Date of Award


Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2024 Shannon R. Friel. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics Department

First Advisor

Nicté Fuller Medina

Second Advisor

Shi-Zhe Huang


U.S. Ashkenazi Jews may call their grandma “bubbe” ([bʊbi]) in Yiddish, but in Argentina they usually call her “bobe” ([βoβe]). Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants brought Yiddish to the U.S. and Argentina, where the language was exposed to English and Spanish and Yiddish speakers lost touch with each other as they assimilated to different cultures far away from one another. This study attempts to answer whether English-Yiddish speakers can understand Yiddish words as produced by a Spanish-Yiddish speaker. U.S. participants completed a perception test, listening to a list of 20 words gathered from two Argentinian consultants and answering a series of questions on recognition, meaning of words, and phonetic differences. The study found that participants only recognized words 36.9% of the time, with Religious Hebrew-origin words and the word for “non-Jew” being the most recognizable. A detailed analysis of the words which were highly recognizable, moderately recognizable and those not recognized at all suggests that lexical and phonological differences are likely contributing to the loss in intelligibility.


Yiddish, Spanish, English, language contact, mutual intelligibility

Included in

Linguistics Commons