For Max Weinreich on His Seventieth Birthday: Studies in Jewish languages, literature, and society [Reprint 2021 ed.] 9783112415160, 9783112415153

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(Photo: Irene Fay)




Studies in Jewish Languages, Literature, and Society

1964 M O U T O N & CO. l o n d o n · THE H A G U E · paris


1964 B Y M O U T O N & C O . , P U B L I S H E R S , T H E H A G U E , T H E N E T H E R L A N D S .











& CO., P R I N T E R S , THE




N M A X W E I N R E I C H ' s pursuit of the manifold relationships between linguistics, history, sociology, psychology, and literature, he has touched on almost every field in the study of man. By stimulating a provocative interaction between Jewish and general scholarship, Max Weinreich has helped to broaden the interdisciplinary implications of Jewish studies beyond their own specialized domain. His work on Yiddish, in particular, has increased the world's understanding of a great culture and its linguistic vehicle; it has also challenged those engaged in other fields of Jewish studies to new scholarly initiative. The introduction of Yiddish into the American college and university curriculum, which would have been unlikely without his effort, testifies to the success of an educational and scholarly cause to which he has been dedicated. As co-founder of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research Max Weinreich has devoted a good part of his life to making it the academy of the Yiddish-speaking community. The pre-war generation of his colleagues and students would have joined in the present tribute had they not perished in the German holocaust which, in destroying European Jewry, consumed also its scholars and cultural treasures, including Yivo's staff and collections in Vilna. But Yivo has come to life again in post-war New York, with Max Weinreich symbolizing its reconstitution and its continuity. Friend and mentor, Max Weinreich has taught us throughout his many creative years. Having learned from him, we honor him on his seventieth birthday by presenting this volume to him with our affection and esteem. T H E O R G A N I Z I N G COMMITTEE



New Negation Constructions in Modern Hebrew



The Amarna Age Forerunners of Biblical Anti-Royalism



Notes on the Literary Idiom of the Baghdadi Jews



Louis Marshall and the Jewish Daily Forward: An Episode in Wartime Censorship, 1917-1918



A Note on the Monologue as a Literary Form: Sholem Aleichem's "Monologn" — A Test Case



U.S. Census Data on Mother Tongues: Review, Extrapolations and Predictions



Jewish Names in Early American Humor



Überreste Westjiddischer Dialekte in der Schweiz, im Eisass und in Süddeutschland





Crossing Water: A Folkloristic Motif



Channels of Systematic Extinction in Yiddish Dialects



The Creation of Accentual Iambs in European Poetry and Their First Employment in a Yiddish Romance in Italy (1508-09)



The Term Canaan in Medieval Hebrew



A Note on Methods of Research on the Economic History of the Jews . .



A Falasha Book of Jewish Festivals



The Systematic Interpretation of Gesture



The Jew and the Indian: Traces of a Confusion in the Hispanic Tradition. .



International Motifs in the Yiddish Ballad



Balkan and Slavic Elements in the Judeo-Spanish of Yugoslavia



Notes on the Languages of the Marranos and Sephardim in France . . . .



Western Traits in Transcarpathian Yiddish



The Ordeal of Bitter Waters and Andrea Del Sarto Abstracts of Yiddish Articles

265 269




Six Hundred Years of Yiddish Translations of Psalms



Sholem Aleichem in the Stock Languages: Notes on Translations of "Dos 499 tepl" into Ukrainian, German, Hebrew, English and Russian ISRAEL HALPERN

Water-Carriers' Societies*



Problems in the Study of the Shmuel-bukh



The Response of Second- and Third-Generation American Jews to the Catastrophe 448 YUDEL MARK

Neologisms in the Writings of Max Weinreich



Hebraisms in the Yiddish of 17th-Century Central Ashkenaz






Formal Problems in the Study of Yiddish Proverbs



Jacob Glatstein's Poetic Language



Gleanings from the Vocabulary of a 15th-Century Yiddish Manuscript Collection of Customs



The Two-Dimensional Conception of Reality in the World Image of Traditional East European Jewry * In Hebrew.





An Unknown Manuscript by Mendele Moykher-Sforim



The East European Versions of Tsene-Rene, 1786-1850



Max Weinreich's Translation of Freud



Bibliography of Max Weinreich's Writings Abstracts of English Articles

305 286



H I L E the influence of European languages on Modern Hebrew phonology and vocabulary has been the subject of considerable research, the corresponding problem in syntax has so far attracted little attention. In this paper 1 I would like to examine some new uses of negation in Modern Hebrew which have been strengthened by parallel constructions in the Slavic languages and in Yiddish. I. "SUPERFLUOUS" NEGATION

In Modern Colloquial Hebrew one often hears expressions like ma selo yihye ani avo (literally: "what will not be, I shall come", i.e. 'whatever happens, I shall come'). Another well-known expression in Hebrew is: al kol tsara Sela tavo etc. (literally: "on all troubles that will not come", i.e. 'whatever happens or whatever befalls'). This expression has no Biblical foundation, but it appeared once in Mishnaic Hebrew - with a different meaning. When the ancient Hebrew wished to express something that might happen in the future and which could not have been foreseen - and if this had to be a kind of condition for another action or for the avoidance of an action - his phrase did not contain the negating particle lo 'no'. What Modern Colloquial Hebrew expresses (with negation) by ma Selo yihye 'whatever happens' was rendered in antiquity by yihye ma Seyihye ("will be what will be"). The introduction of frequent "superfluous" negations in Modern Colloquial 1 A slightly different version of this paper was read before the Congress of the International Federation of Modern Languages and Literatures, New York, August, 1963. On "western" elements in Modern Hebrew word order, see my paper [Foreign Syntactic Elements in the Present-Day Language],

Leionenu la'am, LXV (1957), 3-7.



Hebrew has been noticed by a number of scholars, notably the late Professor Klausner, Η. Β. Ros6n, and Haim Blanc. Rosön, for instance, admits2 that he cannot identify the origin of this odd construction "We are accustomed, especially in the written language, sometimes to add an element lo, and it is hard to define its function here: Ιέ an selo telex ["where you not go", i.e. 'to whatever place you may go']; ma selo ta'ase ["what you shall not do", i.e. 'whatever you may do']. I cannot say what is the origin of this use, but I find the use of this expression no less odd in Mishnaic Hebrew ...." Yet the examples cited by Rosen from the Mishna are not relevant, because they illustrate the normal uses of conjunctions with negation for certain kinds of temporal sentences. H. Blanc recognizes in this negation construction the influence of Yiddish. But I think that such an explanation is too simple by itself. The language process that we see here is rather a result of various complicated elements. Selo tavo in the Mishna occurs in a parenthetical clause with optative meaning, and it is so translated by Professor Danby in his English version of the Mishna (Oxford U. P., 1953, p. 198): "They sound the shofar ('horn') because of any public distress - may it never befalll - but not because of too great abundance of rain" (Tractate Ta'anit III 8). A similar understanding of cal kol tsara selo tavo is found in the German translation of the Mishna: "Wegen jeder Notlage - möge die Gemeinde von keiner betroffen werden - stösst man in die Posaune mit Ausnahme eines Uebermasses an Regen" (Die sechs Ordnungen der Mischna, E. Baneth et al., Berlin, 1927). But in a note the translators write: "Selo tavo kann auch Euphemie für setavo sein: Wegen jeder Notlage, die über die Gemeinde hineinbricht" (ibid.). That is to say, the sporadic use of this redundant negation in Mishnaic Hebrew is considered as a euphemistic addition. But the same construction in Modern Colloquial Hebrew has a CONDITIONAL meaning: "whatever happens, I will do so and so; under all circumstances". This new meaning of the above-mentioned constructions and their much more frequent use is perhaps a result of two tendencies: on the one hand an original development, found also in many other languages3 and exemplified by the old usage in Hebrew; and, on the other hand, the influence of parallel constructions in the Slavic languages (cf. Polish colloquial co by nie bylo 'whatever happens'; Ukrainian de by ne zyly 'wherever they may live'). This Slavic construction, used often by new Hebrew speakers in their previous language, strengthened the original tendency in Hebrew. In some cases this Slavic influence may have reached Modern Colloquial Hebrew through Yiddish - itself, of course, also influenced by Slavic in Eastern Europe. 2 3

Ha'ivrit selanu (Tel Aviv, 1957), pp. 63f. H. Paul, Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (Halle, 1937), par. 120 (in the chapter on contamination).




A similar evolution of a double negation in a negative phrase, where "logically" the agent or the action are zero, is also a result of original development and foreign influence. The typical scheme of such a negative phrase in Biblical Hebrew used to be: S(ubject) - N(egation) P(redicate), or, in another order in the sentence, Ν Ρ - S. In Classical Greek and Latin, on the other hand, the scheme was: Ν S - P. Compare: (a) Biblical Hebrew: if lo lamad lifnehem (Esther 9:2, literally: "man not stood before them," i.e. 'no man could withstand them'). (b) Greek (Septuagint): oudeis gär anteste phoboümenos autous. (c) Latin (Vulgate): Nullusque ausus est resistere. In Biblical Hebrew, the single negation is joined to the predicate; in Greek and Latin, as in English, to the subject. In Slavic, the equivalent of this construction contains a double negation4 and the scheme is: NS - NP. That is to say, both the subject (mostly an indefinite pronoun) and the predicate come with negation, as in the following Polish and Russian corresponding phrases: Nikt siq nie ostal przed nimi; Nikto ne mog ustojat' pred licem ix. The same scheme appears in the well-known phrase from the New Testament (Matthew 6:24: 'no man can serve two masters'): oudeis dünatai dusi kuriois douleüein. Latin: Nemo potest duobus dominis servire. In Mishnaic Hebrew, we find lo yaxol is lesaret sney adonim: the negation lo is connected with the verb yaxol ('can'). In Slavic, we again see the double negation: nikt nie moze sluzyc dwom panom; nikto ne mozet sluzW dvum gospodam. Of course, also in Yiddish: keyner kon nit dinen tsvey ham (The New Testament, translated by Henry Einspruch, Baltimore, 19592, p. 12), while in German translation: Niemand kann zwei Herren dienen. For the object-phrases the scheme is in Biblical Hebrew: Ν Ρ - O(bject) or Ο Ν Ρ: in Greek and Latin: Ρ - Ν Ο, and in the Slavic languages: NP - N O . Compare: Kol malaxa lo ta'asu (Leviticus 23, 3; literally: "every work not you-shall-do," i.e. you shall do no work'), as in Latin: nullumque opus facietis, and in Slavic: zadnej roboty nie bqdziecie robic; nikakogo dela ne delajte. The corresponding phrase in the Septuagint depends on the Hebrew syntax and is an instance of typical "translation Greek". In Mishnaic (post-Biblical) Hebrew the construction of the above-mentioned negation phrase did not change, but a new pronoun, sum (perhaps of Aramaic origin = 4 Cf. A. Meillet, Le Slave commun (Paris, 19342), p. 476; W. Vondräk, Slavische Grammatik, vol. II (Göttingen, 19282), pp. 401f.



Hebr. Sem 'name') came to be joined to the subject or object, and became a basis for a new development. First this word Sum was used both in positive and in negative phrases, as in the following examples from the Talmud: lo haya bahem Sum dofi and also haya bahem sum dofi (in an English translation: " . . . some matter of taint was found in them"; Tractate Temura, 15b); or in a phrase with negating verb: afilu Sum qurva asur (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabat, 13a, in English translation: "even any form of intimacy is forbidden", and in German translation: "jede Annäherung"). In the later evolution of this use, Sum appears in negative phrase only, and this was the basis for a new scheme of negation in Modern Colloquial Hebrew. For many Modern Hebrew speakers with a Slavic background, the old Semitic scheme of a negative phrase with one negation seemed insufficient. It was too hard for them to adopt this new type of negative phrase after having used for many years the Slavic scheme with two negations. And so the word Sum, which appears in later Hebrew in negative phrases only, was understood by the "Slavic" Hebrew speakers as a negation in itself. Sum davar, without any predicate of negative meaning, acquired the meaning 'nothing' rather than 'anything'. "Formalists" prefer to see in sum davar an ellipsis, an answer to a question. But I prefer to see in this evolution in Modern Colloquial Hebrew a foreign inspiration with an original Hebrew construction. In our case the inspiration was Slavic, also perhaps through Yiddish. In my opinion, the Modern Colloquial Hebrew phrase: sum davar lo kara "nothing has not happened" corresponds to the Slavic scheme of double negation: Ν S - Ν P. Both sum and lo are understood in negative meanings. This is also the reason why many Colloquial Hebrew speakers prefer to use phrases like: sum davar lo kara, Sum iS lo niS'ar ('nothing happened', 'nobody remained'), instead of davar lo kara, iS lo niS'ar, which are more correct as old Biblical phrases, and also form the basis of Standard Hebrew today. This "double" negation in Modern Colloquial Hebrew may thus be said to be the result of genuine development, not depending on an external substratum; this double negation is well known in many languages as a general tendency to "concord of negatives" 5 to define "emphasizing of the negative idea by seemingly redundant repetitions". Jespersen cites examples in Old English, in the English of Chaucer's time, and even in the vulgar speech of our own days, and adds: "Standard Modern English is content with one negation: no man knew anything, etc." Even if the new use of negation in Modern Colloquial Hebrew is original, it was strengthened by the influence of the parallel constructions in the Slavic languages, which, like Yiddish, were and are to this very day spoken in some family circles of the older generation and of the newcomers in Israel. 5

