Er hod gegeybm ales far de yi:dn 'He gave the Jews everything’: On the emergence of prepositional dative marking with far in Transcarpathian Yiddish

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Abstract

Uriel Weinreich's seminal study "Western Traits in Transcarpathian Yiddish" (in For Max Weinreich on his Seventieth Birthday: Studies in Jewish languages, literature, and society, 245-264. The Hague: Mouton) brought a feature into focus that is characteristic not only of Transcarpathian Yiddish, but also of the Haredi idioms descending from it. In the eyes of many representatives of secular Yiddish, it has become a hallmark of so-called Hungarian Yiddish, i.e. Haredi Yiddish derived from Central Yiddish subdialects spoken in Hungary with its 1914 borders. The feature in question is the consistent replacement of nominal dative objects by a prepositional phrase introduced by far 'for, to'. It is tempting to ascribe the rise of the construction to contact-induced influence from Hungarian, which, for historical reasons, occupies an extraordinarily firm position among Jews living in the Transcarpathian area. A major obstacle to such an assumption is, however, that Hungarian itself does not employ prepositions at all. Being an agglutinative language, it expresses grammatical categories of the noun phrase by means of suffixation. In my paper, I will argue that a constructional borrowing from Hungarian can nevertheless be the source of the feature under scrutiny. To substantiate this assumption, another (more straightforward) example of the Hungarian impact on the prepositional system of Transcarpathian Yiddish-the employment of the preposition of (St Yid. oyf 'on/onto') to indicate movement in the direction of geographical locations-will be discussed as well.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLinguistics
Volume57
Issue5
Pages (from-to)893-913
Number of pages21
ISSN0024-3949
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

Keywords

  • Haredi Satmar Yiddish
  • Yiddish-Hungarian language contact
  • nominal dative object
  • prepositional phrase
  • structural interference

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