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The impact of Yiddish on the English language: An overview of lexical borrowing in the variety of subject areas and spheres of life influenced by Yiddish over time

  • Julia Schultz

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Yiddish has served the English language as a comparatively minor donor language of words and meanings over the course of time. However, Yiddish has provided English with a number of borrowings that have become fairly common in present-day usage. This paper provides a rounded overview of the different lexical domains to which Yiddish contributed in the form of new words and expressions over the centuries, which has been relatively neglected in existing studies. The focus of linguistic concern is on those Yiddish-derived terms that have become established in current English.

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Durkin, P. 1999. ‘Root and branch: Revising the etymological component of the OED.’ Transactions of the Philological Society, 97, 149.
Durkin, P. 2014. Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gove, P. B. 2007. Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. Webster's Unabridged searchable at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/shop-dictionaries/dictionaries/w3-unabridged (accessed January 24, 2018).
Murray, J., Bradley, H., Craigie, W. & Onions, C. (eds.) 1884–1933. The Oxford English Dictionary; Burchfield, R. (eds.) 1972–86. Supplement; Simpson, J. & Weiner, E. (eds.) 1989. OED (2nd edn.); Simpson, J., Weiner, E. & Proffitt, M. (eds.) 1993–97. OED Additions Series; Simpson, J. (eds.) 2000–. OED Online (3rd edn.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. OED Online available at: http://www.oed.com/ (accessed February 15, 2018).
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Schultz, J. (in preparation). The Influence of Yiddish on English throughout its History: A Linguistic and Socio-cultural Analysis.
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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
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