UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


YiLaS (Yiddish Language Structures) 3: Yiddish in the 21st Century

27 March 2023–29 March 2023, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



Kriszta Szendroi and Zoe Belk

The UCL Departments of Hebrew and Jewish Studies (Lily Kahn and Sonya Yampolskaya) and Linguistics (Kriszta Eszter Szendrői and Zoë Belk) are delighted to be hosting 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.

Registration is now open. The three-day full program features dozens of Yiddish linguists alongside our keynote speakers Lea Schäffer (Philipps University of Marburg) and Isaac Bleaman (University of California, Berkeley), with panels ranging from sociolinguistics, to syntax, from Yiddish online to a panel led and chaired by Chaya Nove (University of California, Berkeley) on Hasidic Yiddish. We are also hosting a public lecture by Rebecca Margolis on her new book with the fitting title 'Yiddish lives On'. Our non-academic program features a walk in Stamford Hill with Izzy Posen, our very own Tish in the Haldane Room featuring Ashkenazi food and a Yiddish Cabaret with Mendy Cahan accompanied on the accordion by Josh Middleton.

The special theme of the conference will be linguistic aspects of contemporary Yiddish. These can include but are not limited to 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. Note that the theme is not exclusory and contributions on issues relating to historical Yiddish variants are also welcome.

It is our intention that the 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.

The conference will include the following keynote speakers:

  • Isaac L. Bleaman (UC Berkeley)
  • Lea Schäfer (Philipps Universität Marburg)

There will also be a special panel on Hasidic Yiddish in the 21st century convened by Chaya Nove (UC Berkeley).

The conference’s cultural programme will include a walk in Hasidic Stamford Hill and a Yiddish Cabaret with Mendy Cahan (YUNG YiDiSH, Tel Aviv).

Articles based on selected conference papers will be subsequently published in a peer-reviewed edited volume. We will provide further details in due course.

About the Speakers

Isaac L. Bleaman

at UC Berkeley

Lea Schäfer

at Philipps Universität Marburg