Contact with an older form of Yiddish, got me back to thinking about the origins of the language and its relations to other members of the Germanic family. I remembered an observation of Professor Robert Austerlitz that although Yiddish was quite different from German, it was typologically very much a Germanic language. Perhaps, I thought, its origin lay not in a German dialect but in another Germanic language. I starting looking at other Germanic languages with which the early Ashkenazim could have come into contact in Europe. The first possibility I looked at was Old Scandinavian which was spoken by Varangian settlers in Ukraine between about 800 and 1000. The match was not particularly good and I turned to the East Germanic languages, known through Gothic, that were spoken in eastern Europe between about 1 CE and 700. Gothic proved to be a surprisingly good typological match with Yiddish and I eventually concluded that the earliest Yiddish took a Gothic form.
Here‘s his post on “The Gothic Background of Yiddish.” I don’t know nearly enough to begin to evaluate this proposal, but as far as I know, the standard history of Yiddish puts its origin on the other side of the German-speaking world, in the Rhine region. Does anybody have any informed thoughts about this? (Thanks for the link, rootlesscosmo!)