While Yiddish already appears in texts beginning as early as Rashi’s commentaries on the Bible and Talmud,1 there is very little specifically linguistic information about actual idiomatic Yiddish language usage to be gleaned from those or similar glosses and glossaries in the ensuing centuries, for such texts always function to elucidate the glossed Hebrew or Aramaic text rather than as Yiddish texts that stand on their own. As Jean Baumgarten points out, the first treatments of Yiddish appeared at the same time that interest was developing in other European vernaculars and those other vernaculars were beginning to be recognized as having the potential to become languages of culture alongside the classical languages.2 This development ran parallel to the development of the printing industry, which distributed books to a far broader audience than had ever before had access to texts.3


Linguistic Information Printing Industry Jewish Culture Orthographical Rule Hebrew Alphabet 
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  1. 1.
    See Arsène Darmesteter, “Les Gloses françaises de Raschi dans la Bible,” Revue des Etudes juives 53 (1907), 161–93Google Scholar
  2. Arsène Darmesteter and D.S. Blondheim, Les Gloses françaises dans les commentaires talmudiques de Raschi, vol. 1: Texte des Gloses (Paris: Champion, 1929)Google Scholar
  3. Erika Timm, “Zur Frage der Echtheit von Raschis jiddischen Glossen,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache undLiteratur 107 (1985), 45–81Google Scholar
  4. Jerold C. Frakes, Early Yiddish Texts, 1100–1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Jean Baumgarten, Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature, ed. and trans. Jerold C. Frakes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    See, especially, Anders Ahlquist, “Les Premières Grammaires des vernaculaires européens,” in Sylvain Auroux, ed. Histoire des idées linguistiques, II: Le développement de la grammaire occidentale (Liège: P. Mardaga, 1992), pp. 107–14Google Scholar
  7. Mirko Tavoni, “La linguistica rinascimentale,” in Giulio C. Lepschy, ed. Storia delia linguistica, vol. 2 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1991), pp. 169–312Google Scholar
  8. Louis Kukenheim, Contributions à l’histoire de la grammaire italienne, espagnole et française à la Renaissance (Amsterdam: N.v. Noordhollandsche uitgevers maatschappij, 1932)Google Scholar
  9. G.A. Padley, Grammatical Theory in Western Europe 1500–1700: Trends in Vernacular Grammar, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985–8)Google Scholar
  10. 5.
    On the Humanist description of other vernaculars, see G.A. Padley, Grammatical Theory, vol. III, pp. 244-318; Heinrich Weber, “Die Ausbildung der deutschen Grammatik (einschließlich der niederländischen),” Histoire, épistémologie, language 9/1 (1987), 11–31Google Scholar
  11. Erika Ising, Die Anfänge der volkssprachlichen Grammatik in Deutschland und Böhmen. Dargestellt am Einfluß der Schrift des Aelius Donatus De octo partibus orationis ars minor Teil I: Quellen (Berlin: Akademie, 1966).Google Scholar

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© Jerold C. Frakes 2007

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