Jewish History

, Volume 20, Issue 3–4, pp 333–348 | Cite as

“End of the jargon-scandal” – The decline and fall of Yiddish in the Netherlands (1796–1886)

  • Bart T. WalletEmail author


In the nineteenth century the language of the Ashkenazi community in the Netherlands rapidly changed as the Dutch vernacular replaced Yiddish. In the first half of the century a coalition composed of government officials and members of the Jewish elite collaborated in matters of language–politics. The goal was the acculturation of the Jewish community by advocating Dutch and combating Yiddish. Controlling Jewish education and encouraging preaching in the vernacular were the most important means employed, and by the second half of the century, Yiddish disappeared as the language of Dutch Jews. The arguments of the proponents of Dutch were centered on social integration and the belief that Yiddish was not a proper language. The advocates of Yiddish defended their language by stressing it as an international means of Jewish communication.


language jargon scandal Yiddish 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hebrew and Jewish StudiesUniversiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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