I was fascinated by Dave Lee’s Click article, “Micro-blogging in a mother tongue on Twitter,” on the BBC News Web site. It did not surprise me that there would be a presence of minority languages among all those tweets now filling up cyberspace; nor was I surprised that Kevin Scannell, a Professor of Computer Science at St. Louis University, should be tracking this particular use of those languages. What really got to me was how thoroughly he was studying this demographic approach to those tweets, summarized by an elegant interactive chart on the Indigenous Tweets Web site.
The only thing that perplexed me was the absence of Yiddish from this chart, identified in either Hebrew characters or transliterated into the Roman alphabet. This sent me to search Scannell’s blog for any remarks about Yiddish, and that search yielded absolutely no hits. Ironically, the only mention of Yiddish appears in a rather heated (what else?) exchange of comments filed in response to an article in Haaretz about the Indigenous Language project, written by Oded Yaron. Could it be that Yiddish just does not lend itself to communication on the scale of tweets?