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Then, in response to the Emancipation, there arose a strong interest in converting Ashkenazi society from the use of Yiddish to that of other, non-specifically Jewish vernaculars.
The influx of vocabulary from Hebrew-Aramaic and Slavic sources has created numerous word-initial clusters unknown in standard or dialectal German (bd-, px-, for example).
(In some countries the theater cultivated a pronunciation tradition separate from that which prevailed in public life and in the Yiddish schools.) The structural sketch in the following In the main, the Yiddish sound system has been determined by those German dialects which contributed the bulk of its basic lexical stock.
The language thus has a distinctive expiratory stress, which, though its place in a word is not fully predictable, nevertheless functions in several characteristic distributions.
, Yiddish was the virtually uncontested medium of oral communication among Jews from Holland to Ukraine, from Livonia to Romania, as well as in the Ashkenazi communities in Italy, the Balkans, Palestine.
Alongside Hebrew, it was also an important medium of literary and other written communication (see *Yiddish Literature ).
This was true of the old literary language, which held sway until the early decades of the 19 century, and is true again of Modern Standard Yiddish, which developed as a supraregional formation from the middle of that century.
The worldwide relative homogeneity of standard Yiddish is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that it developed without the aid of coercive forces such as are usually provided by a national state (especially through a unified school system); what uniformity there is must be attributed to the sheer centripetal, nation-forming will of the speech community.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.
YIDDISH LANGUAGE, language used by Ashkenazi Jews for the past 1,000 years.
Numerous syntactic-semantic distinctions are capable of being systematically conveyed by the melodic modulation of sentences.
The graphic basis of Yiddish writing is the Hebrew *alphabet , with some standardized diacritics: שׂ ,פ ,פּ ,כּ ,יַי ,יִ ,וּ ,ב ,אָ ,אַ, and תּ.
Most words of Hebrew-Aramaic origin retain the traditional orthography; the rest of the vocabulary is rendered in a system with generally excellent one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters or letter groups, but retaining, of course, the traditional Jewish conventions, such as those concerning final shapes of letters and initial silent א.