O. Jespersen, Language (London, 1922), p. 352.



Of course, together with the new, "western" use of negation, the old Semitic or "eastern" construction (S - N P ; NP - O) continues to exist in the Standard Modern Hebrew. THE HEBREW




Τ IS well known that an unfriendly or openly hostile attitude toward royal power is expressed in many places in the Bible. This anti-royalist tendency . 1 appears particularly marked in the book of the prophet Hosea, whose activity belongs to the thirties and twenties of the 8th century,1 the period of internal and external political crisis of the Kingdom of Israel which ended with its annexation by Assyria in 722. For Hosea, the rule of kings and their subordinates, the regional princes, was an expression of injustice and oppression :2 "By their wickedness they make the king glad, and the princes with their treachery" (7:3). In defiance of the prevailing official conception of royalty as divinely established, Hosea declared in Yahweh's name: "They made kings, but not through me; they set up princes, but without my knowledge" (8:4a), and even more categorically: "I have given you kings in my anger, and I have taken them away in my wrath" (13:11). Monarchy, in Hosea's eyes, is no less apostasy than is idolatry, with which it is often coupled the same verses (e.g., 8: 4b). "For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim" (3:4), and only then they will be able to return to Yahweh (3:5).3 A further development of Hosea's anti-royalism appears in the latest stratum of the story of Samuel and Saul (I Sam. 8). In sharp contrast to the older version (I Sam. 9:15-17), where God himself elected Saul in order to save Israel from the Philistines, the anti-royalist story proclaims the ideal of theocracy, in which God rules through his representative the prophet, while monarchy is equated with defection from God. In this version Samuel gives an extremely vivid and detailed description 1

All dates quoted in this article are B.C. Biblical quotations are given according to the Revised Standard Version. 3 On Hosea's anti-royalism, cf. Adolphe Lods, The Prophets and the Rise of Judaism, transl. by S. H. Hooke (London, 1950), pp. 93-94. 2



of the abuses of royal power (8:10-17), reflecting the conditions of a period of sharpened social antagonisms, disappointment in monarchy, and growing priestly and prophetic claims for secular power.4 In Deuteronomy (which expresses the trends of the late 7th century), an attempt is made to limit the king's authority (17:14-20). Another aspect of anti-royalist tendencies in certain circles of Israel and Judah is the deroyalization of the Hebrew legend and epic. While the legendary tales of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Ugaritians and Greeks have kings predominantly as their heroes, the Biblical ancestral legend deals with modest patriarchal heads of nomadic families, and the vestiges of its original royal character are virtually unrecognizable.5 The lists of the antediluvian ancestors of mankind in Genesis 4 and 5 derive from analogous Sumerian lists; but while the latter emphatically speak of a succession of kings and royal cities,6 no reference to kingship is made in the Biblical versions. It seems very plausible that the "nomadic ideal", which permeates the works of Hosea and his successors,7 had a strong impact upon the final composition of the Genesis stories.8 However, while the conditions of the late royal period could have strengthened and deepened anti-royalist feelings in Israel and Judah, they did not entirely create them: manifestations of such feelings can be traced back much earlier. The story of David preserves the ancient slogan of an insurrection against his rule: "We have no portion in David, / and we have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; / every man to his tent, Ο Israel!" (II Sam. 20:1). The oldest evidence of ideological anti-royalism in the Bible is the parable of Jotham (Judg. 9:7-15) in the story of Abimelech's shortlived attempt to establish a kingdom in and around Shechem (probably in the early 11th century).9 The parable ridicules the very essence of kingship: no useful tree (olive, fig tree, vine) agrees to assume kingship over the trees; only the useless thornbush eagerly accepts the invitation, promising to shelter the other trees in its shadow (irony) if they submit, and threatening, if they do not, to burn the cedars of Lebanon. Biblical scholars agree in dating the parable very early because of its polytheistic and anthropomorphic approach, and assume that it correctly reflects the attitude of the pre-monarchic period in Israelite history.10 4

Cf. Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, reprint (New York, 1957), pp. 248-249, 254-256; Adolphe Lods, Histoire de la litterature hebraique et juive (Paris, 1950), pp. 317-322. 5 They are cited by Cyrus H. Gordon, Before the Bible (New York, 1962), p. 143. 6 Recent translation: A. Leo Oppenheim in James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 2d ed. (Princeton, 1955), p. 265. 7 First described by Karl Budde, "Das nomadische Ideal im Alten Testament", Preussische Jahrbücher, 1896, pp. 57 ff. 8 Bernhard Luther, "Die Persönlichkeit des Jahwisten", in Eduard Meyer, Die Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstämme (Halle, 1906), pp. 105-173. 9 Ernst Sellin, Wie wurde Sichern eine israelitische Stadt? (Leipzig, 1923), pp. 27-30, adduced proof that Jotham's parable formed an integral part of the oldest version of the story. 10 Adolphe Lods, Hist, de la litt, hebr., pp. 68-69.



My late teacher Adolphe Lods, in his remarkable history of ancient Hebrew literature, characterized the time and conditions of the composition of Jotham's parable: It certainly does not go back to the times when the Israelites still were nomads: Bedouins do not practice arboriculture. Olive, fig and vine are the three principal fruit trees of Palestine. On the other hand, the parable can hardly derive from the Canaanites, virtually all of whom lived under kings and seem to have been very attached to the monarchic regime. It expresses, on the contrary, very exactly the feelings that the Hebrew tribes might have had after their passage to agricultural life in Palestine, and before the Philistine danger forced them to accept the institution of a national monarchy.11 In another passage of the same work, Lods stated that the attempt to establish a central power during the period of the Judges "always failed because of the incorrigible spirit of independence of the Israelite clans".12 This is only partially true. Attributing anti-royalist tendencies before and during the formation of the Israelite kingdom exclusively to the freedom-loving traditions of the Hebrew tribes, in contrast to the alleged innate monarchism of the Canaanites, is an oversimplification. The related peoples of the Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites, who settled in territories where there were no Canaanite cities and who continued to live in conditions much closer to ancient nomadism than did the Israelites,13 nevertheless turned to monarchy earlier than they.14 The Canaanites, on the other hand, were involved in a series of violent revolutionary activities of an explicitly anti-royalist character, which took place in many regions of Syria and Palestine in the Amarna Age (c. 1380-1340). For reasons set down elsewhere,15 we share the opinion that the settlement of the Israelite tribes in Palestine was part of a vast movement of West Semitic nomadic elements (comprehensively designated in the second millennium by the term Habiru), and their gradual occupation of several places in Syria and Palestine, as described in the reports to the Pharaoh of Egypt by his Canaanite vassals in the archives of Tell el-Amarna. The penetration of Hebrew clans into Canaan coincided with a sharp political and social crisis in the life of the Canaanite city-states, aggravating it and interacting with it. The stormy and dramatic Amarna Age initiated the transition from Canaanite to Hebrew Palestine. Its events must necessarily have influenced the conditions of the intermediary period of HebreoCanaanite coexistence, traditionally designated as the time of the Judges. The society which existed in Syria and Palestine of the Amarna Age was character11

Ibid., p. 69. Ibid., p. 320. 13 On absence of Late Bronze Age cities in Edom and Transjordan, cf. Nelson Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (New Haven, 1945), pp. 121-123. On the pre-eminence of sheep-breeding in Moab, cf. II Kings 3:4. 14 Gen. 36:31; Judg. 3:12; 11:12. 15 Michael Astour, [The Problem of Habiru and of the Conquest of Canaan], Bieter far geshikhte, XI (1958), pp. 59-90. 18



ized by sharp differentiation and deep inequality. According to the available and quite numerous data, it was divided in three main classes: the aristocracy, which provided the elite corps of charioteers; townspeople, organized in various vocational guilds under strict supervision of the state; and the broad mass of peasantry in open villages. The king was, in theory, the unique ruler of the state, and his authority was enhanced by an ancient religious halo. But his power was, in fact, limited by the aristocracy. In smaller states, the king was restricted and controlled by oligarchic city-councils or senates, while in the larger territorial states he was no more than a primus inter pares of a feudal confederation, or he had to reward his grandees by bestowing upon them towns and villages with tax exemption. The peasants, though personally free, were attached to the soil, subject to compulsory work and deliveries of their produce, and apparently taillable et corveable ά merci. In cases of emergency, they were mobilized into the army, occupying the lowest ranks.16 The weakening of the Egyptian overlordship and the advancement into Syria of the Hittite power divided the Canaanite states into two principal hostile camps, and drove one of them toward an alliance with the nomadic Hebrew tribes. This, in turn, caused internal splits in many states and open conflicts among their antagonistic social groups. Reports of such struggles are contained in Amarna letters from several parts of Egypt's disintegrating Asian empire. The most abundant information is provided by the letters of Rib-Addi, the king of the Phoenician city of Gubla (Byblos). Though Byblos was not situated on the territory of the later Israelite possessions, Rib-Addi's numerous and diffuse letters help us better understand similar, but less detailed messages from Palestinian cities. We shall therefore start with them.17 The principal event in the history of Middle Syria of the Amarna Age was the forcible unification of a number of small city-states into a large state, which assumed the historical regional name of Amurru. This was accomplished by a certain AbdiAshirta, a usurper of non-royal blood, as seen in Rib-Addi's contemptuously calling him ardu kalbu "the servant, the dog". In his fight against the royal dynasties of the smaller cities, he relied upon an army composed of nomads. 18 These military forces

16 A comprehensive study of the social conditions in Canaan in the A m a r n a Age has not yet been written, but articles examining the evidence of particular sources agree in the main. 17 The Tell el-Amarna letters (EA) are quoted according to the numeration of J. A. Knudtzon, Die el-Amarna Tafeln (Leipzig, 1907-1915), adopted, with additions, by Samuel A. B. Mercer, The Tell el-Amarna Tablets (Toronto, 1939). Wherever possible, we followed the latter's English translation, but corrected it as the Akkadian original required. The ideogram SA. G A Z or G A Z , in particular, is constantly rendered by its established phonetic value, Habiru. Since this article is not a philological study, personal names and Akkadian words are transliterated in a simplified way, without using special diacritical marks. le Under Aziru, Abdi-Ashirta's son, the state of Amurru consisted of "lands" (settled territories) and "Sutu-warriors" (a well-known West Semitic nomadic tribe of the Syrian desert). During Aziru's absence, the Sutu "stole out from the lands" (EA 169:24-30).



Rib-Addi simply calls Habiru. 19 Cities that were conquered by Abdi-Ashirta or had surrendered to his power also provided their military contingents for the army of Amurru. 20 The predominance of the Habiru element and the combination under a single authority of newly arrived nomadic tribes and ancient autonomous cities strongly recalls analogous political formations earlier in Mesopotamia and later in Israelite Palestine.21 Since Abdi-Ashirta had supported the Hittites, the cities which he threatened sought help from their Egyptian overlord. Byblos was the principal, and finally the only, Egyptian-oriented city in that part of Syria. One by one, it lost its dependent towns, sustaining a heavy land blockade by the Habiru forces of Abdi-Ashirta and his successor Aziru and a sea blockade by the fleet of their ally, the North Phoenician city of Arwad. According to Rib-Addi's letters to the Pharaoh, the grain supply of beleaguered Byblos appears as one of its gravest problems. Under these difficult circumstances, the semi-free peasantry, whom Rib-Addi designated by the term hubshu,22 took a hostile attitude and openly sympathized with the adversary. "I am afraid that the hubshu will slay me," confessed Rib-Addi (EA 77:36-37), and asked dramatically: "From whom shall I protect myself? From my enemies or from my hubshuT' (EA 112:10-13). "As for me, the enemy has become powerful [again]st me. I fear my hubshu. (...) What shall I do? Let the king send a garrison a[nd] the pe[ople] of Miluha (Ethiopia) to protect me, that the city may not unite with the Habiru" (EA 112:89-90, 92-94). In several letters, Rib-Addi complained that the defense potential of Byblos was weakened because of the hubshu's mass desertion (EA 114:21; 118:21-28, 36-38; 125:25-30; 127:31-34). In one instance, we learn an important cause of the peasants' flight from Byblos: "Now, the country is conquered, for the people have deserted in order to take the country for themselves, and there is no one to guard the city of Gubla" (EA 129a: 33-38): this seems to point to seizure by the peasants of abandoned estates of the nobility. But the opposition of the lower classes was not limited to passive resistance: the advance of the Habiru encouraged them to more decisive acts against their rulers. "What should I do", asked Rib-Addi, "I, who dwell among the Habiru? If there are now no provisions of the king for me to distribute, then my hubshu will rebel" (EA 19 "What is Abdi-Ashirta, the servant, the dog ...? What is his family? Verily, by means of the mighty Habiru his family has become great" (EA 71:16-22); cf. EA 68:13, 18; 91:5; 108:62-63; 112:46; 132:19-21, and quotations further in the text. 20 "The sons of [Abdi]-Ashirta have said to the Habiru and to the people whom they have absorbed" (EA 121:19-22). 21 Cf. the double kingship - over a city and a newly arrived tribe - in the Mesopotamia of the 18th century (several instances cited by Jean-Robert Küpper, Les Nomades en Mesopotamie au temps des rois de Mari (Paris, 1957), pp. 50-53); Abimelech's kingship over Shechem and a part of Israel (Judg. 9) is a phenomenon of the same type. 22 A summary of the Ai/fes/m-question is given by Isaac Mendelsohn, "The Canaanite Term for 'Free Proletarian,'" Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 83 (1941), 36-39, and "New Light on the Hupshu", ibid., No. 139 (1955), 9-11.



