Yiddish across borders: Interviews in the Yiddish ultra-Orthodox Jewish audio mass medium

Dalit Assouline, Gonen Dori-Hacohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study analyzes phone interactions in Yiddish that are broadcast by telephone to ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities through off-hook services called “hotlines”. Yiddish, a minority language, is the native tongue of most hotline speakers and marks their communal affiliation within the ultra-Orthodox world. We explore the instrumentalities of one Yiddish hotline in order to ascertain features that facilitate its role as a membering medium for its community. We show how participants use this medium to index who is – and who is not – a community member via language decisions that reflect language ideologies and maintain community boundaries; interviewees index their membership by linguistically accommodating interviewers; and hosts, on occasion, change language to ostracize an interviewee. We also explore the problematic status of Modern Hebrew for this community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage and Communication
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Accommodation
  • Dialect change
  • Hasidic Yiddish
  • Interviews
  • Language ideology
  • Minority language

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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