Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode
unicode at unicode.org
Mon Nov 12 19:48:39 CST 2018
You know, you're right (as is Beth), and I don't know why I'm arguing
the point. It's something I've been working on: I shouldn't defend a
position JUST because it's _my_ position, and yet that's just what I did.
So, yes, it certainly does seem essentially German. I couldn't say why
they chose to write this part in German, or why they chose to transcribe
it in Hebrew letters, really. I assumed Yiddish probably because of the
context and the alphabet used, but there's no reason for it not to be
German. Now, the pamphlet originated from Kloizenberg, i.e.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluj-Napoca which is in Romania, but
German was probably enough of a lingua franca (after all, Yiddish
developed from it for that reason). And the text being basically German
would explain the aleph-umlaut which was the start of all this, though
it doesn't so much need an "explanation": it's interesting enough that
it's _there_. Also interesting that no other umlauted letters were
considered distinct enough to be transcribed so (or else they just
happened not to show up). There are probably mildly interesting things
(depending on your interests) to be gleaned from studying how the
transliterations, how they seemed to use ע for word-final "e" in "die"
in some places but א in others, etc.
Anyway, still interesting, I thought.
On 11/11/18 8:28 PM, Asmus Freytag via Unicode wrote:
> I agree with Beth that the text reads like a transcription of a
> standard German text, not like a transcription of Yiddish, small
> infidelities in vowel/consonant renderings notwithstanding. These are
> either because the transcription conventions deliberately make some
> substitutions (presumably there's no Hebrew letter that would directly
> match an "ü", so they picked "i") or because the writer, while trying
> to capture standard German in this instance, is aware of a different
> orthography. The result, before Beth tweaked it, would resemble a bit
> a phonetic transcription of someone speaking standard German with a
> Yiddish accent. The fact that there are no differences in grammar and
> the phrasing is absolutely natural for written German is what confirms
> the identification as German, rather than Yiddish text.
> Just because Yiddish is closely related to German doesn't mean that
> you can simply write the former with standard German phonetics and
> have it match a text in standard German to the point where there's no
> distinction. I think the sample is long enough and involved enough to
> give quite decent confidence in discriminating between these two
> Germanic languages. Grammar, phrasing and word choice are in that
> sense much better indicators than pure spelling; just as people trying
> to assume some foreign accent will give themselves away by faithfully
> maintaining the underlying structure of the language - that even works
> if the "accent" includes a few selected bits of "foreign" word order
> or grammar. In those artificial examples, there's rarely the kind of
> subtle mistake that a true non-native will make.
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