Neil G. Jacobs

Professor Emeritus
Faculty – Emeritus

Neil G. Jacobs, PhD (Columbia University, 1984)

Research interests: Yiddish phonology and morphology; history of the Yiddish language; Yiddish linguistic geography; general historical linguistics, Post-Yiddish Jewish ethnolects (especially of German and Dutch); use of language in Jewish cabaret; ethnography of Ashkenazic Jewish speech/the linguistic performance of Jewishness.

Books: Economy in Yiddish Vocalism: A study in the interplay of Hebrew and non-Hebrew components (1990). Harrassowitz Verlag
Yiddish: A linguistic introduction (2005). Cambridge University Press
Edited volumes: Studies in Jewish Geography. Special Issue of Shofar: An interdisciplinary journal of Jewish studies, Vol. 17, No. 1. Fall 1998.
When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Language Competition, and Language Coexistence. Edited by Brian D. Joseph, Johanna DeStefano, Neil Jacobs, and Ilse Lehiste. Ohio State University Press. (2003).

Articles on: Hebrew-Aramaic component in Yiddish; Yiddish phonology; Yiddish morphology; history of the Yiddish language; Yiddish linguistic geography; hyperforeignism in general linguistic change; diglossia; ethnogeographic information systems (EGIS) for mainframe and pc; Jewish-German; Jewish cabaret.

Major courses taught: History of the Yiddish language; Yiddish linguistic geography; language and society in interwar Vienna. Newer teaching projects include: a group-studies course in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese under the rubric Spanish 694: "Introduction to Papiamentu language and Culture".

Areas of Expertise
  • Yiddish phonology & morphology
  • history of the Yiddish language
  • Yiddish linguistic geography