130:36-42). This had already happened in the towns subordinated to Byblos: "All my cities, that are in the mountains and on the sea shore, have united with the Habiru. Gub(la), with two cities, is left to me", and further: "If there is not a man to deliver me out of the hand of the enemy, and we - the regents 23 - are put out of the lands, then all lands will unite with the Habiru" (EA 74:19-21, 32-36). The popular pro-Habiru movements in the city-states of Syria were characterized by a pronounced and consistent anti-royalism, skillfully encouraged by Abdi-Ashirta: "When he wrote to the people of Ammia: 'Kill your lord', and they joined with the Habiru, then said the regents: 'Thus will he do to us'. And so all lands will join with the Habiru" (EA 73:26-33). In another report, Rib-Addi stated that the king of Ammia was not the only victim of the overturn: "And behold, now Abdi-Ashirta has taken Shigata to himself and said to the people of Ammia : 'Kill your princes. Then you will be as we are, and you will have rest.' And they did according to his words, and have become as the Habiru" (EA 74-23-29). According to this extremely interesting piece of evidence, "to be as the Habiru" meant to live without royal authority. The primitive intra-tribal equality of the nomadic intruders, who had not yet developed the state organs of exploitation and coercion, must have strongly appealed to the oppressed lower classes of Canaanite society. This Abdi-Ashirta exploited, for though he himself aspired to becoming monarch of a vast region, he conducted an intense propaganda campaign against traditional legitimate royalty. In his policy and demagoguery, he may well be compared to the later Greek tyrants of the 7th and 6th centuries. The pattern of the events in Ammia was repeated in several other cities: "Ad [una], king of Irqata, mercenaries have killed, and there is no one who had said anything to Abdi-Ashirta, although thou didst know (it). Miya, the man of Arashni, has overcome Ardata, and, behold, now the people of Ammi have killed its lord. So I am afraid" (EA 75:25-34). From a later letter from Byblos we learn that the king of Eldata ( = Ardata) perished together with those of Irqata and Ammia (EA 139:14-15). Rib-Addi's own life was threatened by Abdi-Ashirta's propaganda; he wrote: "Gubla and Beru[na] are left to me, and (these) two cities he seeks to take, and he has said to the people of Berun[a]: 'Kill your lord.' And [they] uni[te] themselves with [the] Habiru, like Amm[ia]" (EA 81:9-13). He describes an attempt to murder him, accusing Abdi-Ashirta of having plotted it (ibid.: 14-19). Beruna actually joined Abdi-Ashirta's camp: "And when it was heard that no (Egyptian) soldiers were with him (Rib-Addi's messenger), then Beruna united with him, and the Habiru and chariots are stationed there" (EA 87:18-22). An uprising against Rib-Addi then erupted in Gubla itself; Rib-Addi put it down (EA 138:34-39), but in the end he was ousted from the city and, characteristically, the people of Gubla demanded his extra23

The Canaanite rulers were kings (sharru) with respect to their subjects, but regents (hazannu) with respect to their Egyptian overlord.



dition from Beruta (Beirut) in order to put him to death (ibid.: 11-14).24 Ironically, Abdi-Ashirta, who encouraged regicides, met death at the hands of his own subjects (EA 101:5-6, 29-31). Rib-Addi considered the moment propitious for restoring monarchy and he advised the Pharaoh: "Appoint one man, one man inside (each) city" (ibid.: 27-28). The pressure of the Habiru and the defection of the local population to them took place also in Southern Phoenicia. Still in Abdi-Ashirta's time a coup d'etat took place in Tyre. Rib-Addi reported to the Pharaoh: "See the deed of Tyre ... They have really killed their regent together with my sister and her children" (EA 89:10-11, 20-21). Twice he stressed the fact that "this city has not a regent" (ibid.: 41), "the house of Tyre is not the house of a regent" (ibid.: 48-49). A little later, Zimrida, king of Sidon, complained: "All towns, which the king has given into [m]y ha[n]d, have united with the Habiru" (EA 144:24-26). This was evidently the main cause of Zimrida's alliance with Aziru, the new ruler of Amurru and head of the Habiru forces. Conditions in South Syria and Palestine were not different. Some rulers were forced by their subjects into alliance with the Habiru; some who resisted were slain. Thus, a ruler of the region of Damascus writes to the Pharaoh: "And, behold, my brother, who is in Tubihi, is a rebel, and he goes to take the towns of the king, my lord, my god, m[y] sun. [He makes] the Amuri-lands hostile, a[nd] all the people wh[o] are in the towns of the king... (turned) to the Habiru" (EA 179:14-22). A queen who called herself "Lady of the Lions", reports: "Let the king, my lord, know that hostility is practiced in the land, and, therefore, the land of the king, my lord, through desertion, (belongs) to the Habiru" (EA 273:8-14). Another ruler states: "[Let] the king, my lord, [kn]ow, [tha]t the regents, [who were] in the city [of my lo]rd, are no more, [and (that) the who]le land of the king, my [lor]d, has fallen away to the Habiru" (EA 272:10-17). Two allied kings of South West Palestine, Milkili and Shuwardata, began by actively fighting the Habiru (EA 267-271; 273:15-16; 290a), but their situation soon became hopeless. Milkili wrote to the Pharaoh: "Let the king, my lord, know that hostility against me and against Shuwardata has become mighty. So let the king, my lord, deliver his land out of the hand of the Habiru. If not, then let the king, my lord, send chariots to take u[s], so that our servants may not smite us" (EA 271:9-21). The failure of Egypt to provide military help and the abuses of the local Egyptian governor-general led to Milkili's and Shuwardata's alliance with the Habiru, as we learn from the letters of their neighbor Abdihiba, the loyalist king of Jerusalem (EA 287:29-31; 289; 290). In his letters Abdihiba gives an alarming picture of the situation in Palestine, which was being gradually abandoned to the Habiru. Some of his statements shed light on the social aspect of the struggle which he describes. An intruding tribe, the 24

Rib-Addi was finally killed, and Aziru was considered responsible for his death (EA 139:37-39; 162-1-14).



"very mighty house of the Kashiya",25 "have committed a heavy (and) great crime: [they ha]ve taken their weapons, and the [possessors of stallions ar[e] abolish[ed]" (EA 287:32-37). Possession of horses was the status symbol of the ruling aristocracy, the war/'a««M-charioteers.2e "I was nearly killed by the Kashiya-people in my house," adds Abdihiba {ibid.: 73-75). He regards the action of the Habiru as specially directed against the city-kings: "Behold, there are [n]o arc[hers].27 Let the king, my lord, [send a governo]r, and let him take [the regjents with him" (EA 285:15-19). "All regents are lost: there remains not a regent to the king, the lord" (EA 286:51-52). "No regent is (left) to the king, my lord; all are lost. Behold, Turbazu has been kill[ed] in the gate of Zilü, yet the king holds himself back. Behold, Zimrida of Lakisi servants, who have joined with the [H]a[b]i[r]u, have smitten him. Iaptih-Adda is slain [i]n the gate of Zilü" (EA 288:39-46). This information is confirmed in the letter of another South Palestinian king: "Le[t the kin]g, my lord, [know] that n[o soldie]rs [are here], and (that) Tu[rbazu and] Iaptihada are slain, and (that) [L]akishi has practiced hostility]" (EA 335:7-10). It is noteworthy that Turbazu and IaptihAdda were killed in the city-gate of Zilü, i.e., at the customary place of public meetings, celebrations, trials and executions.28 Apparently they were put to death in a solemn ritual ceremony. The book of Joshua tells that the body of a captive Canaanite king, executed by hanging from a tree, was "cast at the entrance of the gate of the city," and a great heap of stones was raised over it (Josh. 8:29). This archaic rite may provide a parallel to what happened at the gate of Zilü. These quotations from the Amarna letters, which do not exhaust the evidence on this subject, clearly show that intense and consistent anti-royalism was one of the most remarkable features of the social movements in the Canaanite lands of the 14th century. At least ten city-kings were killed, not by external enemies, but by their own subjects. There were probably many more regicides, to judge from the panic that seized the surviving kings, who felt themselves in permanent danger. True, regicides were not unknown in Babylonia, Assyria, Israel and Judah. But in these countries the slain king was immediately replaced by some other pretender to the throne. The murder of the king resulted only in a change of ruler. The regicides in Canaan of the Amarna Age were distinguished by an important peculiarity: the murder of the king simultaneously abolished royalty and introduced a republican regime. We have seen that according to the propaganda of Abdi-Ashirta, "to be like the Habiru" and to have peace was equivalent to living without royal power (above, p. 11). Thus, in Irqata, the slain king Aduna was not replaced by any other bearer of royal 25

On that tribe, cf. Astour, op. cit., 76-78. Cf., e.g., Roger O'Callaghan, "New Light on the mariannu as 'Chariot-Warrior,'" Jahrbuch für kleinasiatische Forschungen, I (1950/51), 309-324. 27 I.e., regular Egyptian troops. 28 Cf. Gilgamesh epic III: iv: 37-38 (Pritchard, op. cit., p. 80); 2 Aqht: V: 4-8 (Cyrus H. Gordon, Ugaritic Manual, Rome, 1955, p. 182); Gen. 34:20; Deut. 17:5; II Kings 7:1; Amos 5:12; Ruth 3:11. 26



dignity. Instead, the city became a self-governing republican community. The style of its letter to the Pharaoh ( E A 100) conspicuously manifests the change in its regime. Unlike the majority of letters from Canaan, which begin with the name of the local king from whom the letter was sent, E A 100 is written in the name of the entire community: "This tablet is a tablet from Irqata. T o the king our lord. Thus says Irqata and the people of its inheritance" ( E A 100:1-4). In Ammia, where the people had killed the king and the princes, the government was maintained by "the chief and the masters of the city" who were "in alliance with the sons of Abdi-Ashirta" ( E A 102: 20-23). The title " c h i e f " (rabu) designated a high official in the Amarna letters, but never one of royal rank, and the term "masters of the city (bele äli) applied to all inhabitants enjoying full rights.29 It is not known whether the city of Sumur had its own king while it served as the residence of the Egyptian governor-general in Northern Phoenicia. However, after it had been occupied for some time by Abdi-Ashirta, it was ruled by "chiefs" (rabüti), even when it became temporarily independent from Abdi-Ashirta's successor ( E A 157:11-12). Tyre, too, after the murder of its king Abimilki, ceased to be "the house of a regent" ( E A 89:49). Gubla, after several shifts that followed the overthrow of Rib-Addi, returned to the pro-Egyptian camp, and one of its prominent citizens, Ilirapih, assumed power. However, he began his letters: " [ T o ] the king, my lord, my sun. Thus says Gubla, thy handmaid; thus says Ilirapih, thy servant" ( E A 140:1-3; 139:1-3 Ilirapih goes before Gubla). This shows that Ilirapih was only the chairman of the ruling council. Arwad, an important maritime city, was a republic in the Amarna age; it was completely independent and not subject to the kings of Amurru: "the people of A r w a d " always figure in the letters as an ally equal to Amurru in their common fight against cities of the pro-Egyptian camp. Thus, we read: "Zimrida of Zidon and Azira, the enemy of the king, and the people of Arwada have sworn, and they have repeated the agreement with one another, and they have assembled their ships, their chariots, their infantry, to conquer Tyre, the handmaid of the king" ( E A 149:57-63). Another example of diplomatic formulary used by non-royal cities appears in the letter from Tunip: " T o the king of the land of Egypt, our lord. Thus say the sons of Tunip, thy servants

M y lord, Tunip, thy servant, speaks, saying" etc. ( E A 59:1-2,5).

Tunip was opposed to Aziru and was not anti-royalist. The ease of the transition from personal to collective rule demonstrates that the city-states of Canaan possessed the necessary institutions even under the royal regime. W e observe the same basic distinction in the Amarna letters from the territory that was to become Israel and Judah. In cities headed by kings, the king personally figures as the active side; if, on the contrary, the subject of an action is the city as such, it signifies that monarchy had been overthrown there. Thus, we have seen that after Zimrida, king of Lachish (Lakishi), was killed by his subjects at the same time Turbazu and Iaptih-Adda were 29

Cf. ba'ale Sh'kem,

ba'ale Qe'tlä on the following page.



murdered in Zilü (above, p. 13) the city of Lachish began to be treated as a collective personality: "Tu[rbazu and] Iaptihada are slain, and [L]akishi has practiced hostility], ... Lakishi is hostile and has con[quer]ed Muhrashti" (EA 335:8-10, 16-17). When Abdihiba of Jerusalem speaks of local kings who entered into alliance with the Habiru, he mentions them by their names, e.g., "Behold, this deed is the deed of Milkili and the deed of the sons of Labaya, who have given the land of the king to the Habiru" (EA 287:29-31). But in the same letter he states: "Behold, the land of [G]azri, the land of Ashqaluna and the city of L[akis]i have given them food, oil and everything" {ibid.: 14-16). This agrees, as to Lachish, with what we know about the murder of its king. We see thus that in both the northern and southern areas of Habiru penetration, the interplay of internal and external circumstances led to a marked decline of citykingship and to a corresponding growth of power of the municipal councils. In the North, this trend did not last long; in the Phoenician cities, kings emerged again beside the city-councils.30 In the South, however, where Hebrew tribes gained a stronger foothold, the evolution toward republican institutions continued in the Canaanite cities which had allied themselves with the newcomers. In the Amarna Age, cities which supported the Habiru, still possessed kings: Labaya in Shechem (succeeded by his two sons), Milkili in the region west of Jerusalem, and Shuwardata in Keilah. Toward the end of the second millennium, they were still self-governing municipal units, friendly to the Israelites but not identified with them, and now without kings. Shechem, according to the story of Abimelech, was ruled by its citizens {bcfale Shekem, Judg. 9:2 et pass.) and probably by a smaller council called BetMilld {ibid.: 6, 20). The Gibeonite confederacy of four cities which largely coincided with the former kingdom of Milkili, was now ruled by "elders and all inhabitants of the land" (Josh. 9:11), and Gibeon was compared in size with "one of the royal cities" (Josh. 10:2), which means that it was not one of them. In Keilah, decisions were taken by the basale QeHlä (I Sam. 23:11-12). According to some biblical information, both the Shechemites and the people of the Gibeonite confederacy belonged to the subdivision of the Canaanites known as Hiwites (Gen. 34:2; Josh. 9:7). The similarity of their political system was ascribed to their common origin.31 But we have seen that their evolution toward republican institutions was due to the political 'events of the Amarna Age. The term "Hiwites" was most probably not an ethnic, but a political designation (the pre-Hebrew population of Canaan was not organized along tribal or ethnic lines); in our opinion, it referred to those natives who had abandoned monarchy 30

Cf. John A. Wilson, "The Assembly of a Phoenician City", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, IV (1945), 245; Georges Contenau, La civilisation phenicienne (Paris, 1949), pp. 96-97, on municipal administration in Phoenicia. 81 Sellin, op?ttt., 8 ρ κ /ltfp'DJ'jn 8 |8D~iyjJV 8 P3 Τ * "" ' " β

the hemming-and-hawing of the hapless young man in "An eytzeh". The stylistic ingredients of such a technique are obvious enough. Not unlike a "realistic" dialogue, a skaz-type monologue allows ample scope for subliterary verbal materials - the relative formal incoherence and "sloppiness" typical of ordinary discourse, "slangy", substandard expressions, dialectal peculiarities, inane misuses of language characteristic of the uneducated or semi-educated speakers. At the same time, as the last item may imply, skaz tends to function as mode of characterization. The class-determined deviations from the linguistic norm betray the speaker's or narrator's social and educational status,5 even while his idiosyncratic verbal mannerisms often reveal hid personality traits. Thus, in " Yosef" the already mentioned boastful refrain in the narrative of the successful young tradesman, reveals what one might call a worried smugness. Overtly, the note sounded here is that of self-satisfaction and conceit, but the obsessive repetition of this phrase, in the context of a story about a major emotional setback, may indicate an urgent need for self-reassurance. Consider this passage from "An eytzeh": Din ,DD"n Dtp V 8 PS . . . t«0~1J?MV 8 ,JDM1 "VK BB18T ,ΤΚ P3 DyDc j n y j « jayp u p ,}j$t tyo jyp ütjüt? 8 ,5üyDB> yj"5p p'p pk teyöB' .foyt>B> 8 Dy BD"n Here the oscillation - what Trunk has called the "hin un tsurik" (back and forth) 5 It goes without saying that this can be true of written monologue as well. Thus, an epistolary novel, such as Dostoevsky's Poor Folk, can emulate faithfully the stilted, pseudo-literary style of a semi-educated "little man", Makar Devuäkin. The difference here is not of kind, but rather of degree. Since actual speech is less formalized (or more casual) than written language, the deviations from the norm assert themselves more exuberantly in oral monologue.



of the prose® underscores the narrator's pathological indescision and sense of inadequacy. It could be interposed here that this character-forming and/or articulating function is no monopoly of monologue. Any strongly differentiated dialogue yields not only through the tenor, but also through the distinctive style of the alternating utterances, some clues as to the personalities involved. Yet the "monologuist" is not merely one of the protagonists; his is a strategic position, since it is through him that the story - or a large part of it - is mediated. The narrator's moral and intellectual range defines the narrative focus, the vantage point from which the events are presented. Whenever - as is so often the case with the skaz - the story-teller is characterized mainly by limitations of sensibility and intelligence, betrayed by his use of language, we are confronted with what I would like to call a "worm's-eye view of reality". (Needless to say, this technique is quite compatible with the written brand of IchErzählung). In R. Lardner's "The Haircut" the revolting exploits of a local bully are related admiringly by a barber whose moral coarseness prevents him from registering a proper response to the situation. In Gogol's "How Ivan Ivanoviö Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovit" most of the story is told by a "local yokel" who is in no position to appreciate the utter stupidity and triviality of the squabble between the two Ivans. The same device is used, in a somewhat more subtle way, by Dostoevsky. In some of his novels, e. g. The Possessed, Dostoevsky interposes between himself and the reader a provincial chronicler, who is neither as vulgar as Lardner's narrator nor as inane as Gogol's, but who is clearly too naive and parochial to appreciate fully the moral implications of the events he painstakingly records. And, to return to Sholem Aleichem; we find a somewhat similar situation in " Yose/', where a tale about a fiery young revolutionary is placed in the mouth of a bewildered outsider - the already mentioned "young man on the make". The narrative manner becomes thus a technique of indirection, a kind of compositional synecdoche. A tension is effected between two views of reality - the "overt", and clearly inadequate, view, offered by the speaker or chronicler, and the implicit one, presumably that of the author and of the "ideal" reader. The problem of fictional monologue as a narrative focus is closely bound up with the narrator's position vis-ä-vis the world he "transforms into language". To be sure, the relation which prevails between the "speaker" and the other protagonists is, in each individual case, reflected in the general drift of the given monologue. But not infrequently the very fact of an extended utterance tends to underscore the precarious, not to say, preposterous social situation in which the speaker finds himself. This is especially true of "oral" monologues, or, once more, of the skaz-like variety which makes a special point of its "orality". (Technically, many a retrospective tale 6

Υ. I. Trunk, Sholem Aleichem [Yiddish] (Warsaw, 1937).



by Turgenev is an "inner narrative" placed in the mouth of a wistful country squire who reminisces in front of a fireplace. Y e t this frame is perceived here as mere contrivance. The point of departure is soon forgotten, since the style of this presumably oral narrative is scarcely distinguishable from the author's polished prose.) Monologue becomes something of an anomaly where "normal" verbal interaction seems to be called for. In "real life" a lengthy, uninterrupted utterance requires a special setting, be it that of a parliament, of a conference hall or a classroom. Where such a positive justification is lacking, a monologue-situation sometimes arises by default, either because the "addressee" is unable or unwilling to respond, or because the speaker cannot control his verbal urge. The preposterousness of an interminable monologue in what was purported to be a dialogue situation is at the core of some of Sholem Aleichem's telling comic effects. Let us cite only two examples, " D o s tepl" and "An eytseh". In both instances monologue was to serve as a starting point for a conversation; it was supposed to elicit an advice from an 'authority' (a rabbi in "Dos tepl", a wise and experienced writer in An eytseh). In both stories the counselor is nearly or actually brought to the state of mental collapse by the visitor's pathological loquaciousness. Voluble Yente (in " D o s tepl") roams all over creation, digresses interminably about her late husband, her frail son's Talmudic studies, the vicious temper of her tenant. She is unable to come to the point, indeed to formulate the question which she presumably came to ask. For a number of pages, the rabbi endures this verbal onslaught, punctuating it time and again by sympathetic grunts. In the finale, he faints, literally overwhelmed by the grotesquely long prelude to a query which never comes off. The structure of "An eytseh" is a bit more intricate: the fidgety young man who presumably comes to the author in order to seek his advice as to whether he ought to divorce his spoiled and hysterical young heiress-wife, is clearly incapable of stating his case and then listening to the older man's counsel. All he can do is to act out ad nauseam his paralyzing indecision - the pendulum-like swing from bitter resentment at being an outsider in the house of his well-heeled father-in-law to an equally acute fear of losing the social position he now enjoys. This verbal orgy of ambivalence reduces the "author" to a mere echo of the speaker's alternating attitudes. A t each pause in the visitor's monologue he promptly agrees with his last conclusion, be it a negative or a positive one. But this reaction, instead of achieving its obvious goal that of bringing the tiresome interview to an end, - has invariably the effect of activating the "other voice", of setting off a harangue in favor of the opposite solution. This pattern culminates in a farcical dialogue where each piece of "advice" elicits automatically a polemical response njn f>N y m D!*n Ijtsa "pt jyo «η«π . . . ?nyppip u n ρκ , υ ?jt3J ü'J



and suddenly collapses with a bang, as the long-suffering author's exasperation explodes in a blood-curdling yell: atjin τ κ n JD: -.j.vnti'VJ 5ΊΡ P_>D t2ts"j o 1 » p s ^antja ρ β δ p i e n s s Ρ_Ό !'T fBJ !'t }tJ2 hTDO ,ΙΒΟ^Τ This grotesquely violent outburst can be viewed as the author's desperate act of selfdefense against the fate which befalls the rabbi in "Dos tepl", and, more broadly, as the listener's last-minute attempt at asserting himself as an active protagonist rather than a mere passive victim of the speaker's obsessive soliloquizing. Indeed, the natural tendency of the "compulsive" oral monologue is to reduce the "other" to the status of a mere shadow. True, in "Dos tepl", each "paragraph" takes as a point of departure a word or expression just uttered by the rabbi. But such a phrase is usually but a by-product of Yente's irrepressible emoting, a perfunctory summing up by the rabbi of her preceding harangue. Moreover, even these feeble echoes are given indirectly, through the medium of the woman's never-ending query. One is reminded of quite a different literary monologue - the recent novel by Albert Camus, La Chute ("The Fall") - written in the form of a confessional IchErzählung. At each juncture, the rambling confession of Camus' declasse lawyer is addressed to someone, but the listener has no independent existence here. His occasional responses have to be inferred from the turgid monologue of Jean Baptiste Clemence, whose is the only voice to be heard in the moral desert of the Amsterdam bar - which provides the backdrop of La Chute. More importantly, the speaker's desperate attempt to provoke a counterconfcssion fails dismally. The embarrassing candor of Camus's "penitent-judge" is an elaborate moral trap. The routine of laying one's soul bare is designed to induce a commensurate act of penance on the listener's part. Yet, in the end, the nearly silent beneficiary of the narrator's ambivalent self-debunking, refuses to reciprocate. Characteristically, he turns out to be a lawyer - another lawyer! - rather than a prospective "client" in dire need of assistance and sympathy. Instead of setting off a dialogue, the monologue serves here to underscore its ultimate impossibility. No wonder Camus's hero mutters sadly as the narrative draws to its close: "Ne sommes-nous pas tous semblables, parlant sans treve et a personne [italics mine, V. E.], confrontes toujours aux memes questions bien que nous connaissions d'avance les reponses?" By comparison with Dostoevsky's sado-masochistic Hamlet of the Petersburg garret, or, for that matter, with his recent American echo, the hero of Saul Bellows' "The Dangling Man", a Sholem Aleichem character may seem "wholesome" and "rooted", closely identified as he is with a definable social milieu, and a folk ethos. And yet, in the works of the Yiddish master of skaz, the implications of proclivity for monologue are not altogether dissimilar. For one thing, as Υ. I. Trunk has pointed out, for many of Sholem Aleichem's "monologuists" talk is a substitute for



action. Utterly incapable of tackling their problems, they tend to dissolve them into "words, words, words". (Or is it rather that their loquaciousness provides an alibi for Sholem Aleichem's own intoxication with the vernacular, with the twists and turns of colloquial Yiddish?) For another thing, though Sholem Aleichem's heroes are not typical "outsiders", they too "live in a world of their own". This is certainly true of that archetypal Jewish Luftmensch, a cross between Don Quixote and Micawber, Menachem Mendl. But stolid and "sensible" Tevye is not immune to wishfulfillment fantasias, either. In an anlysis of the "Finf-un-zibetsik toyznt" monologue Trunk shows how Tevye's melancholy account of his bitterly disappointing visit to Menachem Mendl's suddenly shades offinto daydreaming: . . . titfuyD-DriJD w p n « DIP -ρκ n i n e « ? bpjib pjtnyj β "ρπβ τ·»

P'h* P«

Internalizing events as it does within the confines of an individual consciousness, the free-wheeling monologue helps blur the boundary between fact and fiction, between grim reality and comforting delusion, and thus provides a singularly appropriate vehicle for a subjective, not to say solipsistic world-picture. To conclude, monologue in Sholem Aleichem exhibits all the major uses to which this medium has been put in narrative fiction. It provides an occasion for deploying the manifold stylistic resources of the vernacular. It serves as a clue to character, and as a deliberately restricted "point-of-view". Finally, it helps epitomize a distinctive social situation, a human predicament. YALE






N T H E present century the United States Bureau of the Census has reported on non-English mother tongues on five different occasions: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 and 1960. Although the data were not collected in exactly the same way each time, and although their accuracy leaves something to be desired, they, nevertheless, represent a natural starting place for all students of language maintenance in the United States. On the basis of these data we will seek to reveal trends of growth or of diminution for Yiddish and a few comparison languages. In addition, we will seek to contrast certain socio-demographic characteristics of the claimants of these mother tongues. Finally, we will extrapolate from past and current data so as to arrive at estimates for years and populations not covered by the Bureau of the Cenus itself. The Census data seem to be adequately accurate for between-group comparisons of this type.


2.0. Before turning to the fortunes of specific languages in the fifty-year period 1910-1960, it would, perhaps, be well to give initial attention to the relative incidence of non-English mother tongues in general among the foreign-born inhabitants of the United States, particularly in view of the major reliance of language maintenance on the foreign born. As Table I reveals, the total number of foreign born in the American population * This report is based upon data and analyses derived from the Language Resources Project, sponsored by the U.S. Office of Education.



Gross mother-tongue trends among the foreign born for the United States, 1960, and among the foreign born white, for conterminous United States, 1960 to 1940 I960 Total foreign born Total U.S. population





11,109,620 118,391,980

13,983,405 108,864,207

13,712,754 94,820,915

13,345,545 81,731,957

1,852,992 7,176,280 708,871

2,506,420 8,354,700 248,500

3,097,021 10,844,151 42,233

3,007,932 10,697,656 7,166

3,363,792 9,865,481 116,272

19.0 73.7 7.3

22.6 75.2 2.2

9,738,143 179,325,671

Mother tongue of foreign born English Non-English Not reported Per cent English Per cent non-English Per cent not reported *

22.1 77.6 0.3

21.9 78.0 0.1

25.2 73.9 0.9

Population figures for 1910 to 1940 apply to whites only.

reached its apex of 13,983,405 in 1930. At that time the total white population of United States was 108,464,207 and foreign-born whites constituted 12.8 per cent of this total. By 1960, the absolute number of foreign born had decreased appreciably, whereas the total population had grown greatly. As a result, the 9,738,143 foreign born in 1960 constituted only 5.4 per cent of the total American population in that year. It may be that the relative and absolute decline of the foreign born is in some way responsible for the decline in the proportion of foreign born who claim a nonEnglish mother tongue. This proportion was never as low as the figure of 73.7 per cent for 1960. At the same time, the "not reported" figure has grown tremendously to the point where it accounts for 7.3 per cent of all foreign born. These two circumstances taken together may lead us to suspect that as the foreign-born population Americanizes (culturally) and diminishes (numerically) an increasing proportion of those in this nativity grouping may prefer not to claim a non-English mother tongue. 1 The Bureau of the Census implies as much when it comments that, "it is apparent that in areas where there are large concentrations of foreign born persons, nonresponse rates (in connection with mother tongue) are substantially lower than in areas where there are relatively few such persons." 2 Thus, the proportion of foreign 1 The reformulation of the mother-tongue question in 1960 made it less likely that foreign-born individuals from non-English speaking countries would claim English as their mother tongue. This fact, as well as the inclusion of non-whites in the 1960 mother-tongue census, may account for the sharp drop in the percent of foreign born claiming English as their mother tongue in 1960. 2 U.S. Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Population, 1960: General Social and Economic Characteristics, United States Summary, (Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962),

p . XV.



born with non-English mother tongues may not really have decreased but, rather, the proportion of foreign born not reporting their non-English mother tongues (or not asked by the enumerators to report this information) has increased as the "areas where there are large concentrations of foreign born persons" become both smaller and fewer. 2.1. Table II presents the basic mother-tongue data published by the Bureau of the Census. It should be noted that whereas mother-tongue data are available for the foreign born for five different points in time, they are available for native born of foreign parentage ("second generation") only for three points in time, and for native born of native parentage ("third generation") only for one point in time. Among the foreign born, Yiddish reached its apex in 1930, with 1,222,658 claimants. The small increase relative to 1920 is attributable to continued immigration until 1924, when the new quota system severely limited further arrivals from eastern TABLE II U.S. Census data on mother tongue: Yiddish and five other Foreign Born


Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian YIDDISH Spanish Native of foreign

402,587 2,759,032 943,781 25,131* 1,051,767 258,131

362,199 2,267,128 1,077,392 55,672* 1,091,820 556,111

607,267 6,058,239 763,859 10,228* 624,995 190,067

658,589 5,896,983 1,359,503 39,786* 951,793 294,737


345,522 2,188,006 965,899 58,685 1,222,658 743,286


232,820 1,589,040 801,680 35,540 924,440 428,360


Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian YIDDISH Spanish Native of native



344,240 2,435,700 1,428,820 45,280 773,680 714,060


Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian YIDDISH Spanish * Includes Ruthenian.

81,160 925,040 185,820 2,780 52,980 718,980


140,774 1,278,772 581,936 106,974 503,605 766,961



Europe. The peak periods for norhern and western European languages (see Norwegian and German) had come earlier in view of their much earlier mass immigration to the United States. The peak periods for other languages were still to come - due to World War II population dislocation (see Ukrainian in 1960) or due to the absence of quota restrictions which made the United States particularly attractive in a period of economic dislocation (see Spanish in I960).3 On the whole, however, 1920-1930 marked the peak for most central, eastern, and southern European claimants, as it did for Yiddish. It is interesting to note that the average age of foreign-born claimants of Yiddish mother tongue in 1940 was 50 years. Since there has been no major postWorld War II immigration into the United States of young foreign-born speakers of Yiddish, the average age of foreign-born Yiddish speakers in our country today must be in the early 70's. 2.2. Before leaving the figures for the foreign born, it is worth pointing out that certain non-demographic and non-immigrational factors seem to be recognizable which are of socio-linguistic interest. Thus, the drop for Ukrainian in 1940 is paralleled by an equally mysterious rise for Russian. These shifts may be indicative of a renewed tendency for Ukrainian speakers to claim Russian (and also Polish) as their mother tongue in 1940. The 1940 dip in Spanish may also be indicative of a renewed tendency among Mexican-Americans to claim English as their mother tongue. Finally, the 1930 peak for Yiddish may itself be indicative of the literary and organizational heyday of Yiddish in America during the late twenties and of the lesser tendency among eastern European Jews to claim Russian, Polish or other languages pertaining to their countries of origin.


3.0. The major historical-demographic factors mentioned above may also be referred to in commenting on the data for the second generation ("native of foreign parentage") in Table II. The trend for Norwegian and German is consistently downward. In the case of Norwegian, this reflects the normal passing away of the second generation. In the case of German, the severe anti-German sentiments which followed World War I must also be involved in bringing about a decrease of nearly 60 per cent between 1920 and 1940. On the other hand, Polish, Ukrainian and Spanish all continue to rise during this period, as a result of the average youthfulness and higher 8

The Spanish increase in 1930 is somewhat exaggerated due to the reclassification of Mexicans as whites in that year. In 1930, 85.6 per cent of the foreign born claiming Spanish as their mother tongue gave Mexico as their country of origin.



birthrates prevalent among their foreign-born claimants, most of whom were still of child-bearing age in 1940. Yiddish is one of the few eastern European immigrant languages to record a decline for the second generation as early as 1940. The relative lack of prestige of the Yiddish mother tongue in a second generation that became socially mobile more quickly and more noticeably than most must be involved in this phenomenon. However, it should be realized that the state of affairs with respect to Yiddish in 1940 was merely more alarming rather than totally different from that obtaining for other mother tongues. The first and second "foreign-stock" generations stood in a proportion of 1:2 in 1940 in the American population as a whole. Nevertheless, none of the non-English mother tongues attained this proportion. Thus, non-learning or non-claiming of the parental mother tongue on the part of the second generation was quite widespread in all mother-tongue groups by 1940. The youthfulness of many immigrant groups in 1940 could only partially modify the seriousness of the situation. 3.1. Given the fact that in the American population as a whole the second and subsequent generations stood in a ratio of 1: the figures in Table II for natives of native parentage are extremely low. In the case of Polish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish, it can be said that the second generation in 1940 was still far too young to have produced most of its offspring. However, the smallness of the third-generation Norwegian, German and Spanish figures can be explained only on the grounds of substantial underlearning and underclaiming. Both of these interpretations could be checked out if 1960 mother-tongue data were available for the second and third generations. Unfortunately, the Census did not obtain such data in 1960, and we are, therefore, forced to use estimation methods insofar as it is possible to do so.


4.0. There are several alternative methods of arriving at 1960 estimates for secondgeneration mother-tongue claimants: a) The first method makes an assumption of "generational constancy" and sets up the following ratio: The magnitude of the first generation in 1960 is to the magnitude of the second generation in 1960 ( = x) as the magnitude of the first generation in 1940 was to the magnitude of the second generation in 1940. Since three of the four variables in this ratio are known, it is merely necessary to solve for the one unknown x. The difficulty with this simple approach is the assumption of a constant intergenerational ratio between 1940 and 1960. Actually, we have no good reason to make this uniform assumption for all groups, and some reflection would suggest that it is not particularly tenable for any of them. Generational turnover is related to the



history of immigration of an ethnic group in terms of recency, magnitude and variability. If the average age of the first generation for group A in 1940 was 60, while for group Β it was 30, the ratios between the first and second generations of these two groups is likely to be much different in 1960 from what it was in 1940. b) A second method makes an assumption of a "constant ratio of underclaiming". It is based on the assumption that the number of second-generation individuals claiming a language on two occasions (1940 and 1960) will constitute a constant ratio of all second-generation individuals whose parents originated in the country or countries where that language is used as a vernacular. For example, if 344,240 native Americans of foreign and mixed parentage claimed Norwegian as their mother tongue in 1940, while 646,035 were children of Norwegian immigrants, the ratio of "claimants" to "originants" is .533. This ratio of "underclaiming" is assumed to remain constant through to 1960. Knowing the "originants" to number 606,504 in 1960 and applying .533 to this figure, we arrive at an estimated number of 323,267 potential second generation claimants of Norwegian in I960.4 c) The third approach to the problem of estimating the magnitude of secondgeneration claimants of non-English mother tongues in 1960 is to derive projections graphically from prior trends. Yiddish, Norwegian, and German belong to a group of 18 languages for which first- and second-generation figures appear to converge between 1910 and 1940. This method, therefore, assumes equality between first- and second-generation claimants of these mother tongues in 1960. Since Spanish, Polish, and Ukrainian do not evince this trend, the "method of inter-generational equality" cannot be applied to them. 4.1. Table III reveals the several estimates arrived at for second-generation claimants of Yiddish and of five contrasting languages in 1960. In deciding which estimate is to be preferred, it may be simplest to choose the most conservative in each case. Nevertheless, compelling reasons in the case of Polish lead us to prefer other than the most conservative estimate. The preferred estimate is italicized in each case. The estimates for 1960 indicate increases in the number of second-generation claimants relative to 1940 for Polish, Ukrainian, and Spanish. These were the very languages for whom second-generation figures in 1940 were considered to be somewhat misleading in view of the fact that their parents not yet reached maximum childbearing age. The previously reported 1940 upward trend for second-generation claimants of these languages has been continued, both as a result of greater fertility and greater post-war immigration of young adults whose first offspring had arrived by 1960. On the other hand, the previously reported downward trend for second gener4

This time-consuming method is a refined and extended version of Einar Haugen's "index of retention", reported in The Norwegian Language in America, vol. I (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953), pp. 282 ff.



Comparison of findings derived from three different methods of estimating 2nd-generation claimants of various mother tongues in 1960 Methods Languages

Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian YIDDISH Spanish

A InterGenerational Constancy

Β Constant Ratio of Underclaiming

C InterGenerational Equality

208,000 1,960,000 1,037,000 136,000 422,000 1,278,000

323,000 2,092,000 1,516,000

141,000 1,279,000 —

762,000 1,286,000

504,000 —

ation claimants of Norwegian, German, and Yiddish is also continued. Yiddish is in the odd position of being a "new immigrant" language which manifests a decline characteristic of an "old immigrant" language.


5.0. When we come to project 1960 figures for the third generation, two methods present themselves for our consideration: a) The method of "inter-generational constancy", already explained and utilized above, seems unrealistic on two counts. First of all, the second generation in several ethnic groups in 1940 was still very young and, therefore, constitutes a rather shaky denominator for any ratio. Secondly, the inter-generational projections to 1960 would have to base themselves on second-generation figures for 1960 which are themselves merely estimates. Thus, compounding errors is a very real danger. b) The method of "flat rates" is derived from the observation that for some twenty languages the native-of-native (i.e. third generation) claimants represented 4 per cent of all claimants in 1940 (with a standard deviation of only 1.76). This method, therefore, applies this actuarial "flat rate" to 1960 for all of the twenty languages on which it was obtained in 1940 (including Ukrainian, Polish, and Yiddish). For a remaining set of six languages (including Norwegian, German, and Spanish), it transfers to 1960 the particular proportion of native-of-native claimants which obtained in 1940. Neither of these methods is very elegant, but nothing better will be in the offing until census data on native-of-native (third generation) claimants of non-English mother tongues are forthcoming for more points in time. It may strike some that the



third generation would have reached its peak by 1960 for a good many ethnic groups, and that a 4 per cent flat rate derived from 1940 data might, therefore, be too low an estimate to employ. Against this possibility, it can be argued that the America of 1960 was more assimilatory in language functioning than the America of pre-Pearl Harbor days, and that a 4 per cent flat rate might, therefore, be a reasonable thirdgeneration estimate for most groups after all. 5.1. Although our preference is for the flat-rate method over the intergenerational constancy method, this preference is so weak that it is fortunate for our comparison with Table II that both methods lead to similar conclusions. Only Ukrainian and Spanish have larger numbers of estimated third-generation speakers in 1960 than was reported for them in 1940. The Spanish case, if substantiated, may be a reflection of long continued quota-free immigration and a growing pride in one's Mexican heritage among Hispano-Americans in the southwest. The Ukrainian case, if substantiated, would indicate the growing appearance of a third generation derived from the enlarged second generation previously reported. On the other hand, since the second generation of Norwegian, German, and Yiddish speakers had passed their peaks in 1940, their third generations seem to have passed their peaks by 1960. Polish alone is in the situation of not yet having hit a third-generation peak commensurate with its previously noted second-generation upward trend in 1940. TABLE IV

Comparison of findings derived from two different methods of estimating 3rd-generation claimants of various mother tongues in 1960 D


Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian Yiddish Spanish

InterGenerational Constancy (2 & 3) 49,000 744,000 135,000 8,000 29,000 1,287,000


Flat Ratio or 1940 Share of All Claimants 40,000 588,000 87,414 10,000 39,000 1,291,000

( = 12.3%) ( = 18.7%) ( = 4%) ( = 4%) ( = 4%) ( = 38.7%)


6.0. The above estimates for the second and third generations were derived and reported not only to indicate the difficulties and the risks which these entail, but also



to support the argument that although language maintenance prognostications for immigrant languages need to be made generation by generation, they must be based primarily on the first generation. Even today, when most foreign-born Yiddish speakers are in their 60's and 70's, they still represent 52 per cent of all those who might claim Yiddish as their mother tongue in the United States - much as they did in 1940. How can we explain the fact that the generational configuration has not changed in twenty crucial years? If our estimates are to be believed, it must mean that as first-generation grandparents die off, their children and grandchildren grow further and further away from Yiddish. Not only do they no longer have with whom to speak it at intimate family gatherings, but they no longer claim it as their mother tongue when the census enumerator calls. TABLE V

Generational differentiation among claimants of Yiddish mother tongue in 1940 and 1960 Populations


Foreign born

924,440 53% 773,680 44% 52,980 3%

American born of foreign parents American born of American parents Total claiming Yiddish mother tongue Estimated size of American Jewish population Yiddish mother tongue as a percentage of estimated Jewish population


1,751,100 5,011,000* 35%

503,605 52% 422,000 44% 39,000 4% 964,605 5,559,000** 17%

* Based upon American Jewish Year Book estimate of 4,831,186 for 1937. ** Based upon American Jewish Year Book estimate of 5,531,500 for 1959.

Today, when only some 17 per cent of American Jewry might claim Yiddish as its mother tongue, the considerable creativity still channeled through this language and the considerable treasures of the past to which it alone leads are more concentrated in the hands of an aged population than was ever before the case in the long history of Yiddish. It is, therefore, incumbent upon America's Yiddish speakers to be ever more concerned about the functional transmission of the cultural treasures to which they have entree to successive generations. 6.1. Quantitatively, the position of Yiddish among the non-English mother tongues in America is still relatively strong. Based upon the figures previously reported for



the first, secondh and third generations - augmented by a n additional weighting for the first generation o n the basis o f 1940 to 1960 change - Yiddish stands eighth in a field o f twenty-three languages.

Its quantitative base is still sufficiently large and

concentrated t o give it high rank in c o m p a r i s o n with all other eastern E u r o p e a n immigrant languages, even t h o u g h s o m e o f the latter have experienced appreciable

TABLE VI Quantitative


of prospective

1. German 2. Italian 3. Spanish 4. Polish 5. Yiddish 6. French 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.


Languages ranked by change, 1940-1960 1. Ukrainian 2. Spanish 3. Serbo/ Croatian 4. Dutch/ Flemish 5. Greek 6. Portuguese

Third Generation


Languages ranked by the most plausible estimate, 1960

Languages ranked by flat-rate assumption, 1960*

Languages ranked by averaging 4 previous rankings

1. Italian 2. Polish 3. German

1. Spanish 2. German 3. French

1. Spanish 2. German 3. Italian

4. Spanish

4. Italian

4. French

5. Yiddish 6. French

Russian Hungarian Swedish Greek Norwegian Slovak Dutch/ Flemish 14. Ukrainian 15. Lithuanian 16. Czech

7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

17. Serbo/ Croatian 18. Portuguese

17. Danish 18. Norwegian

17. Serbo/ Croatian 18. Portuguese

19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Danish Finnish Arabic Romanian Slovenian

Arabic French Hungarian Romanian Lithuanian German Italian

14. Russian 15. Slovak 16. Polish

Czech Finnish Yiddish Swedish Slovenian


Second Generation

First Generation Languages ranked by number of claimants, 1960


7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Swedish Hungarian Russian Norwegian Ukrainian Slovak Dutch/ Flemish 14. Greek 15. Lithuanian 16. Czech

Danish Finnish Arabic Slovenian Romanian

5. Polish 6. Dutch/ Flemish 7. Norwegian 8. Yiddish 9. Czech 10. Russian 11. Swedish 12. Hungarian 13. Greek

5. Polish 6. Dutch/ Flemish 7. Hungarian 8. Yiddish 2 j ί Ukrainian \ Russian 11. Greek 12. Norwegian 13. Swedish

14. Ukrainian 15. Slovak 16. Lithuanian

ί Slovak 1 Slovenian 16. Serbo/ Croatian 17. Lithuanian

17. Portuguese 18. Serbo/ Croatian 19. Danish 20. Finnish 21. Arabic 22. Slovenian 23. Romanian

With the exception of Norwegian, Dutch, Czech, French, German, Spanish.

18. Portuguese 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

Czech Arabic Danish Romanian Finnish



gains after World War II. Among the languages in a quantitatively stronger position than Yiddish, we find only (a) the prestige languages of the world (Spanish, German, Italian, and French), (b) a language identified with a retentivist and separatist oldimmigrant group (Dutch),5 and (c) two new immigrant languages that have experienced recent gains as a result of considerable post-war immigration (Polish and Hungarian). Certainly, the qualitative foundations of Yiddish in America are still strong, and, in some respects, stronger than ever before.® All in all, its state of health, though weakening, is far from hopeless and far from irremedial, given concerted and dedicated attention. TABLE VII

Residential concentration of first-generation claimants in 1961

Language Norwegian German Polish Ukrainian Yiddish Spanish

States accounting for at least 50 per cent of claimants Cal., Minn., New York, Wash. Cal., 111., New York, Penna. 111., Mich., New York, Penna. New Jersey, New York, Penna. New York Cal., Texas

Claimants as a per cent of population

Percentage of urban claimants

.2 1.1 .7 .2 1.8 1.8

76 84 90 91 98 85

6.2. If certain demographic and numerical features pertaining to the preservation of Yiddish in the United States seem worrisome, others lend themselves to far more favorable interpretation. Yiddish speakers - at least those in the crucial first generation - are far more concentrated than the claimants of other non-English mother tongues (although there is no ethnic mother tongue that requires more than five states in accounting for at least 50 per cent of its first-generation speakers). They also constitute a higher proportion of the total population of the states in which they are most concentrated. These two factors should facilitate the support of organized institutions of language maintenance (press, schools, cultural organizations), as well as provide greater possibilities for informal, interpersonal language use. Yiddish speakers are also far more urbanized than the speakers of other non-English languages in the United States. Although the urban context often leads to greater exposure to English language media (press, radio, television, higher education, theater, etc.), it also facilitates the retention of Jewish neighborhoods and neighborhood institutions. 5

"Dutch" mother tongue is frequently claimed or entered on behalf of "Pennsylvania Dutchmen", who speak Pennsylvanish. β Joshua A. Fishman, "Yiddish in America: A Socio-Cultural Portrait", dittoed report, Language Resources Project, 1962.



Even the exposure to American "high culture" can be an asset since it has always stimulated Yiddish literature and scholarship to ever higher levels of creativity and productivity. This, in turn, enables Yiddish cultural creativity to come to the attention of American cultural leaders and cultured circles to a far greater extent than is true for most, if not all, other non-English mother tongues in the United States. GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, YESHIVA UNIVERSITY




Ν T H E culture-historical study of literary names, the primary concern is to find out why certain distinctive names were given to certain literary characters. In the case of humorous names, the motive at first appears simple: by holding a crooked mirror before literary figures, the simple meaning of given names is comically deflected, and laughter is produced. But actually our questions start exactly at this point: What real situation does the humorist want to depict by using a specific name, and how is his own tension vis-ä-vis the reality he is viewing relieved by creating a humorous name for a person in a given situation? How is the created name to be analyzed in its constituent parts? What forces, what conditions of time and place around the humorist's literary age determined the selection of specific components for a name? Furthermore, how can the reader, accustomed to the finished literary product, be made to understand the creative process involved in the humorist's search for a distinctive comic name? Mere anecdotes of an author's lifelong search for suitable names for his literary characters may illustrate the course of the author's thinking. They do not give an overall culture-historical picture on which a satisfactory interpretation may be based. This essay attempts to give a historical interpretation of the origin of a distinct group of comic names for Jews in the humor of an already vanished America. This interpretation is closely interrelated with important developments in a newly evolving society whose institutions were being shaped when these humorous names were first applied. At the same time, however, the old European world continued to exist and in its humor conventionally comic names for Jews persisted. For a while the ideas of this co-existent old world continued to influence the formation of names for Jews in American humor.




Aging Europe, appropriately, saw the Jew only in his time-worn image. The humorous names for Jews lacked the dynamics usually at play in the creation of names for people involved in new social phenomena. Essentially the comic names were based on the old priestly names: the Kohn with a K, in Oskar Kraus' immortal Meyrias called Kohnus vulgaris permeated most of the stale jokes about Jews, embodying long familiar situations. The Jew himself was not seen as acting in any new situation; his general station in life was considered to be known and established. Not even in its humor did Europe assign him any new role. This was quite different in America, where popular imagination and literary creativity were from the beginning focussed upon the unbelievably new. Here, the traditional position of the Jew in European humor soon gave way to new situations worth symbolizing and caricaturing. These new situations were characterized first of all by attributing to the Jew a belief in incredible and unreliable events. Like the credat Judaeus of the classical world, this idea, too, proved in the New World an unfailing initial impetus to popular humor. But a distinction ought to be made. The American tall tale about the vast powers of nature, a genre so dear to the popular imagination which produced it, reached a dead end as soon as the nation achieved a certain intellectual level. At this point the incredible could be believed only by a new humorous character, and was then attributed to the Jew, as in Rome of old.1 Thus, the Jew, introduced into a new world of satirical design, was at first, characterized by vague and poorly contrived humorous names which crystallized in time as the situations were more concretely perceived. Early in the history of American humor, Biblical names as a source of humor were possible because of the widespread knowledge of the Bible in America. The humorist readily assumed the public's familiarity with many Biblical figures. Thus, the earliest humorous names appeared in the joking application of Biblical names to certain situations which resulted in a comically incredible effect. These situations were made believable by the additional comic notion that the Jew in his present situation still personified the Biblical name. For instance, Elisha's mantle in the clothing store put the comic question of the customer: "Who is the Elisha who'll wear it?"2 By comically juxtaposing the contemporary period with the patriarchal age, the humorist expected the contrast immediately to create its grotesque effect. This expectation increased with the application of broader strokes. For example, Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son was given new meaning: 1

Horace (Sat., I. 5.97-103), cited in Harry J. Leon, The Jews of Ancient Rome (Philadelphia, 1960), p. 12. The name Apella which Horace gave to the Jew was used by the humorist in a letter to Mrs. Grundy containing a complaint about the swines on New York's streets. The letter is signed "Judaeus Appelles". Mrs. Grundy, I (1865), p. 34, "Pigs". 2 Swingin' Round the Circle ... (Boston, 1867), p. 55.



"Abraham's Sacrifice. Entire Stock of Clothing of Isaac a. Co's at a Sacrifice by Abraham."3 Or, longevity in the Bible served as a pun on contemporary bargaining methods: "From a stock point of going view. to take me at hundert when he can get me at 70."4 No, Jacob, no! market The Lord isn't Associating the stock market with the Biblical concept of man's 70-yaer life span would be comical enough, even without introducing the point about bargaining. (The humorist must have felt justified in not selecting for his joke the 80-year life span eventually conceded by the Bible, for the added ten years would not provide such a satisfying margin for speculation). Occasionally, even a tall tale, already ascribed to German Jews, was supplied with Biblical names showing Abraham playing a dirty trick on Isaac. To pinpoint his German origin, the latter was equipped with the family-name Finkerhaus and the story (1853) was removed to Santa Fe, a Western trade center used by German Jews.5 Here, only the transfer of the story's locale to the Far West strained the imagination. In other stories, the newness of the business world was symbolized by the appearance of the Jew, and he was endowed in folk humor with every feature capable of reflecting people's astonishment at the new things around them. Peddling showed up under romantic circumstances. Symbolic meaning was attached to the appearance of the peddler with horse and wagon; in the store, the wares for sale were given the veneer of rarity or antiquity; and the situation was further characterized as extraordinary by the use of farfetched Biblical names for the persons involved. Wherever a Gentile whose Puritan parents gave him a Biblical name moved onto the humorous scene, the addition of the epithet "Jew" to his name was not unusual, especially if he was a money-lender: "Old Jeremiah Jenkins, the Jew" (1855). The pawnbroker as well as the note-shaver were, as a rule, tagged with Biblical names. Although Biblical names, especially patriarchal ones, were appropriate equally to Sephardic and German Jews, their use in comic situations suggested Sephardic rather than German Jews, perhaps because Sephardic Jews were more commonly known in the Anglo-Saxon cultural milieu and associated with familiar financial situations. Shylock on the Rialto had penetrated from the stage into the American language, but it took some time before he was seen as hailing from Frankfurt. After 1848 German Jews, preponderantly from Bavaria, had begun to emigrate in large numbers to America, but for some time their names as well as the unpretentious names of the places of their origin remained unnoticed by the American public. The traditional position in which American humorists first observed the Jews in 3 4 5

Sinai and Olympus (New York, 1899), p. 41. Puck, XLV, No. 1152, p. 4. Yankee Notions, II (1853), p. 164, "Turning the tables".



the New World at first resembled the way European popular humor saw the Jew. But this attitude did not long persist. American humorists must have felt intuitively that the old stereotypes of the Jew were being changed in America by new phenomena. These new phenomena were shaped primarily by America's urbanization. The Jew was viewed as a moving force of this urbanization and began to appear in entirely new situations to the observer, and, because of the newness and strangeness, the Jewish attributes stuck. When situations appeared irresistibly comic, a Jewish name, in its actual form or humoristically transformed, became a useful mark of these situations. When German Jewish immigrants appeared on the American scene, Jewish names had already begun to be applied in comic situations bearing on urbanization and the new arrivals could therefore continue to serve in this capacity. So fast was the pace of this urbanization that it was not easy to accept the insignificant, at first unnoticed son of a European province, as the motor of the sweeping change that was visible everywhere. The humorous potential of his implausibility was increased by the unlimited possibilities of using and transforming his name. The very pattern of the German Jewish name was new and therefore useful in expressing the humorist's reflections on the new times. This was true even in the first phase, when these names were used and their bearers were not yet fully recognized and stigmatized as Jews. Nevertheless such names already served to cast a humorous light on situations. In this phase, and in later humor, too, family names like Sulzbacher, Woermeser, and others based on places of origin were used. But they were reduced to minor importance as the need arose for characterizing new humoristic types. A popular concept already existed then about which names were regarded as German Jewish. The suffixes -heim and -stein, -bach, -feld, indicating geographic origins in German lands, were commonly considered to indicate that the names were those of German Jews.® The frequency and intensity of the new situations subjected to humoristic evaluation were seen in the multiple use of such names, whether real or contrived. The hundreds of comic names for German Jews outnumbered and far exceeded in variety the humorous names for Germans (Hans Breitmann), Irishmen (Flaherty, Finnegan), and other minorities. The designations for occupations or professions then current in traditional American humor (Sam Slick for the peddler, Smooth5onöue for the preacher) were also outnumbered by the references to the stations of life of German Jews. These German-Jewish names constituted an entirely new world of names to the American public, as strange and surprising as the new situations from which they emerged. In the earlier use of Biblical names, the imaginary situation covered by the name could be laughed off because the name did not fit it. Now reality itself seemed incredible since all these meaningless names, without • The humorous names quoted in this study have been taken from the more important humorous periodicals and from joke columns of American newspapers, the most important of which are Spirit of the Times, Puck, Life, and Judge.



any hold on the historical memory of America, nevertheless affected American reality. The reaction to this situation was sharp enough to stimulate the humorist to invent new names and, when the situation had become static enough to be satisfied with already existing stereotypes, new variations. This drying up of the sources of humor indicated the humorist's helplessness vis-ä-vis the pace of life in which the unaccustomed quickly turned into the familiar. The same march of time also created an inner emptiness in humorous literature because the familiar ceased to be funny. In the subsequent use of comically outmoded Jewish names, long obsolete comic figures sometimes still appeared in humorous journals or in joke columns of newspapers as space fillers but no longer expressed any social tension or evoked laughter.


Conquest of nature and the human embodiment of its giant forces were long the nearly exclusive preoccupation of the American popular imagination. Later, an idealization of the real Yankee - ingenious, inventive, playful with these forces of nature but also intellectually superior in man-to-man confrontations - became a major folkloristic theme. The two situations were associated with each other: the Yankee moved in nature and among people at the same time. Only the new world of business was regarded as entirely separate from nature. The milieu of business then became its own natural atmosphere populated only with human beings. These people, conceived as humorous types, could not be imagined as moving about in unconfined nature. Wherever humorous names contained references to nature and open spaces - geographical endings like -baum, -tal, for example - they were not perceived as such. Business, normally seen as a gainful occupation in its appropriate setting, became a subject of American humor only when the farmer and peddler ceased to be effective comic figures. The humorist needed new names to designate the business milieu. At that time German Jewish names fulfilled this purpose and thereby actually introduced a period in American humor business. At first the mere insertion of real German Jewish names was apt to give a joke, story, or anecdote its flavor of business and to create a specific business atmosphere. Seen as a group, the names symbolized a business milieu and instantly suggested the thoughts and motives of the business world. Names like Goldstein, Silverstein, Lowenstein, Rosenbaum, and many others, especially when used for the first time, implied that the Jew had arrived into a milieu which suited him. Even then, one could rarely find the real name of a Gentile business-partner who might have shared the Jew's fate in humor. This depiction of the Jew in business, or as its epitome, was made even more pointed by the selective use of real names, with the specific intention of giving a special flavor



to the humor about business. In this regard names combined with -heim and -stein must have appeared specially strange and comical to the English reader: Einstein, with its rhyming syllables, was in the forefront, followed by Dinkelspiel, Morgentau, Rosenheimer, Eckstein, Rothstein, Rosenblum, Rosenstein, Rosenzweig, Rosenbaum. All these were real names, but took on a special tone in the humor of business. When the saturation point in the use of such names was reached, it became necessary to invent new names, after the earlier ones had lost their attraction. The first invention in the field - and in the long run the most fruitful - was the combination of the suffixes -heim and -stein with parts of real names, thereby giving a fanciful air to the new combinations. The old priestly names Cohn and Levi were the favorites and combined to make Cohenstein, Cohnstein, Cohnheim, and Leviheimer. Nor did Biblical names escape this composition: Isaacstein and Mosenstein. Then, one step further: the suffixes -heim and -stein were combined with invented, nonexistent names, with words for elements essential to the comic conception of the world of business:7 Geldstein, Loanstein, Silverheimer, Geldheimer, Goldfinger symbolize the role of money, particularly cash, in the operation of business. Words for conspicuous riches were also used as components for names: (Miss) Sparklestein, Silverbaum, Blinkenstein, and Diamondstein. a. Business Motives Expressed in Names When Calvin Coolidge said "The business of America is business", he frankly acknowledged the motives of the commercial world. There is, first of all, the acceptance of the profit motive. The name Gettstein, for example, adhered to this neutral line. But Grabbenstein and Grabbenheimer already introduced criticism of the way money was made. (Shylock Graspall, pawnbroker, appeared in even older illustrations). The desire for gain, as intensified by dishonesty, was embodied in the names Swindleheim and Swindlebaum. Where mercantile transactions are not trustworthy, Mr. Schaumburg, whose price quoting was uncertain and Mr. Wogglebaum with his maneuvering were blamed. In the world of dishonest business, insurance and bankruptcy took first place. Note the following joke: "The cause of the fire: Insurance. "The cause of the business failure: The benefit." In the innumerable variations of the insurance joke, fancy played on name composition as on a piano. The real-life names Bernheim, Bernstein and Bernheimer were ' New Yorker Lustige Blatter, I (1892), II (1893) were an imitation of the Fliegende Blätter published in Germany.



transformed by a comic exchange of e for u, into Burnheim, Burnstein and Burnheimer (even abbreviated to Burns), to emphasize the fire-insurance joke. The next step in these jokes was the invention of names in which suffixes were added to the fireworks, for example Blazenheimer, Smokenstein and Flamberg. In the world of business failure one name stands for all: Mr. Failinstein seeking the benefit. b. Economic Station in Life Marking a Jew's place in economic life by a fitting name was already a standard device in European folklore. America followed European ways by adopting notions from English literary style. Shylock dealer in old clothes and the use of Biblical names for fictitious clothing stores in Chatham Street (Moses Abrahams a. Co., Benjamin a. Levi, National Clothing Store) were early expressions of the ubiquity of Jews in the clothing industry and trade. With the rise of readymade clothing in America and its identification as a Jewish industry, jokes about clothing became flooded with Jewish names: Cloakstein, Hosenthal and Hosenstein. Comic allusions to Christmas sales played on names like Seasongood and St. Klausenstein. Fleckenstein became a symbol for all that is worn out, whether in pawnbroking or in old-clothes trade. For goods other than apparel in the pawnbroker's shop, the outstanding names were those which expressed changing colors, spuriously glittering like Himmelstein, Rubinstein and Sapirstein. Invariably the pawnbroker's son was Ikey or Jakey and he was assumed to wear all the treasures of his father's store on his private sprees, especially at the race-track. c. Pretensions to Social Intercourse According to the social axiom of American aristocracy, at least two native generations and, more often, three were required to make a man "clubbable", eligible for America's "good society". The idea that the Jew was as intent on his standing in society as others struck the humorist as a comical notion. This subject, then, became a vehicle for humor by depicting the Jew's unsuccessful attempts at social climbing. The selfrhyming Einstein, funny in itself, led to Zweistein and even Dreistein. Other exaggerations satirizing the effort to show off are Augenstein, Doppenheimer, Woolfenstein (dandy), Heavenrich. Jewish sentimentality was derided by such names as Morgenlicht and Abendrot. Generally, the names ridiculing social aspirations created their comic effect by their senselessness, without indicating any distinct quality of the name's bearer. Some of the most widely used were Ickelheimer, Ickelsteiner, Ickelheim and Ickelstein, followed by Mitzelheimer, Ipzenheimer, Minzesheimer, Hinkelheimer, Hockenheimer, Hundsheimer and Pickelstein.



Characterizations of Jews by giving them such names became more elaborate as they advanced upward in society. Benjamin Franklinstein was a Jew laying claim to social intercourse with the Gentile, a Feldheimer when he took up golf, or a Summerpanz when he intruded into vacation resorts. In adapting himself socially he was prepared to change his name ("How he won the Silverites"); Goldstein became Silverstein. Despite his pomposity (Schönheimer), he was socially suspended, without firm ground under his feet, a Bimbelstein or Wigglestein. d. The Newcomer as a Substitute The humorous name loses its meaning and comic effect when the object of humor has changed his station in life. Such was the case with the German Jews in America, who in several decades rose more rapidly than any other immigrant group. Previous notions associated with Jews became obsolete. It became less plausible that the expanding business and industry in which Jews were engaged could gain from incendiary insurance tricks or bankruptcy. The sober reality of the Jewish presence in the world of mercantile credit went far to destroy the derisive names that had been coined to depict him. New objects were required on whom to bestow humorous names. These were provided when East European Jewish immigrants followed the German Jews to America. This new Jewish immigration, of incomparably larger numbers than the German Jewish migration and of greater socio-economic variety, became the new object of humor. Almost immediately, the suffixes -heim and -stein which had previously characterized the comic German Jewish name were replaced by -ski (from this, the pejorative kike was later derived). At first the -ski's referred generally to the new mass of immigrants. As with the earlier Einstein, assonance increased the humorous effect: Schinski, Minski. Biblical names were then introduced into the combinations: Isaakski and Levinski. But soon this device was refined to reflect more specific social and economic functions. To indicate that the Jew was unskilled in his work, hes was called a misfitsky when he followed in Mr. Hosensteiris steps. As a furrier he was Skinninsky, a name intended to contrast the quality of his work with real craftsmanship. As a cut-rate competitor, he was a Markdownski. He then acquired the art of fireworks and Burnstein changed to Burnupski. Nor was he a stranger to bankruptcy: Failinstein became Failinski and Failupski. Socially the East European Jewish immigrants could not be located on the status ladder. They gave no sign of aspiring to social intercourse with Gentiles. The crudest derision thus served well, on the model of the European Judenschwein, which dated back to medieval times. Besides the archaic Sheeny - in all probability derived from



swine - Mr. Piginski appeared. Other names reflected other qualities of the Jews' adaptation to new surrounding: we find an Allrightsky, a Hurryupsky, and an argumentative Buttinski. IV. C O N C L U S I O N

The unchanging names for Jews in European humor mainly stressed their inadequacies in social life. In the European jokes about Jews the names themselves remained static (Kohn, der kleine Kohn, Moritz). In contrast, the wide use of Jewish names in American humor testifies to the variety and change of the position of Jews in an urbanizing country. This contrast was dramatized by the attempt to publish Fliegende Blätter in German in America. It was a purely European comic paper with all the old European jokes, without any relationship to developments in America. On the other hand, jokes about Jews in America originated at a later time and belong to a different category. In these, the urbanization of America is assumed to be complete. Comic criticism of this state of affairs has often blended into criticism of the Jews. NEW YORK





