The English language to-day ranks next to Yiddish as the mother tongue of Jews throughout the world, according to statistics obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here.
Of the more than 15 million Jews living in the various countries, about 8 million speak Yiddish as their mother tongue, the figures show, while more than 2,500,000 Jews speak English.
The English language has taken precedence over German, which formerly ranked next to Yiddish as the most popular language spoken by Jews. There are to-day only approximately 1,000,000 Jews who speak German.
In the space of twenty-five years, the number of English speaking Jews grew from 100,000 in 1875 to 1,100,000 in 1900, and has now reached 2,500,000.
While the number of English-speaking Jews constitute at present only sixteen per cent. of the total, further increase is predicted in view of the fact that more than 6,000,000 Jews to-day live in an English-speaking environment, so that their children will probably speak English as their native tongue.
The German language has lost its foothold among Jews, it is explained, because of the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, and the loss of a number of former East German and Austrian provinces such as Czecho-Slovakia and Bukovina. As a result, since the conclusion of the World War, more than a quarter of a million Jews have renounced German as their official tongue.
In Poland, it is noted that the number of Jews speaking Yiddish is gradually decreasing, the Jewish youth for the most part speaking Polish.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.