Publication details [#62434]

Tannenbaum, Michal and Hagit Cohen. 2017. On beauty, usefulness, and holiness: attitudes towards languages in the Habad community. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 38 (2) : 160–176.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This inquiry examines Habad community (an ultra-Orthodox group) members’ attitudes and possible individual differences according to gender and/or age in these attitudes towards four languages: Hebrew, Loshen Koydesh (LK), English, and Yiddish, and centers on usage, liking of the language, assigned interest, and sanctity. 148 questionnaires were distributed to members of the community, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants. Attitudes towards the four languages disclosed notable differences, displaying, by and large, a predilection for Hebrew, LK, and English over Yiddish in all dimensions, but yielding a set of particular gender and age differences reflecting the sociocultural milieu’s impact on the development of these perceptions. Habad’s unique features came forth in its members’ linguistic choices and attitudes, offering further evidence of language as both reflecting and directing issues of identity, belongingness, ideology, and intergroup relations.