> A question here. IIRC, *most* English/British Jews were of
> Sephardic origin, that is from southern Europe especially
> around the Mediterranean. If this is true, then their "lingua
> franca" would have been Ladino, which is a dialect of Spanish,
> not German/Yiddish.
> However, this doesn't mean there weren't groups of Ashkenazim
> in England who would have used Yiddish along with English and
> Here in the US, most Jews and all of the Jews that I know
> personally, are Ashkenazim whose parents (if not themselves)
> spoke/speak Yiddish.
> (snipping the rest)
Indeed. The Jewish return to England was headed by Jews of Spanish and
Portuguese descent (Sephardim) who had been expelled by Ferdinand and
Isabella after 1492 and settled in the Netherlands. They were quickly
followed by Jews from Holland and Germany (Ashkenazim) who came for
greater safety and freedom.
By the mid-19th century, this mixed population of Jews, widely
differentiated in terms of social status, education, and aspirations,
had formed themselves into coherent communities, which expressed
themselves strongly in terms of education, charity, and religious
practice. They also saw their future largely as playing an increasing
role in English life while clinging to their identity as Jews. However,
sensitive to popular sentiment, they generally strove to keep a low
profile, fearful of drawing too much attention to themselves.
Of course in the 1880's the Jewish population increased tenfold
within England due to an influx of Russian Jews - over 1.2 million of
these Eastern European Jews passed through Germany to finally settle in
England, France, Belgium and Holland (as well as Germany itself).
My initial point, however badly made, was simply that Jews were no
strangers to multi-lingualism and it was quite the norm for them to use
two or more languages. As a teen growing up in Morocco, it was quite
the norm to hear Moroccans converse in their own language, slip quickly
in to French, then Spanish and finally English - at times it was
difficult to follow, but for then quite natural.