Languishing Languages

From a good article on Haaretz:

"The Jews who lived in the regions of northern Iraq on the border with Turkey, Kurdistan and Azerbaijan brought a plethora of languages to Israel with them, some of which were classified as "Neo-Aramaic."

The key to the development of these different languages was the isolation of the various Jewish communities in the region. Linguists explain that when an innovation is introduced in a language, it moves like a wave between the communities that speak that language. However, in mountainous areas, linguistic innovations cannot easily spread, and the more isolated the communities were - especially Jewish communities that kept to themselves - the more likely it was that a unique language would arise.

Read the rest here.


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