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But in recent years, Yiddish has experienced a resurgence and is now being taught at many universities.There are even Yiddish Studies departments at Columbia and Oxford, among others, and many Jewish communities provide classes to learn Yiddish.In the mid-1800s, Yiddish newspapers began to appear, such as Kol me Vaser (Voice of the People), Der Hoyzfraynd (The Home Companion), Der Yid (The Jew), Di Velt (The World) and Der Fraynd (The Friend), as well as socialist publications like Der Yidisher Arbeter (The Jewish Worker) and Arbeter-Shtime (Workers' Voice).Some Yiddish language newspapers exist to this day, including Forverts (the Yiddish Forward), founded in 1897 and still in print, both in English and Yiddish versions.Mame loshn was the language of women and children, to be contrasted with loshn koydesh, the holy tongue of Hebrew that was studied only by men.(And before the feminists start grinding their axes, let me point out that most gentile women and many gentile men in that time and place could not read or write at all, while most Jewish women could at least read and write Yiddish).It is believed that Yiddish began similarly, by writing the local languages in the Hebrew characters that were more familiar to Yiddish speakers, just as Americans today often write Hebrew in Roman characters (the letters used in English).
Yiddish is referred to as "mame loshn" ("loshn" rhymes with "caution"), which means "mother tongue," although it is not entirely clear whether this is a term of affection or derision.However, that usage has become unfashionable in recent years and people are likely to think you are either ignorant or bigoted if you refer to any language as "Jewish." Likewise, the Yiddish word "Yid" simply means "Jew" and is not offensive if used while speaking Yiddish or in a conversation liberally sprinkled with Yiddish terms, but I wouldn't recommend using the word in English because it has been used as an offensive term for far too long.It is generally believed that Yiddish became a language of its own some time between 9 C.It has a grammatical structure all its own, and is written in an alphabet based on Hebrew characters.Scholars and universities classify Yiddish as a Germanic language, though some have questioned that classification.