Yiddish is the historic language of Ashkenazic (Central and East European) Jewry, and is the third principal literary language in Jewish history, after classical Hebrew and (Jewish) Aramaic. The language is characterized by a synthesis of Germanic (the majority component, derived from medieval German city dialects, themselves recombined) with Hebrew and Aramaic. The word for the sun (zun) comes from Germanic, the word for the moon (levóne) from Hebrew, and the word for “probably” is from Aramaic (mistáme). The most basic fusion formula entails the insertion of a Semitic root into Germanic grammatical machinery, evident in such verbs as khásmen(en) (to sign) and táynen (to claim, express the view).
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