The Yiddish Language

For roughly a thousand years, Yiddish was the shared vernacular of Ashkenazic (Eastern and Central European) Jews. As a fusion language that synthesizes Germanic, Slavic, Hebrew, Aramaic, and other linguistic components, Yiddish has long reflected histories of migration, expulsion, and cultural contact. It has had, moreover, a truly global reach, with active cultural and social centers in Warsaw, Kiev, Vilnius, Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Tel Aviv, New York, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and Melbourne, among other places. Yiddish also has a long history in Sweden, where it is a national minority language and where there are active revitalization efforts. 

As a result of the Holocaust and widespread linguistic acculturation, Yiddish lost the majority of its speakers in the mid-twentieth century. However, upwards of a million people worldwide continue to speak Yiddish as their mother tongue, especially in Hasidic communities in the United States, Israel/Palestine, and Europe. In recent years, the number of Yiddish speakers has been growing, not shrinking. 

Courses in Yiddish

Lund University is the only university in Scandinavia that offers a robust sequence of courses in Yiddish, in addition to supporting advanced research in Yiddish language, literature, and culture. Current course offerings include Yiddish language courses from the beginning to the advanced levels; training courses for teachers of Yiddish in public schools; as well as a variety of seminars (conducted both in English and Yiddish) on Yiddish culture, such as “Yiddish Cinema,” “Jewish Cultural Responses to the Holocaust,” and the “Narrative Art of Sholem Aleichem.” Many courses are taught online to allow for participation from students and teachers who live elsewhere in Sweden or abroad, but some courses are offered on campus in Lund. New courses and international agreements are actively being planned. 

Students new to the subject are encouraged to sign up for a beginning language course or a culture course conducted in English, and/or to reach out to a member of the teaching staff to learn more about Yiddish. Students with some prior training in the language are also encouraged to reach out to a member of the teaching staff about proper placement. 

Courses in Yiddish

Bachelor of Arts in Yiddish

Students can complete a BA in Yiddish at Lund University, and an MA may be offered in the coming years. While some of the courses must be taken in sequence, many can be taken as standalone courses. Undergraduate and graduate students specializing in other subjects may also choose to pair their major course of studies with Yiddish. Indeed, as one of the most widely spoken Jewish languages, with a rich tradition of literature, music, politics, and religious practice, students interested in a wide range of linguistic, sociocultural, and historical topics may find Yiddish to be an exciting and multifaceted research language. 


Head Of Section
Johanna Lindbladh

Director Of Studies
Rakel Nihlén

Absalon A141b

Student Counselling
Bibliotekshuset LUX:B376
Humanisthuset H121c


Library Guide

Intervju med Simo Muir

Simo Muir, som undervisar i jiddisch, intervjuades i SRs program "Jiddisch far alle".

Social media

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Page Manager: marina.anderssonslav.luse | 2024-03-14