Jerusalem: City of Gold, and of Yiddish

Tucked away under the flyover approaching Jerusalem from Tel Aviv are a handful of dilapidated, abandoned stone houses, clinging to the side of the hill, covered in weeds  and scattered with rotting supermarket trolleys. With the exception of a few snakes and squatters, this area has long been deserted. It’s a village called Lifta, and it tells a story not …

The ‘Mother Tongue’: A brief introduction to Yiddish

Speaking at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest last weekend, I took the opportunity to give some air time to a particular language that might have dropped a little from the agenda. Yiddish (also known as מאַמע-לשון / ‘mame loshn‘ – the ‘mother tongue’) has never been studied to any great extent outside Jewish communities, and now it is under even more threat, as people …

Multilingualism and literature: 10 authors who write in other languages

Is writing an internationally acclaimed, bestseller novel in a foreign language a mark of fluency? Following on from my recent post, I thought it would be interesting to list some of the many multilingual writers and novelists who write in other languages. What particularly interests me, is that many of these write in their second or third languages, of which …