July 18, 1926 - March 1, 2015

Joshua A. Fishman
  • Distinguished University Research Professor of Social Sciences, Emeritus (Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology), Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Campus, Bronx, New York.

  • Long-Term Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar, School of Education, Applied Linguistics and Department of Linguistics, Stanford University.

  • Long-Term Adjunct Professor of Multilingual and Multicultural Education, School of Education, New York University.

  • Visiting Professor of Linguistics, City University of New York, Graduate Center

  • Biographical information: listed and regularly updated in most standard references, e.g., Who's Who in America. Also see my autobiographical essay "My life through my work, my work through my life". First Person Singular, vol. 2. Konrad Koerner, ed. Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 1991, 105-124. Also see write-ups in Concise Encyclopedia of Educational Linguistics (Bernard Spolsky, ed.), Amsterdam, Elsevier, 2000, pp.758-9, and Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education (Colin Baker and Sylvia P. Jones, eds.), 1998 Clevedon, Multilingual Maters, p.189.

Contact Information

Since attaining Emeritus University Research Professor standing (in 1988), most easily and reliably reached via email:

Research Interests


  • Language and ethnicity/nationalism
  • Language and religion (belief and practice systems)
  • Language movements, political parties, ideologies 
  • All of the above, particularly among "non-state-peoples".


  • How corpus planning reflects the accompanying status planning agenda
  • Ausbau efforts, language purism efforts, classicization efforts, "panification" efforts 
  • The creation, standardization and revision of writing systems
  • The organization and operation of language academies/agencies, regardless of auspices.
  • All of the above, particularly among "non-states peoples". 


  • All societal/institutional aspects (demography, schools, courses, press, theater, literature; political parties, activist groups, attitudes, etc.)
  • The sociology of Jewish vernaculars other-than-Hebrew: Judezmo/Ladino, Mugrabi, Zerfatic, Yevanic, Italkic, Yahudic, Farsic, etc.
  • Comparative post-exhilic sociology of Jewish languages.


  • In the USA: All types other than Title VII
  • Anywhere in the world: enrichment, two-way, maintenance, Reversing Language Shift, rationales and ideologies, particularly in diglossic settings, governmentally supported and volunteer/community supported


  • Traditional folk medicines (homeopathic) NOT co-opted by modern Western (allopathic) medicine 


For complete bibliography thru to 2005, see:

Language Loyalty, Continuity  and Change. Joshua A. Fishman's Contributions to International Sociolinguistics. Ofelia Garcia, Rakhmiel Peltz and Harold Schiffman, eds.  Clevedon, Multilingual Matters, 2006, pp.126-176 (Bibliography compiled by Gella Schweid Fishman).     


Can Threatened Languages Be Saved? Clevedon, Multilingual Matters, 2000.

Introduction to Test Construction in the Social and Behavioral Sciences; A Practical Guide.  Boulder, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

DO NOT Leave Your Language Alone: The Hidden Status Agendas Within Corpus Planning in Language Policy.  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.

Handbook of Language and Ethnicity
(ed.). New York, Oxford University Press, 1999. Paperback, 2001.  Revised Edition, 2009.


Nosn birnboyms "Di uvdes fun mizrekh-eyropeyishe yidn". Yivo-bleter. New Series. 1991, 1. 109-122.

Cross-polity analysis of factors affecting English language spread: Predicting three criteria of spread from a large pool of independent variables. World Englishes. 1992, 2/3, 309-329.

Ethnolinguistic democracy: varieties, degrees and limits. Language International. 1993, 5, no. 1, 11-17.

Critiques of language planning; a minority languages perspective. Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 1994, 15, 91-99.

Dictionaries as culturally constructed and as culture-constructing artifacts. Lexicographica. 1995, 64. 29-34.

What do you lose when you lose your language?, in Gina Cantoni, ed. Stabilizing Indigenous languages. Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University Press. 1996, 186-196.

Kedushe shebeyidish. Afn shvel. 1997, no. 307, 2-9. (Translated into English: The Holiness of Yiddish).  Language Policy 202, 1, 99-113.

Bloomington, summer 1964: the birth of American sociolinguistics. Christina Paulston and G. Richard Tucker, eds. The Early Days of Sociolinguistics. Dallas, SIL,1997, 87-95.

