Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you think this is stereotyping and is it offensive?

Asked by JLeslie (65512points) April 20th, 2021 from iPhone

My parents’ friend, who I have known since I was a baby, teaches Spanish and likes to study new languages. Recently, she has been studying Yiddish through the Duolingo program, and she just wrote this on Facebook:

Language learning is more fun…when culture creeps in. I’ve studied Dutch, French, a little Catalan and Italian, and now Yiddish. All the languages are introduced by topics, which tend to be similar, but Yiddish is the only one that has a topic called COMPLAIN!

Is Duolingo stereotyping Jewish people and is it offensive?

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10 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

They aren’t stereotyping any more than you are. Most Jewish people don’t speak Yiddish; only Ashkenazi from a small part of Eastern Europe. Sephardics and Ladinos and most Sabras would have no idea what a Yiddish speaker is saying.

And, given when and why Yiddish was spoken, and also the inherent humor of Yiddish, it is about the only language that has a diverse vocabulary of complaints.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is it true or not? And whether it’s true or not, what can be stereotypical about language? The comment isn’t a smear against against Jews. Your teacher is delighted at discovering a language nuanced toward actually finding the humor in suffering. Think about it. In view of the intellectual attainments one must credit the Jews, what can be the downside to the trophy for funniest people on the planet?

elbanditoroso's avatar

That’s sort of funny, and it is, based on my experience as a member of a family that spoked Yiddish, totally accurate.

The Duolingo program seems to be capturing the cultural and ethnic realities.

Not stereotyping
Not offensive.

Don’t look for things to be offended by.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll answer my own question. My response when I saw this on Facebook was:

“LMAO! That’s hysterical.”

Then I sent it to some of my friends and we all cracked up.

@stanleybmanly I don’t completely understand your answer. It’s not stereotyping the language. The stereotype is of Jews being negative and complaining a lot. It’s not a new language for her, her parents spoke it, and her knowledge is very broken so she wanted to become more proficient. She said the complaining section was the first section she got completely correct. Lol.

@zenvelo When you say I was stereotyping, what do you mean? I was asking a question. I thought the Jews here would get a big kick out of her statement like I did, and people who spend a lot of time around Jewish people would find it funny too. It’s like a Seinfeld episode.

I also genuinely wondered if the PC police jellies would find it offensive. Seems like everything bordering on stereotyping is offensive now to some people.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Please re-rea what I wrote. I said they “aren’t stereotyping any more than you are”. If you aren’t, they aren’t either.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I don’t know much about it, but if that’s true, and they do make that claim, in my experience it’s bull shit. I have had a lot of Jewish friends, one from Israel, and I dated a Jewish girl at one time. I never knew them to complain, they struck me as happy and well adjusted and the girl always laughed at my crappy jokes. Now, THAT would be something to complain about. LOL

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I think we tend to question and want to look at all possibilities, and people perceive it as negative. It can be a harmful perception, because then when we have a legitimate complaint people ignore us, because they just perceive us as complaining all of the time. It’s still funny to me. It is stereotyping in my opinion.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Maybe all these so called experts need to go out and experience life and interact with people, instead of making stupid pronouncements, based on what, I don’t know.

zenvelo's avatar

@Nomore_lockout and @JLeslie You need to bifurcate Yiddish speaking from being Jewish. Duolingo is not making a statement about Jews or being Jewish; they are describing an unusual aspect of a very limited dialect.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo Well, since I’m Jewish, are you? I can tell you I find it funny that there are so many words about complaining, and it definitely in my mind reflects on the culture of the Ashkenazi Jewish people. Language and culture are often intertwined.

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