|Native to||Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Netherlands, and elsewhere|
|16,000 (2006) |
|Latin ( German alphabet)|
Yenish has been documented since the 18th century. It is a jargon rather than an actual language; it consists of a significant number of unique specialized words, but does not have its own grammar or its own basic vocabulary.[ citation needed] Yenish speakers generally speak their local German dialect, enriched by the Yeniche vocabulary, which is derived in part from Rotwelsch, with influences from Yiddish, Romani, and other minority languages of the region.
The Yenish vocabulary contains many words of Romani and Yiddish (and through this route, Hebrew) origin; it also has many unusual metaphors and metonomies that replace the standard German words. The relationship between Yenish and standard German is comparable to the relationship between Cockney or Polari and standard English. Some original Yeniche words have become parts of standard German.
The Yenish were originally travelers, i.e. people with professions outside of mainstream society that required them to move from town to town, such as showpeople, tinkers, and door-to-door salespeople. Today, the Yenish jargon is only used in certain isolated locations, such as certain poor districts of Berlin, Münster, some Eifel villages, and Luxembourg.
- Yenish at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- "Yenish in Switzerland". Database for the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Public Foundation for European Comparative Minority Research. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Yeniche". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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