Watch Classic Seinfeld Scenes Dubbed in .… Yiddish

You may nev­er have heard much Yid­dish, but we can’t call it a dead lan­guage. The tongue of the Ashke­nazi Jews, one referred to in the 19th and part of the 20th cen­tu­ry as sim­ply “Jew­ish,” cer­tain­ly did, how­ev­er, have a near-death expe­ri­ence. Just before World War II, the num­ber of Yid­dish speak­ers alive num­bered some­where between 11 and 13 mil­lion; today we don’t even know the fig­ure, though one esti­mate from the 1990s-era puts it under two mil­lion. The lan­guage, which first emerged in ninth-cen­tu­ry Europe, has in recent decades come back from the brink of extinc­tion, and resur­gences of Yid­dish edu­ca­tion have hap­pened in many his­tor­i­cal­ly Jew­ish parts of the world. But as in any less-com­mon lan­guage, stu­dents may find them­selves short of those most effec­tive learn­ing tools: fun things to watch. Now, to help with their acqui­si­tion of the still not espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar Yid­dish, they have a bit of the mas­sive­ly pop­u­lar Sein­feld.

Thanks to that mas­sive pop­u­lar­i­ty, the quin­tes­sen­tial 1990s sit­com has aired inter­na­tion­al­ly, dubbed into a great many local lan­guages. But when it comes to Yid­dish, those inter­est­ed in learn­ing, speak­ing, and hear­ing it have had to take mat­ters into their own hands — an abil­i­ty cel­e­brat­ed through­out the annals of Jew­ish his­to­ry, and just the sort of thing that revived the “Jew­ish” lan­guage in the first place. Vimeo user A Mishel has post­ed a series of Sein­feld clips edu­ca­tion­al­ly repur­posed with Yid­dish dia­logue, often using old-favorite episodes cov­er­ing cul­tur­al­ly rel­e­vant ter­ri­to­ry: a bar mitz­vah, for instance, or a briss. And as the one true “show about noth­ing,” Sein­feld spe­cial­izes in the uni­ver­sal­ly rel­e­vant stuff of every­day life: a den­tist vis­it, or a dire sin­gles mix­er. Pre­sum­ably, a com­ing advanced-stud­ies seg­ment will bring to Yid­dish Sein­feld’s more recent adven­tures with קאָמעדיאַנס in קאַרס get­ting קאַווע.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What’s the Deal with Pop Tarts? Jer­ry Sein­feld Explains How to Write a Joke

Sein­feld & Noth­ing­ness: A Super­cut of the Show’s Emp­ti­est Moments

Learn 48 Lan­guages Online for Free: Span­ish, Chi­nese, Eng­lish & More

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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