The new linguistic world order. Foreign Policy. 1999, no. 1, 26-40.

The city as the root of all evil. Educators for Urban Minorities. 1999, 1, 42-47.

Reversing language shift: RLS theory and practice revisited. (Gloria Kindell and M. Paul Lewis, eds.) Assessing Ethnolinguistic Vitality: Theory and Practice. Dallas, SIL International, pp.1-25.

Language Planning for "The other Jewish languages" in Israel: An agenda for the beginning of the 21st century. Language Problems and Language Planning. 2000, 24, pp.215-231.

The status agenda in corpus planning (Richard D. Lambert and Elana Shohamy, eds). Language Policy and Pedagogy. Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2000, pp.43-51.

300-plus years of heritage language education in the United States (Joy K. Peyton et al., eds). Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource. McHenry, IL and Washington D.C, Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics, 2001, 87-97. Also see:

Recent Honors  

Linguapax Award.  UNESCO, Barcelona, Spain 2004


I have had the incredible good fortune to be exposed simultaneously to modern Western as well as to modern and classical Jewish thought, to secular and religious values, beliefs, ideals as well as theoretical and applied emphases, to the comforts of a language of wider communication (English) and a language of ethnic intimacy (Yiddish), to the infinite world of science, the eternal land of my ancestors, and the new world of democracy, opportunity and pluralism to which my parents came as adolescent immigrants. I have tried to combine all of these influences within myself as well as to contribute to them all. I consider both the tensions and the creativity resulting from these varied stimuli to constitute a unique heritage: an American-Jewish heritage to be treasured, cultivated, enriched and handed on.


The Joshua A. Fishman and Gella Schweid Fishman Family Archive

Housed at Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA., the Fishman Archive is unique in several ways. It is inter-disciplinary, international, multilingual and inter-generational. A large proportion of the materials (extending from 1940 to 1994) has been processed. The Archive contains drafts of subsequently published books and articles (through to 1994), course outlines (courses taught and courses taken), lectures given, offprint collections (by language and country), clippings, professional correspondence, family correspondence, photographs, audio-tapes video-tapes and other materials pertaining to Fishman's work in sociolinguistics, bilingual education, language and ethnicity/ nationalism, multiculturaralism, language planning, Jewish studies (Yiddish), test construction and medical anthropology. Equally diverse holdings are available for Gella Schweid Fishman, veteran Yiddish teacher, teacher-trainer, activist and founder of the Secular Yiddish Schools in North America Collection, which is also housed at Special Collections. Contact person: Margaret Kimball (Tel: 650-725-1611; e-mail: and for Rukhl Fishman, prize-winning Israeli Yiddish poetess. Available for use by researchers, whether graduate students or established scholars.

Also see "Secular Yiddish Schools of North America Archival Collection", Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries. Contact person: Gella Schweid Fishman (e-mail:

Graduate Courses recently and currently taught:

Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University: Test Construction for Research Purposes; Medical Anthropology.

Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Stanford University: Language and Ethnicity, Varieties of Societal Multilingualism, Quantitative methods in Language Research, Language Planning and Language Policy.

Multilingual and Multicultural Education Program, School of Education, New York University: Language and Ethnicity, Language Planning and Language Policy.

Invited Public lectures recently and currently delivered:

Languages late to literacy, or Looking for a place in the sun on a crowded beach

"The beloved language": What people love about their "own" language

The hidden status agenda in corpus planning

300+ years of heritage language schools in The USA, and still going

The City as the Root of All Evil: Sociological Perspectives

Yiddish and English: An Odd Couple (mutual influences)

Nathan Birnbaum and Khayem Zhitlovsky: In Love with Yiddish but ambivalent with Yiddishkayt

The Future of Bilingualism

Books currently being prepared:

Spanish as a Heritage Language in California (with Guadalupe Valdes).  Target date: Spring 2006. See:

Volumes on "Sociology of Language and Religion" (with Tope Omoniyi) and "Enroute to a Sociology of languages and Power" (with Martin Pütz)

Festschrift Volumes edited by Nancy Hornberg, Martin Pütz and Harold F. Schiffman

© 2015,  Joshua A. Fishman.  All Rights Reserved.