Solomon Birnbaum

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Solomon Birnbaum, also Salomo, Solomon A or Solomon Asher, (December 24, 1891 in Vienna – December 28, 1989 in Toronto) was a Yiddish linguist and Hebrew paleographer.


Birnbaum was the oldest son of Nathan Birnbaum and Rosa Korngut. He served in World War I in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and then studied and attained a doctorate from the University of Würzburg. From 1922 to 1933, he filled the first worldwide Yiddish Chair at the University of Hamburg. After the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis) in Germany, Birnbaum escaped with his wife, Irene Gruenwald and his children to Great Britain.

From 1936 to 1957, Birnbaum was a lecturer on Hebrew paleography and epigraphy at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. Starting in 1938, he taught Yiddish at the same time at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the University of London. During World War II, Birmbaum worked in the postal censorship for the British authorities. In 1970, Birnbaum immigrated to Toronto, Canada.


  • Praktische Grammatik der jiddischen Sprache; Vienna and Leipzig, 1918;Grammatik der jiddischen Sprache, Hamburg: editions 1966, 1979, 1984, 1988.
  • Leben und Worte des Balschemm; 1920
  • Das hebräische und aramäische Element in der jiddischen Sprache; 1921 (Dissertation)
  • Die jiddische Sprache; in: Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift (1923)
  • Die Umschrift des Jiddischen; in: Teuthonista (1933)
  • the Age of the Yiddish Language; in: Transactions of the Philological Society, London 1939
  • Jewish Languages; in: Essays in Honour of the Very Rev. Dr. J.H. Hertz, London 1944 (1942)
  • Yiddish Phrase Book; hg. v. The Linguaphone Institute for The Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad, London 1945
  • The Cultural Structure of East Ashkenazic Jewry; in: The Slavonic and East European Review, London 1946
  • The Verb in the Bukharic Language of Samarkand; in: Archivum Linguisticum 2 (1950/51)
  • How old are the Cave Manuscripts?, in: Vetus Testamentum (1951)
  • The Hebrew Scripts; 2 Bde., Leiden 1954–57, 1971
  • Die jiddische Sprache; Hamburg 1974, 1986, 1997
  • Yiddish – A Survey and a Grammar, Toronto 1979
  • Zur Geschichte der u-Laute im Jiddischen; in: Zeitschrift für Deutsche Philologie (1981)