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Open Programma

Modern Yiddish Language Acquisition

Yiddish was at one time the international language of Ashkenazic Jews, the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants. A hybrid of Hebrew and medieval German, Yiddish takes about three-quarters of its vocabulary from German, but borrows words liberally from Hebrew and many other languages from the many lands where Ashkenazic Jews have lived.

Yiddish has a grammatical structure all its own, and is written in an alphabet based on Hebrew characters. In this module you will start by learning the Hebrew alphabet and then learn about the morphology and syntax of modern Yiddish, focusing on verbs and constructing simple sentences.

Upon completion of this module you will have basic reading and writing skills in modern Yiddish, a basic knowledge of the grammar and syntax of modern Yiddish. You will also learn about the treasures of Yiddish culture through literature, folklore, songs, and films. As Yiddish is the medium and mirror of a millennium of Jewish life, we will frequently refer to the history and culture of European (Ashkenazi) Jewry when studying the language.


D. (Daniella) Zaidman-Mauer

Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

Capaciteitsgroep Semitische talen en culturen

Prof. dr. I.E. (Irene) Zwiep

Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

Capaciteitsgroep Semitische talen en culturen

Time, location and price

  • 14 February - 23 March 2023
  • Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-13:00 (on both days)
  • P.C. Hoofthuis 1.05 (Tuesday) and Oudemanhuispoort C.0.17 (Thursday)
  • Costs: € 190 (€ 171 AUV members)

Important to know

  • The registration deadline has passed.
  • For the current study schedule, please consult the UvA timetable website
  • You can only audit an OUC, which means that you may only attend lectures and cannot take part in the examination, or obtain ECTS credits.

Study material

The instruction of the Yiddish language skills will be based on the following books:

  • Uriel Weinreich, College Yiddish: An Introduction to the Yiddish Language and to Jewish Life and Culture (New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; 6th edition, 1999)
  • Lily Kahn, Colloquial Yiddish (London: Routledge; 1st edition, 2015)
  • all additional sources and materials will be provided via Canvas.

Public programme Humanities

This Open UvA Course is part of the Faculty of Humanities' public programme. Beside Open UvA Courses, the public programme also comprises special lectures and series of courses. The public programme is intended for alumni, employees looking for extra training, and all others who are interested in art, culture, philosophy, language and literature, history and religion.

Feiten & cijfers
Vorm Open UvA-college
Voertaal Engels
Start Februari