Religiosity in Russia

May 6, 2016 by

[Thanks to Boris Denisov and Martin Lewis for helpful discussions of these issues.] A recent question from a student about just how religious Russians really are has sent me to look for statistics on this issue. As sociologists of...

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Why Did Yiddish Survive in Eastern Europe (for as Long as It Did)?

Nov 23, 2015 by

[Thanks to Martin Lewis, Michael Nosonovsky, Katya Shilova, and Elena Zusmanovich for insightful conversations that led to certain points in this post.]   In his essay “Yiddish? Why Don’t We Speak Judeo-French?”, George...

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The Disappearance of Yiddish in Russia and Elsewhere in the FSU

Nov 22, 2015 by

A century ago Yiddish was the predominant language of Jews in the Russian Empire; three of my four grandparents, born in 1900s-1920s spoke Yiddish as their mother tongue. Yet according to the 2010 population census, only about 30,000...

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On God, Politeness, and the T-V Distinction

Sep 22, 2015 by

This is another post inspired by a question from (and discussion with) David Benkof, who asks about the following “intriguing conundrum for the High Holidays”, when (religious) Jews are thinking “about what our relationship with God...

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Slavs and Their Languages—Reconciling Genetics and Linguistic Findings...

Sep 8, 2015 by

[Thanks to Martin Lewis for helpful discussions, for crafting the passages from our book cited below, and for excellent editorial comments on earlier drafts of this post.]   A recent article by a team of scholars led by Oleg...

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Urum, a Turkic Language of Pontic Greeks, Its Contact with Russian—And...

Jul 17, 2015 by

Some enthnolinguistic maps of the Caucasus region, such as the one reproduced from GeoCurrents, show “Greek” as one of the groups in south-central Georgia and bordering areas of northern Armenia. In actuality, these are Pontic...

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