Jewish-Languages Mailing List

March 2001

Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 14:01
From: Hayim Sheynin <user @>
Subject: Software program for writing dictionaries and concordances

To the members of the list.

Are any of you aware of existence of a computer program for writing dictionaries and concordances?
If such programs exist, please give short information about the program and how it is possible to get one.

Dr. Hayim Y. Sheynin
Gratz College Library
Please do not reply.
Email to: hsheynin @

Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 08:52
From: Hayim Sheynin <hsheynin @>
Subject: Fw: Software program for writing dictionaries and concordances

To the members of this list.

I like to express my thanks to all the members who answered my question on
software for compiling dictionaries and concordances. I received a half
dozen answers. Now I have some leads toward the
solution of my problems. I like to thank especially Seth Jerchower, W.F.
Weigel, Prof. Gideon Goldenberg, Prof. Yaakov Bentolila, David Argoff, and
I. Dan Melamed.

Happy and joyful Purim to all of you.

Dr. Hayim Y. Sheynin
Gratz College
Melrose Park, PA

Here are some of the answers.

Dear Hayim,

Here are several links, as promised. I still think that "Concordance" may
be the best program available for the actual generation of concordances, and
is by far easier to use and set up than most others.

The URLs are as follows: "Concordance" Version 2.0.0 (30 day trial
version). The Linguist List: software
for ling "LinguaLinks Software" "Wordsmith"

Nonetheless, the combined power of Access/Office 2000 and Win98 or 2000
(again NOT ME), is formidable. Should you opt for this and would like help
in setting it up, please feel free to call on me.

Best regards, Seth

Dear Dr. Sheynin-
There is a program (for both Windows and Macintosh) called
'Shoebox' or 'The Linguist's Shoebox' that is used by a number of
linguists here at Berkeley. It is produced by SIL (the Summer Institute
of Linguistics, a sort of missionary organization) and used to be
available for free download, but I have heard that they are now charging
for it. The site is <HTTP:>. Earlier (free)
versions should be downloadable from other websites.
I have not personally used this program, but my understanding is
that it is a sort of database for storing both individual lexical items
and texts, and that it can be used to general wordlists, dictionaries,
concordances, etc. It is supposed to replace the old-fashioned linguists
shoebox full of file slips.
I hope this helps.
-W.F. Weigel

> From I. Dan Melamed

Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately, the question is outside my
scope of expertise. I study automatic creation of dictionaries for use *by
computers*. You seek something human-readable, which is quite a different
enterprise. Discussion of relevant topics is often found on the corpora
See . If you don't find anything
useful in the archives, you will at least find contact info for people who
know more about this than I.

Good luck,


> From Prof. Gideon Goldenberg

Dear Hayim Sheynin,

"conc" - Concordance Generating Program, is light, fast and
very powerful. It makes a concordance of even large files in
about one second. This I can say of the 1993 version; I do not
know about late versions. It used to be distributed for free.
The copyright belongs to the

Summer Institute of Linguistics,
7500 West Camp Wisdom Road,
Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

They should know more about it.

Best wishes,
Gideon Goldenberg

> From Prof. Yaakov Bentolila

Shalom Hayim,
There is a very good program for language analysis processing, and you can
find it in the following URL:
Its name: Lingualinks Workshop (windows only)
They have other efficient programs too, for example "Shoebox" (windows and
You will see if you take a look.
Good luck

Prof. Yaakov Bentolila
Hebrew Language Department
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 12:57
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: Jewish Language Research Website

Call for Jewish language scholars' information
for a new website to be launched by May 2001:

Jewish Language Research Website

This website will be a resource for anyone interested in researching or
learning about languages of the Jews (including various forms of Hebrew).
It will include names of scholars, their research interests, papers and
books they have written, and their contact information. If you are
interested in being listed on this website, please send the following
information to Sarah Bunin Benor (sbenor @ ) by March 30, 2001.

