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Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction

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Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction

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A Linguistic Introduction

By Neil G. Jacobs
Cambridge University Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-521-10578-1

Reviewed by Herbert White - March 8, 2010

Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction is an academic text that provides a detailed overview of Yiddish - from its history to its morphology. This study was written by Neil G. Jacobs, a Professor in the Yiddish and Ashkenazic Studies program at the Ohio State University. Over the course of this study, Jacobs provides an overview of Yiddish language and linguistics, looking at Yiddish dialectology, phonology, morphology, and syntax. He also examines the sociolinguistic aspects of Yiddish including the differences between various Yiddish models and the various styles of spoken Yiddish.

While much of the information in this book may sound a bit intense to general readers, Jacobs' writing is clear and concise and he has a knack for making complex subjects understandable to non-specialist. For those in the fields of linguistics, Yiddish, Germanic Languages, or Jewish Studies will find that Jacobs writing is authoritative and concise, and he provides a comprehensive reference bibliography at the end of the books that will provide scholars with a wealth of reading material with which to further explore the study of the Yiddish language and linguistics.

Unlike many books on Yiddish linguistics that focus on only one subject, Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction will prove more useful to most readers as Jacobs provides a comprehensive, yet a succinct overview of all of the major aspects of Yiddish linguistics. This volume will serve not only scholars, but it can also be used profitably in the classroom for upper-level and graduate-level courses in Yiddish and in linguistic courses.

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