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ייִדיש yidish
Native to Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and elsewhere
Native speakers 1.8 million  (no date)[1]
11 million L2 speakers
Language family
Writing system uses a Hebrew-based alphabet
Official status
Official language in Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia
Recognised minority language in  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Regulated by no formal bodies;
YIVO de facto
Language codes
ISO 639-1 yi
ISO 639-2 yid
ISO 639-3 yidinclusive code
Individual codes:
ydd – Eastern Yiddish
yih – Western Yiddish
Linguasphere 52-ACB-g = 52-ACB-ga (West) + 52-ACB-gb (East); totalling 11 varieties

Yiddish is a language used by some Jews. At first it was a dialect of the German language which Jews began to use in Europe about a thousand years ago. It was (and is) used in the United States, especially in New York. Most of its words are of German origin. Also, Yiddish has many words from Hebrew and Slavic languages, notably Polish. Yiddish is usually written in Hebrew characters.

In the whole world, Yiddish is spoken by about 3 million people. It is mainly spoken by Hasidic Jews.

European Charter

In the Netherlands and Sweden, Yiddish is protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Related pages


  1. Yiddish, Eastern, on Ethnologue. Retrieved 11 March 2010.

Other websites