UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


YiLaS 3: Yiddish in the 21st Century International Conference

27 March 2023–29 March 2023, 8:45 am–4:00 pm

circular text based logo with the conference title in Engligh and Yiddish

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






YiLaS3 Yiddish Team


Room 1.03
Engineering Building
Malet Place


Concessions £25 (for students and unemployed participants etc., if you are not sure whether this applies to you, please, get in touch)

Registration to attend separate talks. Free of charge

The UCL Departments of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Linguistics are delighted to announce the international conference YiLaS (Yiddish Language Structures) 3: Yiddish in the 21st Century, to be held in person at University College London, March 27-29, 2023. The conference follows on from YiLaS 2 held at the University of Düsseldorf in 2019, and YiLaS 1 held at the University of Regensburg in 2009.

The special theme of the conference is linguistic aspects of contemporary Yiddish including present-day Standard Yiddish, Hasidic and other Haredi types of Yiddish, the relationship between 21st-century Yiddish varieties and historical Eastern European dialects, the emergence of new linguistic features in Yiddish, and the relationship between the Yiddish language and Jewish culture. 

This conference will provide a collegial platform for fruitful discussion and knowledge exchange among specialists in Yiddish language, linguistics, and culture, as well as in comparative Germanic linguistics, sociolinguistics (including language variation and change), language contact, multilingualism, psycholinguistics, and minority and diaspora languages.

Note: Talks are in English or Yiddish. Please come to the conference with headphones and with Zoom installed on your phone so that you will be able to listen to the simultaneous translation from Yiddish to English. Further technical details will be provided in due course.



Following are our suggestions regarding accommodation:

Mid range:

Budget option:





Full Programme (PDF- coming soon) or download as a Word document

Monday 27 March 2023

08:45 – 9:45       Registration (Malet Place Engineering Building, Room 1.20)

09:45 – 10:00    Welcoming Remarks

10:00 – 11:00    Keynote: Lea Schäffer, Philipps University of Marburg: Dynamics of Yiddish Dialects

11:00 – 11:30    Coffee Break (Room 1.20)

11:30 – 13:00    Panel 1: Sociolinguistics

  • Ilya Uchitel, Friedrich Schiller University JenaThe Media as a Diachronic Language Vitality Index: the Cases of Yiddish in the USSR and the US in 20th and 21st Centuries                 
  • Esther Jahns, Carl von Ossietzky University of OldenburgThe Role of Yiddish in the Linguistic Repertoire of German-Speaking Jews in Contemporary Berlin
  • Sonya Yampolskaya, University College London; University of HaifaHebrew-Yiddish Diglossia: Past and Present

13:00 – 14:30    Lunch Break

14:30 – 16:40    Panel 2: Language Contact

  • Dalit Assouline, University of HaifaThe Borrowing of Hebrew Verbs in Israeli Hasidic Yiddish
  • Steffen Krogh, Aarhus UniversityGermanisms in Spoken Eastern Yiddish

--short break--

  • Tamara Gleason Freidberg, University College London / Anayeli Hernández Cruz School of Anthropology and History of Northern MexicoCultural Adaptations: Yiddish and Spanish as Key Resources in the Process of Adaptation and Integration of Ashkenazi Immigrants to Mexico
  • Ber Kotlerman, Bar Ilan Universityלשון-קודשדיקע ציטאטן אינעם סאָוועטישן ייִדיש: דער פּרעצעדענט פון נתן זאבארע [Hebrew-Aramaic Quotations in Soviet Yiddish: Natan Zabara's Precedent]

16:40 – 17:00    Coffee Break (Room 1.20)

17:00 – 18:00    Public Lecture: Rebecca Margolis presenting her new book Yiddish Lives On: Strategies of Language Transmission

20:00 – 21:30    Yiddish Cabaret with Mendy Cahan (UCL, Main Campus, Wilkins Building, Haldane Room)

