream media, like “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” have perpetuated the idea of the New Yorker Jew. The idea of code-switching and mixing languages is also prominent in the accent, as Jewish people are more likely to use Yiddish words in their everyday language. In the first media, Larry David amps up his Jewish slang and emphasizes his accent/Yiddish knowledge even more to make the other man know that he is Jewish. In the second video about Bernie Sanders, his accent is in part tied to his Judaism, as well as his hometown. Certain words and phrases, along with the accent, are sometimes tied almost to a learned part of language in Jewish families, especially in more religious households. (For another video of interest, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waeXBCUkuL8 [from 3:06])
In this article, the various features of what are commonly associated with the American Jewish accent are detailed. This accent is often associated with comedians such as Mel Brooks, Larry David, and Don Rickles. The accent, while not as widespread as it used to be, is still recognizable to listeners by the word order and intonation it borrows from Yiddish, Hebrew, and other languages of prominent Jewish communities. [Published on 09-26-2016]
Should Holocaust Denial be Criminalized?Play video
Fascinating example of rhetorical devices and traditions at the Oxford Union...Question is whether holocaust denial should be criminalized. Proponents narrow the scope of the debate, opponents broaden the issue well beyond holocaust denial. Also, I love the fact that at the Oxford Union, the speakers are introduced by their opposition in the debate...great device that illustrates the philosophy of this great institution.
Stephen Fry - The power of words in Nazi GermanyPlay video
Stephen Fry speaks about the power of language during the time of Nazi Germany and how using certain words to describe others can change everyone's perception of those people. This video significantly shows how language influences world-view.
A description of Bernie Sanders' accent. Includes brief discussions of vowel-raising and vocalization of r in New York City English, as well as of terminal t enunciation, which is linked to Jewish dialects of English. The decline in New York City English usage over time and its usage as linked to socioeconomic status are also discussed (compare with Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City.; and Mathers, Patrick-André. 2012. The social stratification of /r/ in New York City: Labov's department store study revisited). [Published on 02-18-2016]
Jewish American uses of YiddishPlay video
This Video contains Jewish Americans using select Yiddish words and Slang words such as JAP(Jewish American Princess).