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Yiddish and Multiculturalism: A Marriage Made in Heaven?

From: Canadian Ethnic Studies
Volumes 43-44, Numbers 3-1, 2011-2012
pp. 213-225 | 10.1353/ces.2011.0047



Yiddish has shifted from a Jewish immigrant language to a Jewish heritage and ethnic language within the rubric of Canadian multiculturalism. This paper examines the interplay between four decades of multiculturalism and the changing place of Yiddish within Canadian life. It discusses how multiculturalism has encouraged the maintenance of a distinct Yiddish culture as an expression of Jewish identity within the matrix of Canadian diversity, notably in the areas of literature and translation. At the same time, the integration of Yiddish into the wider fabric of Canadian society as a symbol of ethnic identity has resulted in increasingly symbolic usage of Yiddish in the mainstream.


De langue juive immigrante, Le yiddish est devenu ethnique et patrimonial dans un contexte de multiculturalisme canadien. Ce travail porte sur l'interaction entre l'évolution du rôle du yiddish dans la vie canadienne et quatre décennies de multiculturalisme. Nous y examinons comment ce dernier a encouragé la maintenance d'une culture yiddish distincte comme expression d'une identité juive au sein de la diversité canadienne, notamment en littérature et en traduction. Par ailleurs, l'intégration de cette langue dans un tissu élargi de la société canadienne comme symbole d'iden-tité ethnique a mené à son usage symbolique de plus en plus commun.

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