28 January 2020 - 3 Shevat 5780 - ג' שבט ה' אלפים תש"פ
Yiddish Language was invented by Slavo-Iranian Jewish merchants E-mail

A new tool called the Geographic Population Structure (GPS), which converts DNA data into its ancestral coordinates, has pinpointed the origin of Yiddish speakers, according to a team of researchers led by Dr. EranElhaik of the University of Sheffield, UK.

The Slavic Yiddish (now universally called simply Yiddish), spoken since the 9th century CE, is the language of Ashkenazic Jews, the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.

The language consists of Hebrew, German, Slavic and other elements written in Aramaic characters. Its origin is something which Linguists have questioned its origins for decades.

The prevalent view claims Yiddish has a German origin, whereas the opposing view posits a Slavic origin. One of the major difficulties in deciding between these hypotheses is the unknown geographical origin of Ashkenazic Jews.

Now, the GPS tool has helped scientists pinpoint that the DNA of Yiddish speakers could have originated from four ancient villages in north-eastern Turkey.

The research, published today in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, suggests Yiddish was invented by Iranian and Ashkenazic Jews as they traded on the Silk Road. “We conclude that Ashkenazic Jews probably originated during the first millennium when Iranian Jews Judaized Greco-Roman, Turk, Iranian, southern Caucasus and Slavic populations inhabiting the lands of Ashkenaz in Turkey,” Dr. Elhaik and coauthors said.

“Our findings imply that Yiddish was created by Slavo Iranian Jewish merchants plying the Silk Roads between Germany, North Africa, and China.”

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