Duolingo adds Yiddish to the menu – Barbara Krasnoff

Art: Duotrope

Duolingo, the popular language learning app, offers a wide variety of languages in its list of courses. While it’s known for teaching well-known tongues such as French, Spanish, and Chinese, it has also added courses in languages that are less widely used, such as Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Hawaiian — and now, as of April 6th, its 40th language: Yiddish.

While Yiddish in the US is known more for some of the words that have entered the popular lexicon (“He’s such a schmuck!”), it is actually a full-scale language. An amalgamation of High German, Hebrew, and Aramaic, with a smattering of Slavic languages (and more recently, English), before World War II, it was widely spoken by Jewish communities living throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

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