Name (family name, first name)
Academic Affiliation
E-mail Address (optional)
Your Website URL (optional)
Area(s) and Language(s) of Interest,
listed with books and/or papers (published or unpublished)
that you've written in those areas, starting from most recent

An example would be as follows:


Name: Benor, Sarah Bunin
Academic Affiliation: Stanford University
Country: United States
E-mail Address: sbenor @
My Website URL: -----
Areas of Interest w/papers written:

1. Benor, S.B. In press. "Sounding Learned: The Gendered Use of
/t/ in Orthodox Jewish English." Penn Working Papers in Linguistics:
Selected papers from NWAV 2000.

American Jewish English
1. Benor, S. 2000. "Loan Words in the English of Modern Orthodox
Jews: Yiddish or Hebrew?" In S. Chang et al, eds., Proceedings of
the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1999.
Parasession on Loan Word Phenomena. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics
Society. 287-298.
2. Benor, S.B. 1999. "Language Ideologies in a California Chabad
Community." Presented at Association for Jewish Studies 31st Annual
Meeting. Chicago.

1. Benor, S.B. Manuscript. "Hebrew-Derived Verbs in Yiddish."

1. Benor, S.B. 2000. "Jew and 'Other' in Judezmo: How Ottoman
Sephardic Jews Distinguish Non-Jews." Presented at Misgav Yerushalayim's
conference on Languages of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. Jerusalem, June

Jewish Languages / Comparative Jewish Linguistics

Language Contact


Area(s) of interest might include: Biblical Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew,
Medieval Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, Yiddish (Eastern or Western),
Ladino/Judezmo/Judeo-Spanish, Hakitia, Judeo-Arabic (Moroccan,
Yemenite...), Judeo-Aramaic (old or new), Judeo-Greek (old or new),
Judeo-Persian (old or new), Judeo-Tadjik, Judeo-Tat, Judeo-Italian,
Judeo-Portuguese, Judeo-Catalan, Judeo-Malayalam, Judeo-Provencale,
Judeo-French, Jewish English... comparative Jewish linguistics,
sociolinguistics, language contact, language change, language variation,
phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax, discourse, pragmatics, genre,
oral Hebrew/Aramaic traditions, ethnography of communication, ethnic
language varieties, language and education...

Books and papers should be listed in the following format (with no
italics or hanging indents):

Weinreich, M. 1953. "Yidishkayt and Yiddish: On the Impact of Religion
on Language in Ashkenazic Jewry." In M. Davis, ed., Mordecai M. Kaplan
Jubilee Volume. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary. 481-514.

Please send your entries within the body of the message, without any
special formatting (just text). If you would like to list any works in
non-Latin letters, please send your entries as attachements in Word 2000.

Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested, and spread
the word to any scholars who don't have e-mail (and ask them to send their
information through someone who does have e-mail). Please send all
communication regarding the website to Sarah (sbenor @

When the website opens, an announcement will be posted to this list.

Coordinated by:

Sarah Bunin Benor, Stanford University, USA
with technical assistance from
Tsuguya Sasaki, Osaka University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 13:50
From: Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor @>
Subject: AJS call

The Association for Jewish Studies has posted its call for papers for the
conference this December. Abstracts are now due March 29, so there's still
time to send in proposals for panels or individual papers. The language
section's suggested themes for this year are:

Language and Modernity
Language Contact and Language Choice
The Acquisition of Jewish Languages
Translation and the Cultural Canon

But you can also submit papers and panels on other themes.

You can see the call for papers, which has all the info you'll need, at:

Also, if anyone is interested in submitting papers for a panel on language
and identity or language and gender, please let me know.


Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 12:53
From: Hayim Sheynin <user @>
Subject: Fw: Another theory on Daven

Recently one of reference librarians published on Association of Jewish
Bulletin Board "Hasafran" a query on the etymology of the Yiddish daven or
davenen (to pray).
Since this etymology is not widely known can anyone with authority to
the following answers.

hsheynin @

Dr. Hayim Y. Sheynin
Head of Reference Services
Tuttleman Library of Gratz College
7605 Old York Rd.
Melrose Park, PA 19027

tel. 215 635-7300, ext. 161 fax: 215 635-7320
e-mail: hsheynin @


Dear Michelle et al,

Daven may be a corruption of the Aramaic word "de'avuhon" which means "of
the Patriarchs," an allusion to the gemara (Berachos 26b) which says that
the shemona esrei prayers were instituted by Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov.
I have also heard that it is a form of an early German word related to the
English "dawn."

Another theory on Daven

To Daven may come from Old French, in which case it is related to the
English word "devotion", and entered Jewish vocabulary by way of Rashi
(Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, the medieval French Torah commentator).

Alan Cohen
The Sephardi Education Resource Centre
Sephardi Association of Victoria Inc.
79 Hotham Street
East St.Kilda. VIC. 3183
Ph: +613 9527 2943 Fax: +613 9521 1083
email: alanlc @

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 16:42
From: Laura Minervini <lrminer @>
Subject: [Introduction]

My name is Laura Minervini, I am associate professor of Romance Linguistics
and Philology at the University of Naples. I am interested in Judeo-Romance
languages, especially in Judeo-Spanish.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Laura Minervini
Dipartimento di Filologia Moderna
Università di Napoli Federico II
Via Porta di Massa 1
I-80133 Napoli
Tel.: +39-081-2535539
Fax: +39-081-5527511
E-mail: lrminer @

Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001 07:05
From: Hayim Sheynin <user @>
Subject: Fw: Another theory on Daven

I received quite a number of answers on my posting on etymology of Yiddish
daven, davenen (to say prayers) and feel myself obligated to post them for
all the members. Part of the answers came
from the members of this list, while the rest is from Hasafran.
I am pretty sure that catenae of answers will continue to arrive. Please do
not hold me accountable if I stop to forward additional answers. But anyone
who is interested can email to
hsheynin @, and I'll be happy to forward the email received.

Happy Passover,

hsheynin @

Dr. Hayim Y. Sheynin
Head of Reference Services
Tuttleman Library of Gratz College
7605 Old York Rd.
Melrose Park, PA 19027

tel. 215 635-7300, ext. 161 fax: 215 635-7320
e-mail: hsheynin @
-----Original Message-----
From: mherzog @
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 3:00 PM
To: hsheynin @
Subject: your query about _dav(e)nen_

The etymologies you cite are no more reliable than numerous others that this
word has inspired. For a discussion of this matter, see Page 216 and
Map(#83)of variants, in:
_The Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry_, Volume III: "The
Eastern Yiddish--Western Yiddish Continuum", Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tuebingen 2000.

Mikhl Herzog
Dear Dr. Sheynin,

So as not to make you sorry you asked, I'll answer VERY briefly.

The etymology of Yiddish "davnen" 'say the prayers' (not the same as
'pray'!) is not known. There have been about two dozen proposed etymologies
(if you would like bibliographical references, I would be happy to supply
them); unfortunately, none of them are convincing. Sorry to disappoint! We
continue to await the bolt of lightning that will illuminate the origin of
this word...

Incidentally, the Aramaic etymology I have seen is not "de'avuhon" , but
"davinan"; the French etymology not "devotion," but "divin(e)."

I'm always interested to hear about etymology in general and Yiddish
etymology in particular, so please keep in touch!

All the best,

Paul G.

* * *
Dr. Paul (Hershl) Glasser
> Associate Dean, Max Weinreich Center
Senior Research Associate, Yiddish Language
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 West 16 Street
New York, New York


Dear Professor Sheynin,

Have you heard the theory that Davenen is from Turkish? A friend of mine,
Daisy Sadaka Braverman, from Izmir, is sure that the word is Turkish.

George Jochnowitz