Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry Digital Archive User Guide: Glossary

This is a guide to using the Digital Archive to the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (

Glossary of Terms used in the LCAAJ

Answer Sheets: These form documents were created to standardize the answers given to the questionnaire.  Each page for a given informant represents one page of the questionnaire, and the questions from that exact page (i.e. page 002 contains questions 010-070 in every interview).  The answers were entered by hand, using a local transcription system [LINK]

Blue books: Blue books represent the earliest phase of the project, before a standard answer form had been created.  These are simply university blue books (such as what you might use to take an exam).  They are only identified by geographic location, although the answers follow the order of the Standard Questionnaire. Because most of these answers were photocopied and placed on standard answer forms, the blue books will only need to be used in exceptional cases.

Printouts: Starting in the early 1960s, the staff of the LCAAJ entered responses to the questionnaire into a computer, and then printed out the information according to question and sub-question number. This comprises about 1/3 of the entire corpus.  Because of the limitations of computing at the time, four separate batches, nearly all completely unique, were produced.  The blue, yellow, and black binder series represent answers to the Standardized Master Questionnaire, while the red dot series represents answers to the Western Questionnaire.  Because of the printed nature of these documents, we have been able to perform optical character recognition (OCR) on them, and one can search for answers from the printouts as keywords.

Standardized Master (Eastern) Questionnaire (SMQ): This questionnaire was asked to Yiddish speakers in areas had been a major language of communication among Jews.  This questionnaire has questions mainly in Yiddish, and elicited Yiddish conversation in the responses to the questionnaire

Western Questionnaire: This questionnaire was asked to people from lands, mostly in Western Europe, where Yiddish was not the lingua Franca for Jews.  This questionnaire was mostly in German, with a few French questions, and were meant to elicit a more "historic" or "memorialized" Yiddish.