Turkey, Shmurkey! — A Response to Das et al. (2016)

Jun 10, 2016 by

As promised in an earlier post, I am presenting here an informal response to the article, published recently in Genome Biology and Evolution by Paul Wexler, Eran Elhaik and colleagues (henceforth, Das et al. 2016). To summarize my...

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Is Yiddish to Be Traced to Turkey?

Apr 29, 2016 by

[Thanks to Leni Silberman for originally drawing my attention to one of the media reports, and to Antonia Cavendish, Maria Soukhanova, Anna Dybo, Peter Shalen, Razib Khan, and Martin Lewis for helpful discussions.]   In the past...

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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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Language Endangerment: Ideology or Fact?

Feb 13, 2015 by

I have been asked by a former student to comment on the article by Katie Wudel “Languages Are Going Extinct Even Faster Than Species”, published in the Good magazine online. Contrary to the name of the magazine, the article is...

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