On October 9th, Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor (Vice Provost and Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (LA) and Adjunct Professor in the University of Southern California Linguistics Department) will present a talk titled Beyond bagels and burekas: American Jewish language and identity. The talk will be from 5:30-7:00pm in B-342 Wells Hall. Dr. Benor is hosted by the Michigan State University Jewish Studies program, and her visit is co-sponsored by us, the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab. An abstract of Dr. Benor’s talk is below.
“Using quotes and images, this talk highlights the diversity of American Jews by focusing on the diverse uses of “Jewish American English” – enriched primarily by words from Yiddish and Hebrew, but also, in particular ancestral groups, Ladino, Russian, Farsi, Judeo-Arabic, and other languages. Jews of various stripes use subtle variation in language to signal their textual knowledge, religious denomination, generation from immigration, ancestral origin, and orientation toward Israel. In short, “Jewish language” serves not only to distinguish Jews from non-Jews but also to distinguish Jews from Jews.”