Language: Yinglish

Classification

This entry has been retired and is featured here only for bookkeeping purposes. Either the entry has been replaced with one or more more accurate entries or it has been retired because it was based on a misunderstanding to begin with.

Retired in ISO 639-3: Merged into English [eng]; entirely intelligible with English.

  • Change request: 2006-044
  • ISO 639-3: yib
  • Name: Yinglish
  • Reason: merge
  • Effective: 2007-07-18

Excerpt from change request document:

I do not believe that there exists evidence justifying the treatment of Yinglish as a separate language from English, rather than a dialect with Yiddish-derived vocabulary and occasional aberrant Yiddish-derived syntax. The differences between English and Yinglish are simply not comparable to the differences between German and Yiddish or Spanish and Ladino. In fact, Yinglish fits smoothly into the English dialect continuum. Yinglish is readily understood by speakers of plain English, provided the lexical items are explained, and even some of them have now entered the lexicon of colloquial American English, as your mavin Joshua Fishman notes. If there are enough unusual items, as in Yeshiva English, the speech may be unintelligible to the uninstructed listener, but no more so than the technical talk of pilots, doctors, or computer programmers. (Some borrowed words have un-English phonologies, but so do "Bach" and "oeuvre" as pronounced by many English speakers.) Furthermore, U.S. and U.K. Yinglish are about as different as U.S. and U.K. English, though segregating the first two into a separate language would lead us to expect that they would stand together as against non-Jewish dialects of English. Orthographically (which is relevant to the sociolinguistics), Yinglish is invariably written in Latin script using mostly English conventions, quite unlike the various Jewish languages, which are mostly written in Hebrew script using their own conventions. Finally, the Ethnologue claim that Yinglish is "a second language only" is misleading. It is not a second language which some English-speakers also command; it is for the most part the particular way in which those English-speakers speak their first language, English (There are some Yinglish-speakers whose first Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code, page 2

language is not English, of course.) Furthermore, the number and variety of Yinglish features in a particular speaker's speech (or writing) is under direct control: one can use more or fewer of them as appropriate. I've used only one in this letter. (On a separate note, the term "Ameridish", listed in the Ethnologue as a synonym for Yinglish, wasn't originally meant to be: it was coined by Rosten to refer to Eastern Yiddish as spoken in the United States, with English lexical influences. He occasionally lost track of his own distinction, defining "opstairsiker/keh" as Yinglish and "donstairsiker/keh" as Ameridish for upstairs and downstairs neighbor respectively; both terms can be seen as either. But then again, Samuel Johnson defined "windward" and "leeward" the same way!)

References

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