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Knaanisch ( Jewish Slavonic , Canaanite , own name "Leshoneynu" - our language, in Czech lešon Kena'an ) was a West Slavic language spoken by Jews , which is documented in glosses in Hebrew script and died out around the end of the Middle Ages.


The word "Knaan" is derived from "Kanaan" (Hebrew כנען), although there is no connection between the Knaan language and the biblical land of Canaan . However, Benjamin von Tudela referred to the Kievan Rus as the "Land of Canaan", and there are isolated indications that the area east of the Elbe is said to have been called 'ereṣ Kena'an .


First and foremost, Knaan is used to describe West Slavic dialects that were spoken by Jews up until the end of the Middle Ages, especially in the area of ​​today's Czech Republic as well as in Poland and Lusatia. Researchers suspect that this language , which is closely related to Old Czech and other West Slavic languages, was gradually supplanted by Yiddish after Yiddish-speaking Jews from the Rhine region migrated to Bohemia and Moravia in the 12th to 14th centuries.

However, there are conflicting theories about the mutual influence between Knaan, West Slavic languages ​​and Yiddish.

Different use of the term

Occasionally those Judenslavic idioms that can be traced outside Bohemia and Moravia - even as far as Russia - into the 15th century are referred to as Knaanisch. This is particularly true of the East Slavic language, which was used by the Khazars after the fall of their empire instead of the Hebrew that had prevailed until then . Such Slavic-speaking Jews were particularly common in Kievan Rus in the 11th to 13th centuries.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. For example Čtěte Bibli, tam to všechno je ...! in: Souterrain 7/2008, magazine of the, online at:  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Czech, accessed January 18, 2011@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /