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Author(s): Verschik, Anna
Date: 2020
Abstract: Aims and Objectives/Purposes/Research Questions: Studies on incomplete first language(L1) acquisition emphasize restricted input, the low prestige of heritage/immigrant/minority lan-guages, and age of acquisition as significant factors contributing to changes in L1. However, it is notalways clear whether it is possible to distinguish results of incomplete acquisition and contact-induced language change. This article deals with two Yiddish–Lithuanian bilinguals who acquiredboth languages at home (recorded in 2010 and 2011). The focus of the article is the absence of theYiddish past tense auxiliary in both informants and the replacement of Yiddish discourse-pragmaticwords by their Lithuanian or English equivalents in the speech of the second informant. Design/Methodology/Approach: Qualitative analysis of the speech of two Yiddish–Lithuanianbilinguals. Data and Analysis: Two sets of recordings analyzed for the past tense use and other featuresmentioned in Yiddish attrition studies. Findings/Conclusions: Restricted input is to be considered as a factor inany case. However, it isargued that phenomena reported in the heritage language literature are often the same as in thecontact linguistic literature: impact on non-core morphosyntax, prosody, and word order areusually mentioned as primary candidates of contact-induced structural change. Based on purelylinguistic phenomena, it is not possible to distinguish between the results of acquisition under theconditions of limited input and in other contact situations where limited input is not necessarily thecase. Many features of the informants’ Yiddish are a result of Lithuanian impact. Originality: Yiddish–Lithuanian early bilingualism is extremely rare nowadays. The data andanalysis contribute to a general understanding of the interplay between contact-induced languagechange and limited input. Significance/Implications: Unlike what is often presumed, it is not always possible to makecomparisons to monolinguals or balanced bilinguals because monolingual speakers of Yiddish donot exist
Author(s): Verschik, Anna
Date: 2014
Author(s): Verschik, Anna
Date: 1999
Abstract: The topic of the present article is the socio-cultural history of Estonian Jews as well as main patterns of their linguistic behavior. This atypical Jewish community definitely deserves more scholarly attention than it has received. It is important to stress that not all Jews living in Estonia today are considered to be Estonian Jews. Only those who were born and/or whose socialization took place in independent Estonia (1918-1940) and their descendants are included in this group. Those who migrated to Estonia after 1940 belong socio-culturally and linguistically to a different community (Russian language and cultural orientation). Estonian Jews are multilingual as a rule (Estonian, Yiddish, Russian, German); however, reasons for their multilingualism differ from those of a traditional Jewish community. In our case these reasons include: small size of the minority, high rate of urbanization, lack of strict orthodoxy, acculturation and modernization. Yiddish dialect spoken in Estonia, or Estonian Yiddish, is highly valued by its speakers. The status of Yiddish among other co-territorial languages is discussed in this paper. Linguistic behavior is based largely on a high degree of linguistic awareness (speakers enjoy their multilingualism). However, the number of Yiddish speakers is constantly decreasing due to certain historical events (Soviet and Nazi occupation of Estonia, abolition of cultural autonomy, Soviet ethnic policy, etc). The possibilities of future developments -a shift to other languages, the emergence of a Yiddish-Estonian-Russian mixed variety, a new multilingualism of Yiddish-speaking immigrants -should all be taken into consideration.