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Gradual Language Death: The Case Of Bessarabian Yiddish


  • Timofey Arkhangelskiy

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Natalia Tyshkevich

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


In this paper we present our fieldwork data from the Bessarabian Yiddish, formerly the main language of the Jewish population of Moldova. Social upheavals of the 20th century caused huge migration of Jews from Eastern Europe, leading to separation of survivors from their community. This situation has dramatically influenced their linguistic knowledge of Yiddish, showing structural changes characteristic for language loss. These changes include significant increase in variability and structural simplification due to paradigmatic leveling and influence of the dominant language. The paper presents two case studies that investigate these effects on different levels of language organization: the diminutive formation model and the periphrastic verbal construction

Suggested Citation

  • Timofey Arkhangelskiy & Natalia Tyshkevich, 2015. "Gradual Language Death: The Case Of Bessarabian Yiddish," HSE Working papers WP BRP 36/LNG/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:36/lng/2015

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    language death; Yiddish; diminutives; periphrastic constructions.;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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