Language derived from Medieval Spanish spoken by Sephardic Jews / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Judaeo-Spanish or Judeo-Spanish (autonym djudeoespanyol, Hebrew script: גﬞודﬞיאו־איספאנייול, Cyrillic: џудеоеспањол),[3] also known as Djudio and only recently Ladino, is a Romance language derived from Old Spanish.

Quick facts: Judaeo-Spanish, Pronunciation, Native to...
  • judeoespañol / español
  • judió / jidió
  • djudeo-espanyol / espanyol
  • djudyo / djidyo
  • Ladino
  • גﬞודﬞיאו־איספאנייול
  • איספאנייול
  • גﬞידﬞייו / גﬞודﬞייו
  • ӂудеоэспаньол / эспаньол
  • иудео-испанский / испанский / ӂудезмо
  • τζ̲ουδέο-εσπανιόλ / εσπανιόλ / τζ̲ουδέο
  • جوديو-اسپانيول
judeoespañol / djudeo-espanyol
Judeoespañol in Solitreo and Rashi scripts
Pronunciation[dʒuˈðeo͜ s.paˈɲol] [lower-alpha 1]
Native toIsrael, Turkey, Greece (12 reported 2017), Bosnia and Herzegovina (4 reported 2018), Brazil (Haketia dialect)
RegionMediterranean Basin (native region), formerly also the Americas
EthnicitySephardic Jews
Native speakers
51,000 (2018)[1]
Early forms
  • South-Eastern (Istanbul, Salonica)
  • North-Eastern
  • North-Western (Sarajevo)
  • Haketia (Tangiers, Tetuani)[2]
Mainly Latin alphabet; also
the original Hebrew (normally using Rashi or Solitreo) and Cyrillic; rarely Greek and Aljamiado (Perso-Arabic)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2lad Ladino
ISO 639-3lad Ladino
Glottologladi1251  Ladino
Linguasphere51-AAB-ba … 51-AAB-bd
Historical Judeo-Spanish speech communities in the Mediterranean. Ringed circles represent modern speech communities.
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Originally spoken in Spain, and then after the Edict of Expulsion spreading through the Ottoman Empire (the Balkans, Turkey, West Asia, and North Africa) as well as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Morocco, and England, it is today spoken mainly by Sephardic minorities in more than 30 countries, with most speakers residing in Israel.[4] Although it has no official status in any country, it has been acknowledged as a minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, and France. In 2017, it was formally recognised by the Royal Spanish Academy.[5]

The core vocabulary of Judaeo-Spanish is Old Spanish, and it has numerous elements from the other old Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula: Old Aragonese, Asturleonese, Old Catalan, Galician-Portuguese, and Andalusi Romance.[6] The language has been further enriched by Ottoman Turkish and Semitic vocabulary, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic—especially in the domains of religion, law, and spirituality—and most of the vocabulary for new and modern concepts has been adopted through French and Italian. Furthermore, the language is influenced to a lesser degree by other local languages of the Balkans, such as Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croatian.

Historically, the Rashi script and its cursive form Solitreo have been the main orthographies for writing Judaeo-Spanish. However, today it is mainly written with the Latin alphabet, though some other alphabets such as Hebrew and Cyrillic are still in use. Judaeo-Spanish has been known also by other names, such as: Español (Espanyol, Spaniol, Spaniolish, Espanioliko), Judió (Judyo, Djudyo) or Jidió (Jidyo, Djidyo), Judesmo (Judezmo, Djudezmo), Sefaradhí (Sefaradi) or Ḥaketía (in North Africa).[7] In Turkey, and formerly in the Ottoman Empire, it has been traditionally called Yahudice in Turkish, meaning the 'Jewish language.' In Israel, Hebrew speakers usually call the language Ladino, Espanyolit or Spanyolit.

Judaeo-Spanish, once the Jewish lingua franca of the Adriatic Sea, the Balkans, and the Middle East, and renowned for its rich literature, especially in Salonika, today is under serious threat of extinction. Most native speakers are elderly, and the language is not transmitted to their children or grandchildren for various reasons; consequently, all Judeo-Spanish-speaking communities are undergoing a language shift. In some expatriate communities in Spain, Latin America, and elsewhere, there is a threat of assimilation by modern Spanish. It is experiencing, however, a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music.

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