The Languages of Diaspora and Return

Bernard Spolsky

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Until quite recently, the term Diaspora (usually with the capital) meant the dispersion of the Jews in many parts of the world. Now, it is recognized that many other groups have built communities distant from their homeland, such as Overseas Chinese, South Asians, Romani, Armenians, Syrian and Palestinian Arabs. To explore the effect of exile on language repertoires, the article traces the sociolinguistic development of the many Jewish Diasporas, starting with the community exiled to Babylon, and following through exiles in Muslim and Christian countries in the Middle Ages and later. It presents the changes that occurred linguistically after Jews were granted full citizenship. It then goes into details about the phenomenon and problem of the Jewish return to the homeland, the revitalization and revernacularization of the Hebrew that had been a sacred and literary language, and the rediasporization that accounts for the cases of maintenance of Diaspora varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages119
ISBN (Electronic)9789004340244
ISBN (Print)9789004338388
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by Bernard Spolsky.


  • Aramaic
  • Exile
  • Hebrew
  • Ladino
  • Yiddish
  • emancipation
  • language varieties
  • migration
  • repertoires
  • revernacularization and revitalization
  • vernacularization
  • vitalization


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