According to an article in the New York Times, "Yiddish was invented by Jews who had arrived in Europe with the Roman army as traders, later settling in the Rhineland of western Germany and northern France." Yiddish is unique because it mixes Hebrew, Aramaic and Romance with German, and is not just a dialect of German. The similarities between Hebrew and Yiddish are clear when comparing the written language as they use the same set of written letters. However, the vowels used in the Hebrew language are often omitted in Yiddish.
What is amazing is how many Yiddish words and phrases are still used in today's language. For instance, go to any deli and ask for a schmear of cream cheese on your bagel and they won't question your order as they spread the cream cheese on your bagel. But don't be a schmuck and ask for white toast at the deli, that's a goyim thing to do. And if you've ever used "Oy vey" as an expression of grief and exasperation, or "glitch" to describe a minor problem or error, consider yourself knowledgeable in Yiddish. Try this quiz now. You'll be surprised how much you know. Then we can say "matzel tov" because you received such a high score.
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