I E A R B E I T E N der verflossenen zehn Jahre, über die hier kurz berichtet werden soll, verdanken ihre konsequente Durchführung der dauernden Ermutigung und verständnisvollen Beratung, die ich durch Herrn Prof. Max Weinreich je und je habe erfahren dürfen. Ich freue mich, den Dank dafür heute in dieser Form eines Tätigkeitsberichtes abstatten zu können. 1.0. Als Leitwort für meine Arbeit diente mir die von Prof. Weinreich aufgestellte Forderung, 1 dass zuallererst die noch gesprochenen Reste der westjiddischen Sprache festgehalten und beschrieben werden müssen, bevor man frühere literarische Zeugnisse heranzieht. So habe ich die 1950 begonnenen Tonaufnahmen 2 fortgesetzt und im Laufe der Jahre nicht nur von 15 verschiedenen Sprechern aus dem schweizerischen Surbtal, sondern auch von solchen aus dem Eisass (11), aus Baden (7), Württemberg (4), Bayern (3), Hessen (2), Rheinland (1) und Burgenland (1) möglichst umfangreiches und vielseitiges Material auf Tonband aufgenommen. Unter der aus den ver* Abkürzungen: VJ = jiddische Vollmundart MJ = jiddische Mischmundart RJ = Reste von Jiddisch UL = landschaftliche deutsche Umgangssprache dK = jiddische Wörter der deutschen Komponente hK = jiddische Wörter der hebräisch-aramäischen Komponente urj. = urjiddisch hebr. = hebräisch mhd. = mittelhochdeutsch nhd. = neuhochdeutsch hd. = hochdeutsch Lit. = literarische jiddische Zeugnisse seit etwa 1750 Phon. = "Zur Phonologie des Surbtaler Jiddischen", Phonetica, II. 1 Max Weinreich, [Outlines of Western Yiddish], Yidishe shprakh, XIII (1953), 35-69, p. 39. ' Vgl. Fl. Guggenheim, Die Sprache der Schweizer Juden von Endingen und Lengnau (Zürich, 1950).



schiedensten Gegenden stammenden jüdischen Bevölkerung der Schweiz kann man - ähnlich wie in USA und im heutigen Israel - immer noch einzelne ältere Juden finden, welche den Dialekt ihrer Kindheit noch in Erinnerung haben und ihn einigermassen korrekt wiedergeben können. Nach meinen persönlichen Erfahrungen sind diese Gewährsleute, die seit mehreren Jahrzehnten in einer "fremdsprachigen" Umgebung leben, als Informanten wertvoller als jüngere Leute, welche noch bis vor kurzem an den betreffenden Orten gewohnt und ihre Umgangssprache weitgehend an diejenige ihrer christlichen Umgebung angeglichen haben. - Als erste Resultate konnte ich 1958 mit meiner Studie "Zur Phonologie des Surbtaler Jiddischen"3 eine Beschreibung des schweizerischen westjiddischen Dialektes geben, und 1961 eine Bearbeitung des badischen "Gailinger Jiddisch".4 1.1. Gleichzeitig mit den Tonbandaufnahmen lasse ich seit 1956 möglichst viele Juden aus ehemals westjiddischen Gebieten Fragebogen schriftlich beantworten; bis jetzt habe ich 72 solche ausgefüllten Fragebogen. Die von mir gestellten Fragen sollen einerseits eine möglichst weitgehende sprachlich-dialektologische Differenzierung erfassen und anderseits wesentliche Unterschiede in den Minhagim (religiösen Bräuchen) und Volksbräuchen aufzeigen. Frau Dr. Rosa Dukas aus Jerusalem hat 1954 in einem Vortrag in Zürich auf die nach Landschaften verschiedenen religiösen Bräuche der deutschen Juden hingewiesen und mich um Mitarbeit auf diesem ihrem Gebiete gebeten. In verdankenswerter Weise hat sie mir auch die Benützung des von ihr in Israel gesammelten Materiales über Minhagim - Befragung von etwa 60 "Ländjuden" aus Süd- und Mitteldeutschland - gestattet. Die spezifischen Ausdrücke für Kult und jüdisches Brauchtum sind jeweils, als letzter Überrest, auch dort noch bekannt, wo eine weitgehende Assimilierung an die Umgangssprache der nichtjüdischen Umgebung sozusagen alle Spuren eines jiddischen Dialektes verwischt hat. Diese Ausdrücke können oft Aufschluss geben über die früheren sprachlichen Verhältnisse des betreffenden Ortes. - Ausser dem allgemeinen, gemischt sprachlich-volkskundlichen Fragebogen habe ich auch noch einen ausführlichen Fragebogen über spezielle Fragen der Aussprache von geeigneten Informanten ausfüllen lassen, und ausserdem noch rein volkskundliche Fragebogen nach dem Schema von Frau Dr Dukas. 1.2. Die Resultate des allgemeinen Fragebogens, 74 Fragen umfassend, habe ich nach Art eines Sprachatlasses mit verschiedenen Symbolen auf geographische Grundkarten eingetragen. Um den Rückgang der westjiddischen Dialekte in den letzten 150 Jahren anzudeuten, habe ich auch noch die wichtigsten schriftlichen Quellen (Tendlau für Frankfurt, Reizenstein für Franken, Dalberg für Hessen, Kahn für Baden, C. Th. Weiss für das Eisass5) herangezogen und deren Auskünfte in abweichender Farbe auf den Karten vermerkt. 8 1 5

Fl. Guggenheim, "Zur Phonologie des Surbtaler Jiddischen", Phonetica, II (1958), 86-108. Fl. Guggenheim, "Gailinger Jiddisch", Lautbibliothek der deutschen Mundarten, XXII (1961). Abraham Tendlau, Sprichwörter und Redensarten deutsch-jüdischer Vorzeit (Frankfurt am Main,



1.3. Die erhaltenen Informationen mussten jeweils kritisch beurteilt werden; sie sind - ganz abgesehen vom örtlichen jiddischen Dialekt - von verschiedenen Faktoren abhängig: erstens vom Alter, zweitens von der sozialen Stellung und drittens von der religiösen Tradition des Informanten. Dass jüngere Leute sich mehr an ihre Umgebung assimiliert haben als ältere, ist selbstverständlich. Was die soziale Stellung anbetrifft, so wurde der jiddische Dialekt am besten konserviert von Leuten aus einfachem Milieu, besonders von Pferde- und Viehhändlern, auch Metzgern,® die - neben den Hausierern und Marktfahrern - zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts das Hauptkontingent der jüdischen Berufsleute stellten. Die "gehobeneren" Berufe, wie Warenhändler und Bankiers, betrachteten den jiddischen Dialekt schon sehr früh als ein "verdorbenes Deutsch" und vollzogen am raschesten die Assimilierung an die deutsche Umgangssprache; diese Assimilierung ist auch ganz allgemein in den Städten viel schneller vor sich gegangen als in den kleineren Ortschaften mit kompakten jüdischen Gemeinden. Auch die religiöse Tradition in der Familie und in der Gemeinde spielt eine Rolle; in einer traditionstreuen Familie und einer alten "frommen Khille" erhielten sich die alten Ausdrücke länger. Dabei ist zu berücksichtigen, dass in neo-orthodoxem Milieu spezielle, aus dem Hebräischen stammende Ausdrücke für Kult und Brauch unter Umständen anders ausgesprochen wurden als in dem früher ortsüblichen westjiddischen Dialekte; das klassische Beispiel dafür finden wir bei Frankfurter Juden der Richtung "Agudas Jisroel" (khaufsr statt kho:fsr, ^sukaus statt sig'.as, etc.) 1.4. Als weiterer Faktor kommt hinzu, dass es heute - zufolge der Vernichtung der deutschen Judengemeinden und der Zerstreuung ihrer wenigen Ueberlebenden in der ganzen Welt - geradezu unmöglich ist, für jede Gegend einen auch nur halbwegs zuverlässigen Jiddischsprecher zu finden. Deshalb dürfen die Linien und Schraffierungen auf unserer Karte nur als ungefähre, teilweise auch nur als mutmassliche Abgrenzungen genommen und beurteilt werden. 2.0. Auf Grund meiner Untersuchungen möchte ich für die Zeit um 1900 herum drei verschiedene Stadien für die westjiddischen Dialekte unterscheiden (siehe Karte) : a) jiddische Vollmundart (VJ), im Surbtal, in Südbaden, im Eisass und angrenzenden Judengemeinden in der Rheinebene; b) jiddische Mischmundart (MJ): ein stark durch das Hochdeutsche (auf ober1860); Wolf Ehrenfried von Reizenstein, Der vollkommene Pferdekenner (Uffenheim, 1764), Anhang zum 1. Teil; Julius Dalberg, "Volkskunde der Hessen-Kasseler Juden", Geschichte der Jüdischen Gemeinde Kassel, I (1931), pp. 109-168; Hermann Kahn, "Sprache der Väter", Manuskript (1944); C. Th. Weiss, "Das Elsässer Judendeutsch", Jahrbuch f . Geschichte, Sprache u. Litteratur ElsassLothringens, XII (1896), 121-182. • Vgl. Fl. Guggenheim, "The Horse Dealers' Language of the Swiss Jews in Endingen and Lengnau", The Field of Yiddish, I (1954), 48-62.



deutschem Gebiet) oder durch die landschaftliche deutsche Umgangssprache (mitteldeutsches Gebiet) beeinflusstes Jiddisch, das hauptsächlich nur noch von Viehhändlern und sehr alten Leuten gesprochen wurde, in Hohenzollern (Haigerloch, Horb, Rexingen, Beisingen Hechingen Mühringen Dettensee), in alten schwäbischen Gemeinden um Buchau und Laupheim, ferner in Nordbaden, der Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Teilen von Hessen und Teilen von Franken (Maingegend, Bayern); c) Reste von Jiddisch (RJ): die deutsche landschaftliche Umgangssprache (UL), untermischt mit jiddischen Ausdrücken und Redensarten, in allen übrigen Gebieten mit jüdischer Bevölkerung. 2.1. Wenn wir uns fragen, warum VJ sich gerade in diesen Gebieten am längsten erhalten hat, so möchte ich als Hauptgrund dafür ansehen, dass dies die Sprachgebiete des Niederalemannischen (Oberrheinischen) und des Hochalemannischen (Südalemannischen) - nach der Terminologie von Hermann Paul7 - sind, welche als einzige deutsche Mundarten die nhd. Diphthongierung der mhd. i, ü und iu nicht mitgemacht haben. Das Jiddische jedoch hat in den Wörtern der deutschen Komponente (dK) die Aequivalente der diphthongierten Laute. Dazu kommt, dass diese deutschen Mundarten - ebenfalls im Gegensatz zu dK - auch die nhd. Monophthongierung nicht durchgeführt haben. Infolgedessen ist der Unterschied zwischen der Sprache der in diesen Gebieten ansässigen Juden gegenüber der Mundart der dortigen Nichtjuden besonders gross gewesen. Je mehr sich aber zwei Sprachen oder Dialekte voneinander unterscheiden, desto weniger assimilieren sie sich aneinander.8 2.2. Die Gebiete von MJ umfassen vor allem historisch alte Judengemeinden, die mindestens seit dem Beginn des 18. Jahrhunderts bestanden haben. Da in AltWürttemberg bis 1806 fast keine Juden wohnen durften, ist das Fehlen von Jiddischsprechern aus diesem Gebiete verständlich. 3. Das Hauptmerkmal des Westjiddischen - abgesehen von lexikalischen Unterscheidungen, wie PartiesIRoschekool,

ore/dawnen, minnisch jparwe u.a. - ist der /aa/-

Klang in dK 9 , das Äquivalent von mhd. eilöu>ä — urj. *e4 nach Max Weinreich10 und von mhd. ou>ä = urj. *o4. Wir fanden ihn bei unsern Informanten überall in VJ, in MJ aber nur dort, wo UL eine ähnliche Aussprache hat; bei Lit. ' Hermann Paul, Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik (Tübingen, 1953); Karl Bohnenberger, Die alemannische Mundart (Tübingen, 1953), unterteilt Pauls Hochalemannisch nochmals in Hoch- / Höchstalemannisch oder Mittel- / Hochalemannisch. 8 Eine Parallele: Norddeutsche, die in die Schweiz zuziehen, erlernen leichter und besser eine schweizerische Mundart als zugezogene Süddeutsche, die fast stets eine Mischung aus ihrem ursprünglichen Dialekt mit dem Schweizerdeutschen sprechen. Vgl. Otto Stoeckicht, "Sprache, Landschaft und Geschichte des Eisass", Deutsche Dialektgeographie, XLII (1942), 56, der von "Stärkung der Widerstandskraft durch die vokalische Entwicklung des Nordens, die den Lautabstand zwischen Nord und Süd vergrössert" spricht. ' S. Max Weinreich, [Outlines ...], 41. 10 Max Weinreich, [The System of Yiddish Protovowels], Yidishe shprakh, X X (1960), 65-71.



VERBREITUNG WESTJIDD. DIALEKTE UM 1900 jidd. Vollmundart jidd. Mischmundart 1. Ko(u) letschj Käskuchen-Linie 2 Grenzen der alemannischen Sprachlandschaft 3. o o o o jidd. Diminutivformen: südl. -/