Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q13.13 TOC Sect. 14 >

Question 13.14:
Is Yiddish a Jewish Language? What are Jewish Languages?


This is a hard question, as the meaning of a "Jewish Language" is unclear, just as the question of whether Latin was a Christian language is unclear. But let's look at some common languages you'll see in connection with Judaism.

Hebrew. This was the original language used by Jews, and is the language of the Torah.

Aramaic. This language was also used by Jews, and a number of prayers are written in Aramaic.

Yiddish. Yiddish is a mixture of Hebrew and German, and is used by Jews of Ashkenazi descent. You can find much more information on Yiddish at "The Jewish Culture and the Yiddish Language".

Ladino. Ladino is the Yiddish equivalent in the Sephardi community of southern Europe. You can find more information at

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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