Yiddish developed from Middle High German in the 11th-13th centuries. It has mainly been spoken by Ashkenazic Jews from northern and eastern Europe and their descendants since that time, Ashkenaz being the medieval Hebrew name for Germany. It uses the Hebrew script and has two main forms, Western and Eastern - which is the more common form. Yiddish is used as a first language in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world. Many Yiddish words have found their way into English, such as schmooze (from shmuesn 'converse, chat'). Australia is home to a small number of Yiddish speakers, the majority of whom are Australian-born. Yiddish is currently taught in only one Australian university.

Number of people in Australia who speak this language at home: 1,764 (ABS Census Data, 2011)

Language Categories: European Languages and Middle Eastern Languages

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