Tuesday 28 March 2023

10:00 – 13:40    Panel 3: Hasidic Yiddish

10:00 – 11:00    Chaya Nove, University of California, Berkeley:  דער חסידישער צוגאנג צו שפראך אמאל און הײנט[The Hasidic approach to language in the past and present]

11:00 – 11:30    Coffee Break (Room 1.20)

11:30 – 13:40

  • Shmuel HileyAn Overlooked Feature in Yiddish Phonology
  • Athina Vasileiadou, London Borough of Redbridge: Department of Education and Inclusion First Language Acquisition of Yiddish Morpho-syntax: an Empirical Study on the Acquisition of Subject-Verb Agreement and Verb Placement in the Spontaneous Speech of Yiddish-Speaking Toddlers

--short break--

  • Noah Ley, University of EdinburghThe Case of Self-Identity and Cultural Pluralism: How Do Yiddish Speakers Use Language to Construct Their Identity in Contrasting Domains
  • Eli Benedict, League for Yiddishשפראך־אידיאלאגיע: צווישן ליטווישע און חסידים [Language ideology: between Litvish and Hasidish]

13:40 – 15:00    Lunch Break

15:00 – 16:00    Panel 4a: Yiddish Pop Culture

  • Zehavit Stern, Tel Aviv Universityהללויה ייִדיש? אָפּשפּילן ׳דרך הש״ס׳ אין אַ גלאָבאַלער סביבה [Halleluja Yiddish? –  Performing “The Talmudic Path” in a Global Environment]
  • Sarah Bunin Benor, Hebrew Union CollegeJewbellish and YidLife Crisis: Contemporary Engagement with Yiddish

16:00 – 16:30    Coffee Break (Room 1.20)

16:30 – 17:30    Panel 4b: Yiddish Pop Culture

  • Rebecca Margolis, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisationדי ייִדישע שפּראַך אויף דעם אַמעריקאַנער עקראַן [The Yiddish language on the American screen]
  • Mendy Cahan, YUNG YiDiSH Library and Cultural Centre, Tel Aviv, IsraelYiddish in Israel today: the story of YUNG YiDiSH

19:00 – 22:00    Special Conference Dinner: A Tish with Ashkenazic food from Stamford Hill (UCL, Main Campus, Wilkins Building, Haldane Room)

Wednesday 29 March 2023

10:00 – 11:00    Keynote: Isaac Bleaman, University of California, Berkeley: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Sociolinguistic Variation in Yiddish

11:00 – 11:30    Coffee Break (Room 1.20)

11:30 – 14:00    Panel 6: Syntax

  • Zoë Belk, University College LondonNegative Concord in Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish
  • Isaac Bleaman, University of California, Berkeley / Georg Höhn, Georg August University of Göttingen; Humboldt UniversityDefiniteness Type as a Predictor of Preposition-Determiner Interactions in a Yiddish Corpus

---short break---

  • Moshe Taube, Hebrew University of Jerusalemטענות-ומענות: ווי אַזוי טענה׳ט מען זיך אויס אף יידיש [Argumentative clauses in Yiddish]
  • Simon Neuberg, University of Trierדעם סינטַאקס צו אַרומרעדן [An examination of the syntax of the particle tsu]

Lightening Talks

  • Daniel Boukhny, Yiddish Bivalent Verbs from an Areal Perspective
  • Izzy Posen, Teaching physics in Hasidic Yiddish

14:00 – 15:00    Lunch Break

15:00 – 16:00    Closing Roundtable with coffee: Yiddish in the 21st Century

16:00 – onwards             Walk in Stamford Hill

This conference is funded by a UKRI AHRC grant for the research project Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish and held at UCL in association with the Jewish Language Project and our long-term partner YUNG YiDiSH Tel Aviv.


Concessions £25 (for students and unemployed participants etc., if you are not sure whether this applies to you, please, get in touch) Registration to attend separate talks. Free of charge