Re: Yiddish digraphs

From: Mark E. Shoulson <>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:41:51 -0400

On 10/19/2011 03:32 PM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>> Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:08:12 -0400
>> From: "Mark E. Shoulson"<>
>> List-software: Ecartis version 1.0.0
>> I think the issue here is (probably) a matter of legacy encodings,
>> though someone else would need to confirm that.
> I see another possible explanation. Yiddish is in some sense a
> transliteration of old German with Hebrew letters. In German, as in
> many other European languages, vowels are letters on their own right,
> not just diacriticals written above or below the consonants. These
> digraphs, as well as U+FB2E etc., could be an attempt to have separate
> characters that correspond to German vowels, as opposed to having
> pairs of characters to express those vowels.

Yeah, but German doesn't mind using pairs (or triples) of letters for
single consonants (sch) or vowels either (au, ei, etc.) So I don't see
why writers using Hebrew should be so shy of doing so. Indeed, they
weren't: they used vav-yod and yod-yod and so on: *pairs* of letters,
which came to be regarded as single characters. But it doesn't look
like they would try to reconceive of them as single characters in order
to match what German does, since German doesn't do that anyway. Note
also that all the Yiddish digraphs represent diphthongs, not pure vowels.

Received on Wed Oct 19 2011 - 14:43:57 CDT

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